Author Topic: Rakuen Prerelease Project Thread  (Read 8739 times)

supershigi

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Rakuen Prerelease Project Thread
« on: October 23, 2013, 06:40:32 PM »
~Project Rakuen~

Hi everyone! As most of you probably know by now, I've been working on a new game called Rakuen for almost a year now.  We're hoping to release the game early 2014, but I thought it would be nice to put up a little forum project thread before the game's release so that I can keep you guys updated on development progress. 


Story

Rakuen is a story-based adventure game about a little Boy who becomes bored with living in a hospital, and eventually asks his mother if she'll escort him to the fantasy world from his favorite storybook. Throughout the game, the Boy begins to learn more about the patients who live around him. They each have their own secrets and struggles that are mysteriously tied to the strange hospital. In helping those around him, the Boy deals with questions about empathy, hope, and what it means to leave behind a legacy by coming to terms with his own story.

Gameplay

Rakuen functions like a mix between Maniac Mansion, To the Moon, and The Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past (though without battles or fighting). The story and character design are influenced by Japanese mythology and children's culture, as well as films like Miyazaki's Spirited Away. Since the game has a lot of different puzzles, areas to explore, and people to talk to, the total amount of gameplay will vary greatly based on your play style. I would estimate anywhere between 6 and 12 hours.

Media

Much of the Rakuen soundtrack has already been finished, and I've made roughly half of the tracks available to pre-order (or just listen to for free) on my Bandcamp page. Additionally, you can see some of the current art at the official Rakuen website.   


Other Information

The Team
Laura Shigihara - Design, Programming, Audio, Pixel Characters
Emmy Toyonaga - Concept Artist (also in charge of making the lovely promotional image and portraits)

Press
Rock Paper Shotgun
Polygon
Destructoid
Game Informer
Techno Buffalo

Rakuen related websites
Official Website
Rakuen Soundtrack

Frequently Asked questions

Spoiler for FAQ:
What happened to Melolune?
Melolune has been temporarily postponed.  I stopped working on it for about 2 years because I accepted a job at EA/PopCap as an Audio Director.  Although they allowed me to continue working on it (and to keep the rights to it), I never had much time to work on it.  After the Plants vs. Zombies team was laid off, I didn't really want to be at the company anymore, so I left last November.

At this point, I tried to finish up Melolune... but you know how when you play an rpg, and put it down for a while, it's kind of hard to remember where you last left off?  I learned that it's like 100x as hard when you're *making* an rpg... I had about 20 hours of playable content, and I was very overwhelmed.  I spent a few weeks just playing through the game and trying to figure out what I needed to do next!  I had promised myself that I wasn't going to start anything new until Melolune was finished, but I realized that working on a smaller scale project (that I was really inspired to do), would be a great way to get back into game development.

So hopefully after Rakuen is finished, I can jump back into Melolune again at some point :)

When will the game be released, and for what systems?
We’re hoping to release Rakuen early 2014. It will be available for the PC first, and we’ll hopefully be able to port it to other systems afterwards.

How long is the game?
It really depends on the player. The game has a lot of different puzzles, areas to explore, and people to talk to, so the total amount of gameplay will vary greatly based on your play style.  I would estimate anywhere between 6 and 12 hours.

What does "Rakuen" mean?
It is the Japanese word for "paradise."

What inspired the game?
Rakuen's story actually grew out of a song that I wrote called, "Jump." I wrote it a few years back but didn't end up arranging/producing it until I was asked to submit a track for the "Play for Japan" album Akira Yamaoka organized after the Tohoku earthquake.

When I wrote the song, I thought about two things: I thought about how in life, we often have to go forward and hope for the best, even though we don't know how things will turn out... Whether it's a new job, a new relationship, an illness, anything really... We don't know if we're gonna sink or swim; we don't know if we'll fly or fall. Sometimes we can't do anything at all, but hope for the best, and jump. I also thought about how we all have a child inside of us that just wants to be told that everything is going to be alright... Sometimes when your Mom says, "don't worry, everything's gonna be alright," she can't explain how or why it will be... but just hearing it makes you feel better. That's what this song is about.

And that's kind of what Rakuen is about, too. I imagined a little Boy living in the hospital, coming to terms with his problems by helping others... Perhaps others who are too old to have a Mom, or who are carrying too much on their shoulders to ask someone to be there for them. The Boy's Mom gives him the gift of hope, and through his adventures, he's able to pass that on to those around him. Through his actions, he's able to tell them, "everything's gonna be alright..." so that they don't have to be afraid to jump.


How you can help
Astragoth was asking me about this earlier... so I'm going to do a write-up dedicated to this right after I post this ^_^/  Thanks you guys for all of your support... I'm so happy to finally be able to announce this!
« Last Edit: October 23, 2013, 10:01:20 PM by supershigi »

Merlandese

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Re: Rakuen Prerelease Project Thread
« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2013, 06:55:45 PM »
Excitement and joy courses through my veins. Glad to see it's getting such positive pre-release exposure!


pokusan

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Re: Rakuen Prerelease Project Thread
« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2013, 08:35:42 PM »
I'm excited for this to come out! I'm looking forward to your post on ways that we could help. I'd like to support you in any way possible, Laura.

supershigi

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Re: Rakuen Prerelease Project Thread
« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2013, 09:53:08 PM »
Thanks so much you guys!! I'll make sure to keep you updated, and I'll work really hard on it.

Quote from: poku
I'm excited for this to come out! I'm looking forward to your post on ways that we could help.


