Amidst the big hubbub about Steam Box, the upcoming Steam console, and the release of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, comes some great news that cannot go overlooked. As a fairly disenfranchised lover of JRPGs, someone who grew up grinding levels on all things Square and constantly tuned to the soundtracks of various releases, I’m absolutely thrilled to have discovered the Project Phoenix Kickstarter earlier this month.

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Simply put, Project Phoenix is a squad-based real-time strategy game and daring indie JRPG brainchild of veteran developers from both the East and the West. As stated in the Kickstarter, “Project Phoenix aspires to be a video game that solely exists because of the users.” It’s headed by Creative Intelligent Arts, Inc., with an all-star cast including Hiroaki Yura, Kiyoshi Arai, Steffen Unger, Nobuo Uematsu, Yoko Enoki, Donna Burke, and others, including some mystery developers. Project Phoenix is estimated to release mid-2015, with a plot consisting of “the mysteries of an angel with amnesia and travel through the land of Azuregard with an unusual band of heroes searching for answers.” Sounds very traditional, indeed!

Along with being a ridiculous nostalgia bomb, Project Phoenix will be a refreshingly easy game to get your hands on, as it’s being released for Windows, Linux, OSX, mobile devices, and the PS4 and VITA. No more scrounging up dollars to purchase a console for just one or two exciting games.

One of the hallmarks of this project is the fact that because it is headed by industry professionals who are donating their time and efforts for a cause they are passionate about, Project Phoenix cannot fail due to underfunding. The Kickstarter goal of $100,000, which was the minimum needed to use the best 3D modeling they could get, was more than met with a total contribution of $1,015,600 from passionate gamers like you and me. And that number is only growing! This addition funding is going towards creating a more robust gaming experience through an enhanced soundtrack and worlds, customizable character creation, and addition monster models.

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On the topic of world and characters, the early designs released are an exciting return to the old-school Japanese character designs of yore, promising scenic gameplay and that essential emotional investment in the progress of character development that is so lost in many modern RPGs. The initial characters include Marcus Stern, Ruffles, Sylrianah Tyrnearaheal, Zarum, Gorek Greyhelm, and Satsuki Kagamizu. In regards to gameplay, Project Phoenix rejects the overly complex game systems of the modern era for a return to RTS, combing aspects such as stamina, mana, threat management, and terrain for a fresh combat experience.

Personally, I can only hope that the fantasy aesthetic and storyline live up to the project’s estimations. After being less than inspired by the latest Square Enix releases, I’m riveted by the prospects of a true back-to-basics game. I’m not sure my heart can take much more disappointment in the genre, after all.

I suggest you check out the Kickstarter promo for yourself. If you’re not feeling pumped by the end of the 9 minute trailer, I’d suggest someone check your vital signs. Although the official contribution period has ended, you can still support this intrepid project via PayPal and by spreading the word. And so, readers, I must conclude and ask: which of the characters are you most excited to play as and learn more about?

Project Phoenix Kickstarter: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1300298569/project-phoenix-japans-indie-rpg-feat-aaa-talent

Keep up with Project Phoenix on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/projectphoenix.info