As unorthodox as it may sound, Kobojo’s Zodiac: Orcanon Odyssey is an attempt by a western developer to create a JRPG that will be just as successful in both the Japanese and western markets. It’s an ambitious project that has been in development for the past two and a half years as a collaboration between Kobojo, Basiscape, and legendary writer Kazushige Nojima and composer Hitoshi Sakimoto of Final Fantasy fame.
Zodiac is a hand-drawn, hand-animated free-to-play 2D RPG that offers persistence in the choices that you make and in your interactions with the game’s NPCs. Designed with hub-based world exploration in mind à la the original Guild Wars, Zodiac allows you to join your friends in battles with party-centric, turn-based combat. It’s intended to have accessible but directed, story-driven gameplay which only requires you to manage your character’s health and skill cooldowns, with other features that you’d expect from a modern RPG, like crafting.
In our brief E3 2015 preview, I got to see a bit of Zodiac in action, and it certainly shows extremely well. Its art direction is spectacularly fresh and unique, and I’m told that the initial scope of the game already includes 30,000 lines of dialogue and 47 cutscenes. Its items are also hand-crafted rather than being procedurally generated, giving credence to the notion that the game is being meticulously built from the ground up.
Zodiac is set to release on iOS and PlayStation Vita later this year, although it’s developed on Unity so we could easily see it coming to other platforms. Stay tuned for more!