Citizens of Earth – An Kickstarter Worth Plugging

Today I want to take a look at a game that doesn’t exist, but one that may hopefully see the light of day at some point. This game is called Citizens of Earth and it’s being created by indie developer Eden Industries. Like an increasing amount of games, indie or not, Eden Industries is looking for funding via Kickstarter. I must admit that I don’t usually trust Kickstarter projects. They often promise far too much, and the ones that get funded usually run into a whole host of issues that they didn’t foresee, and thus get delayed or even cancelled in some cases. However, despite my hesitation with Kickstarter in general, it is undeniably an interesting way of getting a game, or other project funded, which skirts around a lot of the major red tape that has been leading to some really nasty business practices such as microtransactions, and the general move to make as many games as possible in the Call of Duty model in order to maximize profits, while removing innovation and charm from the mix. Those of you who read my blog consistently would know that I don’t usually plug video games with the last one being shilled because it was for a charity. But Citizens of Eden is a game that I legitimately feel could be an excellent game, and one worth highlighting.

Check out the rather detailed information from the team.
He watches you with his solitary dead eye, just like every good politician.
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So what is Citizens of Earth? To put it plainly, it is an RPG in the same style of Earthbound. Eden Industries makes numerous mentions of the famed cult classic as an inspiration and it’s not hard to see Earthbound’s influence permeating every pore of the game. The charming, cartoonish locals, characters, and the comedic tone all point strongly at that game. As does the stripped down battle system. I have read several people online complaining that they are ripping Earthbound off, but that isn’t a fair criticism. Most games are built off of the shoulders of bigger past games. We wouldn’t have Dark Souls if Miyamoto hadn’t struck gold (While possible on Peyote) with Super Mario Bros, or The Legend of Zelda. Earthbound might be a cult classic, but it also is a game that has not been emulated very often. This is one reason why the game remains so unique, but it also makes it a rather untapped mine of inspiration and possible innovative thought.

While still minimalistic this seems to go much further than we’ve seen in the Mother series.
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The basic concept of Citizens of Earth is that you control the Vice President of World Congress of Earth. For reasons that are not clear yet, you will be recruiting average, and sometimes wacky citizens in order to combat something. It’s vague, but remember the game hasn’t been created yet. There is a certain collection mechanic to this game as many different party members can be recruited. It’s a great concept and it’s interesting to see what way they’ll go with it. Will each party member lose their personality when they join you as they did in Chrono Cross? Will there be a plethora of optional recruits or is it primarily story-based. I can see a lot of potential with this mechanic if handled correctly. The key is that recruiting and fighting with citizens has to be a rewarding experience and can’t become mundane. That happens in a lot of RPGs which employ collection mechanics of this nature, but the ones which pull it off really hit hard.

I certainly hope the mascot’s name is Fryguy.
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One of the striking features of this game is undeniably the artwork. As mentioned in the lengthy and thorough video on the Kickstarter page, it would have been a simply option of going for a retro 8/16 bit look as so many indie games have. However, they decided, quite rightly, to go a different direction. Using charming art that resembles something more out of Plants vs. Zombies, the characters and world of Citizens of Earth are what makes me feel that this game has the biggest shot of being good. It’s one thing to promise innovative combat, and a funny story, but you can currently see that the art style of the game is incredibly charming and worth looking into. That’s a major advantage for a Kickstarter since many of them are full of such nebulous ideas that never really pan out.

Small, cartoony, but very detailed and, more importantly, charming as hell.
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Fortunately, I’m not at all concerned about this project being made should it be funded. Eden Industries is not an entirely unknown entity. They have shipped a puzzle game called Waveform, which received good review scores. Their staff also worked on several games, some impressive such as Luigi’s Mansion, while others less so such as X-Men Destiny. That being said, since we don’t know the exact involvement of which member, it is hard to fault or praise them for these games’ relative success or failure. The point I’m making is that these people have made video games before, and the company has actually managed to ship one. That’s a feat that few can claim. However, they aren’t so experienced that it becomes ridiculous like when Peter Molyneux posted a Kickstarter as if he couldn’t get funds otherwise (I feel bad for kicking Peter so much recently, but it’s a good example). Kickstarter is often a trap because of inexperience and over-ambition. From what I’ve seem, neither of these are a problem here.

It’s no New Age Retro Hippie, but who doesn’t like to beat up protester?
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The Kickstarter is five days in and has reached ten percent of its goal. At this point, they are still a long ways off, especially since early funding and last minute funding are usually where the most money comes from. That motivated this post somewhat. I feel like I’d be doing an injustice if I didn’t shill for a product that I believe in, and while the product as of yet does not exist, the people at Eden Industries through the thorough information posted on their Kickstarter page has convinced me that this product is worth checking out. If it meets its goal, the game will ship on PCs and Macs. However, if it makes 60% more than they are asking for the team will port it over to the Wii U, while 70% will see a release on the 3DS. These are lofty goals, but they are the versions I think would benefit the team the most, which is why I hope that spreading word of mouth will lead to a massive spike in backers. Seriously, this game looks and feels like it belongs on a Nintendo console, and I’d be disappointed if it stayed purely on the PC. So everyone check out the Kickstarter page, and see if this is a game you’d like to have made.

– Mistranslations for the Modern Gamer

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