Prequel To Japanese RPG Is Doing Very Nicely On Kickstarter

While the Golden Age of video games making bank on Kickstarter is long gone, that isn’t to say there aren’t still success stories on the platform. And a big one this month is Elin, a roguelike RPG out of Japan that’s trying to deliver on dreams that fans have been harbouring for 15 years and counting.

Elin is the prequel to a 2006 game called Elona, which as Elin’s page describes:

Elona was a roguelike game created by Japanese indie developer noa and released in 2006. Its chaotic gameplay and world, which inspired the player’s imagination, have made the game popular, and it has been translated by volunteers in many countries. Several “variants” derived from the original Elona have been also created after the source code was released. Elona and its variants retain strong popularity and community over the world even now more than 15 years after its initial release.

Original creator noa has now returned (with some help) to deliver Elin, which is basically the culmination of years and years of them playing more recent open world games, from Minecraft to Valheim, and wondering how cool it would be to have that kind of freedom in their own universe.

So Elin will be a roguelike RPG in the same vein as Elona, only now it’s going to have a lot more stuff around the edges, from detailed base-building to life sim dalliances. And boy, is that what fans of the first game want, because this game is currently exceeding all expectations Kickstarter.

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At time of posting it’s picked up over USD$270,000, which doesn’t sound like a lot considering the million-dollar projects the platform is famous for, but given Elin’s scale—it was originally asking for just $38,000, just so noa could get it done—that’s loads.

What’s interesting too is that, while the original game was a big hit in Japan, the exposure this prequel is picking up is helping get the word out internationally; on a personal note I hadn’t heard Elona’s name mentioned in years, but the base-building stuff here looks like something I would be very into.

You can check out more on the campaign, including art, music, stretch goals and screenshots, here.

That Sad Zelda Trailer Was Based On A Japanese Amazon Review

As reported at the time, the commercial’s creators were inspired by, of all things, an Amazon review left under the game’s predecessor, Breath of the Wild. Written by a Japanese user, it told the tale of a “working adult” who spends his days “plainly wondering why I’m still alive”.

Rediscover your sense of adventure with The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

I am a working adult, so-called businessmen. I’m jostled by the commuter rush, bowing down to customers and bosses, being forced to train junior staff and doing many things, and I end up working overtime every day. Even the mountain I see on my way to work, which I don’t even know the name of, irritates me. When I get back home I’m dizzy and have no energy to eat food, so I just drink alcohol and sleep. If I have time to play games I should be going to seminars or looking for a marriage partner, which makes me more impatient than I should be. I spend my days plainly wondering why I’m still alive.

I went to buy alcohol because I ran out and saw the Switch on sale in the shops. Then I remembered the day. When I was a child and really into Mario 64, my friend said, “lame to play Mario nowadays! Now it’s the era of PlayStation!” and I felt embarrassed. At the time, I didn’t want my friend to dislike me, so I also remember that I replied, “Yeah, you’re right. Mario is already old-fashioned!”

The beauty of FF7 at that time and the shock of being able to listen to the CD on TV… the recent kids may not understand these feelings. That’s how attractive and innovative it was for kids back then.

I’m still not sure why I picked up the Switch at the time. I just held a beer in one hand and bought the console and Zelda, thinking I could sell it if it was boring.

Yesterday, my work day, I looked out of the train window at a mountain I didn’t even know the name of and thought, “Looks like I can climb that.” At that moment, I burst into tears and couldn’t stop. The businessmen of the same age who were beside me must have thought, “What the hell is this guy.”

I would recommend it to all my fellow businessmen who are pressed for time and scrambling day after day to maintain the status quo, even if everyone hates you. Don’t say it’s just a game. We were born during the golden age of video games. Have you ever seen your family move their entire body when Mario jumps? Do you remember playing Mario Kart or Smash Bros with your friends bringing their own controllers? Have you ever discussed Chrono Trigger or FF7 strategies with your friends? Now I know. When I was a brat, my parents bought me expensive consoles and software for my birthday, Christmas and something. My parents, who were always nagging me, managed to raise money from their living budget to buy expensive games for me.

I’m touched to belatedly realise many things that I didn’t realise due to the busyness of living my own life. I should have been more filial.

The 5-stars reviews are all good ones, so there’s nothing for me to talk about now. This Zelda gives me the “challenge and reward” I forgot about. I can freely explore the world without maps, it’s an exciting adventure experience. People my age are sick every day to overcome tomorrow. But don’t despair of your life. The adventure I wanted was in such a place.

P. S. I feel like thanking this Zelda and I would like to apologise to the Mario 64 development team and Nintendo. I’d like to apologise for the lies I told that day, saying that Mario 64 was old-fashioned, even though I loved it. I am sincerely looking forward to Mario Odyssey being released this winter.

Postscript, 7 May: after 180 hours of play, I got all “recovered memory” and saw the ending. More than anything, I’d like to thank all the people who read my awful, long, cluttered and embarrassing review written emotionally. I’d also like to thank all the people who gave it a “helpful” rating, not only for reading it. I’ve never been appreciated by so many people even in my job. I really enjoyed my 180 hours spent running around Hyrule. I’d like to thank not only Nintendo but also all the Zelda fans who have continued to support Zelda. Thank you for a great adventure.

For all the similarities between this man’s tale and the commercial, the part where he apologises for abandoning Mario in the face of a PlayStation advertising campaign—I did something similar with Sonic 3 when my friends were playing WipeOut—hit hard. …