Indie RPG Takes Inspiration From PS1 Games

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Indie RPG Takes Inspiration From PS1 Games

Simon Mesnard's TBT: The Black Tower hopes to bring gamers back to the days of pre-rendered backgrounds and titanic swords.

Some classic games, had they been made today by the same people, would likely be completely different experiences. It doesn't mean there was anything wrong with the original, it's just a testament to the fact that people, trends, techniques and technology change with time. The tastes that led to a particular tone or decision in one decade may no longer exist today. This said, just because a style may be out of step with current favored flavors, it doesn't mean there aren't projects aimed at keeping it alive.

One such game-in-progress is TBT: The Black Tower, which hopes to recreate an RPG in the style of the PS1 games that helped introduce many fans to the genre in the mid-1990s. Following the quest of a futuristic forest ranger to save his planet, The Black Tower will feature old ideas like pre-rendered backgrounds, turn-based combat, and all the ridiculously massive swords a 1990s gamer could ever desire.

Despite being dedicated to an old school experience, The Black Tower's developer, Simon Mesnard will be injecting a few new ideas to help keep it from being a complete retread. The game's battle system will implement a system wherein three fighters are backed up by unique support characters with their own roles and special abilities. "Imagine that the 3 fighters have the usual options (attack, spells, etc...), but they will need the help of their 3 supporters behind to win," said Mesnard. "During battle, the supporters won't have the 'attack' command, which will be automatically replaced by a 'support' command. The effect of the 'support' will depend on your settings, but it can go from healing to stealing some precious XP or Skill Points, which will be distributed at the end of the battle."

TBT: The Black Tower isn't Mesnard's first game. The indie developer previously produced ASA: A Space Adventure, whose story actually runs in parallel to The Black Tower's. Mesnard and his partner are currently prepping a crowdfunding campaign to help them complete the game. The Black Tower can also be found on Steam Greenlight where its creators are soliciting opinions and feedback from interested gamers.

Source: IndieGames

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If the story is good, I would play it. I kind of miss these kind of games and have fond memories of Final Fantasy 7 - 9. Could be the nostalgia though.

Sounds damn fine to me. I am quite fond of the ol' PS1 JRPG, and I am sad that more indie devs don't take their cues from them, instead choosing 16 and 8-bit JPRGPs to ape. Hopefully, Ninties-stalgia has reached the point where more of these types of games will be made. I want indie devs to be nostalgic for the games I grew up with, dammit! D:

Looks really interesting. I swear the second shot in the town is ripped straight from FF7 though.

I am a huge fan of pre rendered backgrounds and over worlds...
Alright Black Tower, you've got my attention, now try to peak my interest and I might just buy you.

While I grew up on the old-school games and like the nostalgia, I have great concern that the retro-style being used in a number of games is yet another gimmicky fad of the game industry. If the retro-style is appropriate for a game concept, then that's fine, but the retro-style, in my opinion, should not be used haphazardly as some "magic-bullet" panacea to garner acclaim and sells; otherwise, the entire thing will eventually fall flat and fail like so many other blindly applied gimmicks of the game industry.

"Adults shouldn't play with kids"

It's following too closely in the footsteps of FF7, but that may not be a bad thing. The prerendered backgrounds was one of FF&'s strong points in atmosphere.

Animations are awkward. The protagonist is in a slow-run, and that guy really doesn't know how to operate a chainsaw. It's an alpha, after all.

Excuse me while I vomit rainbows. This is basically the game I was hoping FFX would be, instead of the... thing which turned me off of the series for good.

Seriously, the battle system and Blitzball were the only good things about that game, and half the audience hated Blitzball.

Well shit... isnt that the definition of nostalgia? Seriously, the only reason I think that anyone would want this sort of camera is because of nostalgia. The visuals while nice arent that far ahead to justify the prerendered backgrounds.

A friend of mine once said that he liked swapping discs because it reminded him of the PS1 days. Sure, its nice to remember the "good old days" and shit but to consider a technical stepback a feature is just mental.

