It is a unique time to be a gamer. Things are changing very rapidly around us: the advent of cloud gaming, newer consoles on the horizon with unknown features, smartphones with console-like power, and crowd-sourcing turning dream projects into reality. All these things combined opens the doors for many smaller developers to make their mark on the industry with their projects. Kickstarter is the poster child for helping smaller devs, we’ve seen huge successes like Ouya, Project Eternity, Wasteland 2, and many others that may have not seen the light of day if not for the support of the community. We’ve touched on a few projects here at 2 Shots, but we will be putting a bigger focus on Kickstarter to bring you news on all things geek, no matter the size. To begin, we bring you a unique RPG with old-school touches but new tricks: Days of Dawn.Days of Dawn is the pet project of Bumblebee, a small upstart that has a ton of talent behind it. They’ve worked on such games as AION, Jagged Alliance Online, Settlers 7, and many others. They have around 45 years of total experience in the industry, so we are dealing with a very talented group of individuals. That being said, let’s dig into the different parts of Days of Dawn.
It is getting harder to differentiate yourself from the rest as far as graphics, but Bumblebee did a really good job here. The hand-painted backgrounds are beautiful, and they remind me of the art in the game manuals of old, when you knew that the actual game wouldn’t look that good, except in this case it does! As a whole the graphics remind me of both the old King’s Quest series, as well as Legend of Mana. The animation looks fluid, and it makes the beautiful characters look that much better. The backgrounds shown so far are pieces you would love to have framed and mounted around your house, very nicely done.
Here is where it gets tricky. Days of Dawn’s main draw is its emotion-based combat system. Your characters use powers based on how they’re feeling, creating a unique dynamic. “…They will be evoked based on the situation and your characters current feelings. You can select “Use Magic” and will have to see what happens. Dawn is afraid? She may cast a protective spell. Caril just got badly wounded? She will try to heal him.” says Tasilo Rau, Bumblebee’s Game Design and Project Lead. This means that at the beginning you won’t have that much control over your character’s powers, this will get better over time. In a fundemental way, this makes sense. Who ever starts knowing how to fight well and having all these powers? Didn’t anyone ever wonder how Crono was so good with a sword at the beginning of Chrono Trigger? He’s just a kid! Days of Dawn allows you to really see your character grow into a powerful hero, a refreshing take on combat and powers. This is all presented in a turn-based style, but with a pretty quick pace. I prefer this to the deluge of Action RPGs as of late.
Days of Dawn promises linear and non-linear storylines and mysteries. The inspiration for Days of Dawn comes more from the PC side of RPGs than the console side. “I’m coming from PC… My history in RPG reaches back to Mandragore and Bard’s Tale. I’ve only discovered consoles and their RPGs in the late 90’s...” These old school games are more open-ended than the usual console fare, so I’m expecting a more open experience akin to the old Ultima games, which has me really excited. Not every choice has to have a consequence for a story to matter, it just has to serve a purpose.
I am a big fan of orchestrated music, it is such a great fit for so many games. This makes it harder to create something original that really resonates with your audience. I’ve listened to a few of the tracks and they have a nice western feel to them, again, reminding me of the PC RPGs of old. It’s definitely different from the eastern flavor that most RPG soundtracks have. Don’t get me wrong, I love OSTs like Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy 6, Secret of Mana, and many others, but it’s nice to hear something a bit different. Bumblebee took their experience with classic RPG music and used it when making the music for Dawn of Days. The music is relaxing and I can really see myself adding it to one of my daily playlists. “When Michael (the composer) and I have been pondering about the perfect music for Days of Dawn, we dug deep into classical RPGs, listened to their soundtracks and I told them what I’d like to hear and what not. We decided to give the game a unique and western musical flair while still recalling memories of those classics. Michael was in love with the games visuals immediately and started composing right away. We are very, very happy and proud of the result”.
Platforms & Release Windows
At this time, Bumblebee is pursing funding for Days of Dawn through Kickstarter, and are targeting Windows, Mac, and Linux for the initial release. If successful, Bumblebee is looking to bring Days of Dawn to the Wii U at a later date. “In my opinion, the WiiU is a dream machine for RPGs. Having the interface, stats, map, inventory on the controller’s screen, the player can emerge even deeper into fantastic world by an uncluttered gameplay.” I agree on this, as the Wii U controller’s screen is big enough and with high enough resolution to aid in this type of gameplay. The team is also still considering Android support. If funding is successful, Days of Dawn has a target release date of February 2014, but all supporters who pledge $15 and higher will not only get the full game, but access to the closed beta, which currently has a target release of June 2013.
Days of Dawn looks like the dream project from a bunch of gamers who got just the right combination of ideas together. The beautiful graphics, unique gameplay and great music means there is a great chance it will hook in many players due to its varied appeal. Bumblebee might be a small and relatively new developer, but they’ve got a game that shows the experience and quality of a seasoned development team. Days of Dawn is currently looking for funding through Kickstarter, the deadline for their project is February 24 at 5:59PM ET. If you are looking for a unique RPG that takes inspiration from games like Bard’s Tale and Ultima, make sure you give Days of Dawn a shot. You won’t regret it.