Eden Industries, the Canadian development studio that brought us Waveform, has announced their latest project for PC, Citizens of Earth. Inspired by RPGs like Dragon Quest, Pokemon, and Earthbound, Citizens of Earth marks a huge departure from Eden’s previous title. Taking on the role of the vice president, players return to the hometown of our “hero”, only to uncover strange things are afoot. As players unravel the mystery and battle their way to the truth, they’ll be doing so with a number of interesting twists on the RPG genre.
Each character recruited by the player not only has their own unique abilities to lend in battle, but they also hold day jobs. And the more the character is used in battle, the better he or she is going to get at their craft. For example, some of the game’s player classes will run shops during the day and can eventually provide unique items. Some classes can unlock new functionality like zooming in and out to uncover secrets. Other abilities unlocked make things easier on the player by allowing vehicles or buying items remotely. So not only is leveling up a concern, but the potential to open up new abilities is something to factor in when choosing the current entourage.
If you’re like me, when you play an RPG you tend to find a group of characters that you like and stick with them. It’s simply easier to go with what you know instead of being burdened with keeping alternate characters equipped with the best items. Eden Industries is trying to encourage players to swap characters in and out by including not only the day job system, but also by promising that those alternate characters are ready to play “out of the box”. Equipment does not have the same impact, meaning trying out a new player won’t have the same high detriment to your success as in many RPGs.
Combat allows the player to bring up to three additional party members as they fend off the quirky townsfolk and experiments gone wrong. If the battle starts going south, players can restart at any time and swap out their combatants. The aforementioned vehicles can also be used to take out enemies. Best of all? Despite the throwback inspiration, there are no random encounters. Getting a jump on the enemy can give the player an advantage, but it also works the other way around.
Unlike some modern RPGs, the developers are focused on keeping the adventure short, but broad. A lot of the content included in the game will be optional, but likely well worth exploring. Drawing comparisons to the oft-revered Earthbound series, Citizens of Earth uses a modern theme but introduces a wide variety of bizarre characters and locales to comedic effect. It’s impossible at this point to tell just how humorous the game will end up, but the premise and character design alone are good signs.
Although Eden Industries is going old school with a 2D isometric view, they’re also promising a lot of razzle dazzle in the visual effects department. Included are hand-painted artwork, bloom lighting, real-time shadows, a day/night cycle, and the distortion effect previously seen in Waveform. Having talked with Eden Industries off and on since the release of Waveform, it’s obvious the studio has a focus on tech in their development, and I think it’ll come through in a big way here.
Eden Industries is promising a lot of interesting ideas in Citizens of Earth. While details have been plentiful, the game isn’t far enough along that they’re willing to share more than a handful of pieces of character art and screenshots. Although the studio has a lot to prove now, it’s certainly whet my appetite for a modern spin on the classic RPG. No official release date has been announced yet, but keep checking back at The Indie Mine for the latest news.
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