I remember playing games with prerendered backgrounds and most of the times I just wondered what was off screen. Indie devs seriously need to cutback on nostalgia focused games that only limit to copy whatever game was popular X years ago, we already had the avalanche of 2D platformers and now this... give it a few more years and we well have indie devs trying to copy Halo and selling it by saying "Remember when...".

I love the look of the town in the game. Basically was the Midgar slums. Crazy sword (Check), silly dialogue (Check) signs written in some English and some not (check). Pre rendered backgrounds (check), nostalgia (check). Now add in a few hysterical/ disturbing moments like when Cloud had to cross dress or you find your enemies(turks) getting wasted in a bar and I'll be throwing my money at the screen. Regardless though I'm all set to play, don't need to see anymore. I just hope they have quirky funny moments like the ones littered through the final fantasies because in my opinion that's what made them memorable.

Sounds like these guys are trying to sell this game using people's nostalgia. And it seems like it's working on me goddammit. >_<

But yeah, might keep an eye out for this one.

Fappy:
Looks really interesting. I swear the second shot in the town is ripped straight from FF7 though.

Looks like the Sector seven slums, just to the right of Tifa's bar, except that police station should be a house.

Why do I remember that?

Owyn_Merrilin:

Fappy:
Looks really interesting. I swear the second shot in the town is ripped straight from FF7 though.

Looks like the Sector seven slums, just to the right of Tifa's bar, except that police station should be a house.

Why do I remember that?

Yep, that's totally what it is. Hopefully that was an intentional nod >.>

Cloud, someone stole your sword!

As some people already pointed out... it reminds me of FFVII. But I guess that is what the devs are aiming for.

Am I the only one who thought the music in that video was awful? Because it is. The rest seems okay, but I did notice a sign that seemed to be advertising what I expect is the Shin-ra of this game. Vil Inc? Come on :/

My buttons are being punched mercilessly.

Will follow intensly, until more information is available.

Dubble post! Disregard!

looks cool, although the animation is a little wonky but hopefully that'll get improved by time it's completed. I would like to see the battles though. Also the plain blue text boxes aren't looking so great...

It's a PC RPG of the old-school style, we don't have enough of those. Problem is, we didn't see any combat.

CriticalMiss:
Am I the only one who thought the music in that video was awful? Because it is.

Agreed. It was very jarring and not at all pleasant to listen to. It started to irritate me very quickly. There's just too much going on and sounds that don't fit overlapping, then dropping out, and overlapping again. And now my ears hurt. Awful.

Regardless, it looks like a game that could be very fun to play, and it seems to be doing a good job of playing off of nostalgia. I'll certainly be keeping an eye on it. I only hope that the nostalgia factor isn't the sole thing that makes it interesting. Or it could get old quickly.

CheesyGrin1992:

CriticalMiss:
Am I the only one who thought the music in that video was awful? Because it is.

Agreed. It was very jarring and not at all pleasant to listen to. It started to irritate me very quickly. There's just too much going on and sounds that don't fit overlapping, then dropping out, and overlapping again. And now my ears hurt. Awful.

Regardless, it looks like a game that could be very fun to play, and it seems to be doing a good job of playing off of nostalgia. I'll certainly be keeping an eye on it. I only hope that the nostalgia factor isn't the sole thing that makes it interesting. Or it could get old quickly.

According to the page on Steam greenlight, it's just placeholder music that a friend loaned the dev while they work on the real score. Also, to answer this issue:

Hazzard:
It's a PC RPG of the old-school style, we don't have enough of those. Problem is, we didn't see any combat.

Apparently that's also a work in progress, and they're not ready to show it yet. This is apparently an honest to god Alpha build, which means pretty much nothing but the engine works like it's supposed to. Indie devs have a weird habit of labeling clear betas (where the game is essentially complete, but needs polish and bug fixing) alphas, which makes cases where it really is an alpha look worse than they should.

Also, apparently the English version really is a translation, except it's from French, not Japanese. So the wonky dialog is a bug just like it was in FFVII, and not an intentional feature put in as an homage.

I specify FFVII because later games had better translations. Heck, the PC version of VII had a lot of the worst parts fixed.