Aw, thank-you... I just finished writing the post for that. I wasn't entirely sure what to write there, so I was kind of just brainstorming as I went along. I tried to include the kind of information I tell folks about, and stuff I've read elsewhere. But I don't know too much about social media (I don't even have a Facebook... the ones out there don't belong to me). So if you guys have any suggestions, that would be cool. I also tried to make userbars, haha... I hope they turned out okay lol!

Anyways, here is the thread.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2013, 09:54:56 PM by supershigi »

Unnamed

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Re: Rakuen Prerelease Project Thread
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2013, 09:55:36 PM »
Hooray! I'm glad for the new project and I'm also curious how could I help, if I can! :)


Quote
It will be available for the PC first, and we’ll hopefully be able to port it to other systems afterwards.

Please clarify this. Since "PC" is an architecture, does "available for PC" actually mean that Windows, Linux, FreeBSD, Solaris, Minix, DOS, ReactOS, MenuetOS, and maybe even ShitOS will be equally supported? :P Nah, joke aside, of course I know you mean Windows, but do you mean that Rakuen will be available only for Windows on the PC + certain gaming platforms; or are you considering to support other PC-compatible OS-es too, such as Linux?

Then this project is probably not being made with RPG Maker - or is it?

Reives

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Re: Rakuen Prerelease Project Thread
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2013, 10:37:28 PM »
Really happy to see such a wonderful start. :) Good luck with the remainder of the development; we got your back!

Also, a bit late, but I wanted to say that I'm glad that Tell Me a Story made it onto the OST. It's one of the most beautiful piano tracks I've ever heard.

Just Lance

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Re: Rakuen Prerelease Project Thread
« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2013, 04:55:30 AM »
Ooooooo. O.O This is so nice and the premise sounds addicting. Definitely looking forward on it.

Strawfairy

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Re: Rakuen Prerelease Project Thread
« Reply #7 on: October 24, 2013, 08:01:59 AM »
You know what this thread is missing? Screenshots!! C: Pwease share some. Tanks! ^_^


Astragoth

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Re: Rakuen Prerelease Project Thread
« Reply #8 on: October 24, 2013, 10:22:59 AM »
I'll just say this. Nothing I type here will ever show my complete and utter enthusiasm and congratulations for getting Rakuen going Laura, excellently well done! ^_^ I am so looking forward to the game when it comes out next year... though I won't lie, I don't think I can wait THAT long! XD   B)

CAN'T WAIT AHHHHH!!!!!!!! XD

Unnamed

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Re: Rakuen Prerelease Project Thread
« Reply #9 on: October 24, 2013, 03:16:55 PM »
You know what this thread is missing? Screenshots!! C: Pwease share some. Tanks! ^_^

+1

Duskylli

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Re: Rakuen Prerelease Project Thread
« Reply #10 on: October 25, 2013, 04:01:56 AM »
-Sounds like a magical and heartfelt story. Will I need tissues?
-Lovely art :3 The creature sprites are cute and I like how some have this suspicious beady eye stare.
-Will there be much Japanese culture present within the game?

small

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Re: Rakuen Prerelease Project Thread
« Reply #11 on: October 25, 2013, 06:48:47 PM »
Omg! Emmy's drawings are so cyute! XD sleepy eggplant, ha ha ha!!!
Developer and composer for A Quiver of Crows.

ridl

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Re: Rakuen Prerelease Project Thread
« Reply #12 on: October 31, 2013, 05:55:49 AM »
Project looks very interestring. Hope it'll be a great story like To The Moon.
Is there any information about translations to other languages? Will Rakuen be translated in Russian? Is there any list of languages this game will be translated to? :)

spellbunny

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Re: Rakuen Prerelease Project Thread
« Reply #13 on: November 05, 2013, 06:24:18 PM »



..........

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee cute  <3

supershigi

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Re: Rakuen Prerelease Project Thread
« Reply #14 on: December 09, 2013, 12:53:46 PM »
Quote from: ridl
Is there any information about translations to other languages?

I would definitely like to offer as many translations as possible; perhaps once the game is finished I will see if there is any interest in community translation projects like what they did over at Reives' forum for To the Moon. I know for certain it will be translated to Japanese, and I've had a few other folks offer to translate to different languages. I'll keep you guys updated ^_^

Quote from: Duskylli
-Sounds like a magical and heartfelt story. Will I need tissues?

Hehe... contrary to some of the articles that have been written on video game news sites, the game won't feel super sad the whole time you're playing. The game is more light-hearted and adventurous (with some eerie/unsettling sections) for the most part. However, there will of course be some sad/bittersweet moments where (depending on how well I'm able to execute it) you might need tissues, hehe :P

Quote from: Duskylli
-Will there be much Japanese culture present within the game?

Yes, there is a lot of influence from Japanese culture... children's stories, mythology, music, and just little things like the Boy's kabuto boshi (the origami hat he wears throughout the story)^^

Quote from: Strawberri
You know what this thread is missing? Screenshots!! C: Pwease share some. Tanks! ^_^

I would love to post screenshots... There is plenty of gameplay footage, but the reason I haven't yet is because we're trying to figure out which tileset art is getting replaced. So I want to wait until we have the final art in :)

Quote from: Unnamed
Nah, joke aside, of course I know you mean Windows, but do you mean that Rakuen will be available only for Windows on the PC + certain gaming platforms; or are you considering to support other PC-compatible OS-es too, such as Linux?

For right now it will be available for Windows on the PC, but I'd like to try and support as many OSes as possible. I'll keep you updated :)
« Last Edit: December 09, 2013, 12:58:34 PM by supershigi »