Sabotage Studio, the studio responsible for the brilliant 8/16-bit throwback action title, The Messenger, has announced that their next game will be an old-school RPG called Sea of Stars.
Sea of Stars will tell the story two children of destiny who must battle a great evil known as the fleshmancer in order to save their world. The children represent the powers of the sun and moon and must use their individual abilities (as well as find a way to combine their powers) in order to overcome some overwhelming forces. While that may not sound like the most “original” plot premise, Sabotage Studio is making it clear that they are very much interested in using the RPG format to tell a story in a way that they couldn’t necessarily do with The Messenger.
Interestingly, Sea of Stars takes place in the same universe as The Messenger. However, it’s set about 1,000 years before the events of that game, so it’s not entirely clear how the shared universes will interact with each other beyond some visual callbacks and a few Easter eggs.
That’s not the only thing that Sea of Stars shares with The Messenger. Much like how The Messenger attempted to pay homage to old-school action games while introducing concepts designed to help modernize and freshen their design, Sea of Stars will pay tribute to turn-based RPGs of old (especially the 16-bit era) while incorporating some concepts that weren’t present in some of the great titles of that time.
Said concepts seemingly include the studio’s desire to make world exploration more interesting than it has typically been in older genre titles. As we see in the game’s first trailer, it appears that you’ll have to rely on some basic platforming and other adventure game-esque elements in order to get around in the world of Sea of Stars. You’ll also encounter no random battles in the world, which is always a nice change of pace.
Sabotage has also expressed their intentions to remove some of the “grind” elements from the leveling process and to make turn-based combat a little more exciting by adding some strategy aspects to the proceedings. It’s not clear how that last part will work, but early footage suggests you may be able to do things like combine character abilities such as we’ve seen in games like Chrono Trigger.
We’re excited to get our hands on whatever Sabotage does next given how great The Messenger turned out to be, but what really intrigues us about Sea of Stars is that early footage which brings to mind not only classic RPGs but fellow RPG callbacks like the excellent Golden Sun series.
There’s no release date available for Sea of Stars at this time beyond a vague 2022 window, but you can contribute to the game’s Kickstarter fund (which has already reached its initial funding goal) right here.