It's an interesting concept, and while I'm looking forward to seeing what can come out of this, those animations look really weird in a high fidelity environment. I can forgive animations to appear stilted or overblown if the graphics match them, but here the graphics are too crisp, too clear and too high detail to overlook it. It treads right into the uncanny valley, so they'll need to adress this.

josemlopes:
Well shit... isnt that the definition of nostalgia? Seriously, the only reason I think that anyone would want this sort of camera is because of nostalgia. The visuals while nice arent that far ahead to justify the prerendered backgrounds.

A friend of mine once said that he liked swapping discs because it reminded him of the PS1 days. Sure, its nice to remember the "good old days" and shit but to consider a technical stepback a feature is just mental.

I remember playing games with prerendered backgrounds and most of the times I just wondered what was off screen. Indie devs seriously need to cutback on nostalgia focused games that only limit to copy whatever game was popular X years ago, we already had the avalanche of 2D platformers and now this... give it a few more years and we well have indie devs trying to copy Halo and selling it by saying "Remember when...".

You sort of have a point but I don't think it really applies here. Remember how large a game FFVII was? And how small FFX and other JRPG's became after? That's basically because full 3-D environments while nice are far more expensive and time consuming to develop. Same reason why you'll get far more dialog/story out of a game that's all text vs one that's voice acted.

Sometimes it can be a great idea to dust off old concepts and idea's and see what you can do with them today. Take the Project Eternity kickstarter for example, what little they've released for the game so far is starting to look gorgeous and because the camera is static they can use much cheaper 2d assets instead of developing pricey 3d ones.

Since Square-Enix won't remake Final Fantasy VII, someone else eventually had to. Too early to tell if it's any good.

CriticalMiss:
Am I the only one who thought the music in that video was awful? Because it is.

In the words of someone on the Face; "the music in the town sounds like someone is lagging hard while trying to stream". The music there at least needs some serious re-work, but at any rate, I'll definetly keep an eye on this one.

Owyn_Merrilin:

According to the page on Steam greenlight, it's just placeholder music that a friend loaned the dev while they work on the real score.

Ah, that's good to hear. It had me a little concerned, what with them taking huge inspiration and direction from the older Final Fantasy games. The background music could truly make or break the game. So it's good to know that what we hear here isn't a true indication. So I may very well have to keep a close eye on this game. It has me intrigued at least.

OK I can definitely see the PS1 era FF games in there but most other PS1 JRPGs that I can remember didn't really look like that.

Though I can understand why you may think so, as to a non-JRPG fan FF IS JRPGs. So you would associate what they do with the genre as a whole.

If this turns out half as good as games like FFIX, Chrono Cross, Legend of Dragoon, etc. You can take all the money you want. I'd love to see a new Square Enix step up, but I'll definitely settle for a game or two if it's done right.

The utterly ridiculous hair didn't work past the SNES era, we need to stop supporting it.

Needs better music and I didn't see what combat is like so this really isn't much to go on.

Owyn_Merrilin:

Fappy:
Looks really interesting. I swear the second shot in the town is ripped straight from FF7 though.

Looks like the Sector seven slums, just to the right of Tifa's bar, except that police station should be a house.

Why do I remember that?

>_>

<_<

*raises hand

O_o You're not the only one

(oh god why)

I miss prerendered backgrounds. In the PS1 days you could REALLY make some interesting, alien environments due to backgrounds being essentially drawn so you could cut down on costs.

This looks quite interesting, I wonder what platforms this will be on beyond PC. I'd consider supporting it for sure, just need gameplay vids and perhaps some more details as to the game's length.

The characters look really flat and dull, but the pre-rendered backgrounds are nice.

I actually like the music, it fits in well with the dystopian atmosphere; you probably would feel like you were stuck in limbo, living in a world like that.

Fappy:

Owyn_Merrilin:

Fappy:
Looks really interesting. I swear the second shot in the town is ripped straight from FF7 though.

Looks like the Sector seven slums, just to the right of Tifa's bar, except that police station should be a house.

Why do I remember that?

Yep, that's totally what it is. Hopefully that was an intentional nod >.>

Hell even the text boxes look similar, this dude knew what he was doing.

OT: I'm damn interested from the concept alone.......and now I suddenly wanna go and play Dragon Quest VIII again.

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