You may remember The Messenger, the 2018 ninja ’em up that sliced between 8- and 16-bit art styles. Developer Sabotage has announced a prequel game that pivots to an entirely different genre: the classic turn-based RPG. Watch the debut trailer above.
Sea of Stars is set hundreds of thousands of years before The Messenger and follows two playable main characters as they train to defeat the villainous Fleshmancer. Sabotage says it is “inspired by the classics,” and at a glance it definitely gives off Chrono Trigger and Secret of Mana vibes. The turn-based combat features timed hits and active defense options, reminiscent of the systems in Super Mario RPG and the Mario & Luigi games.
Sabotage’s mission is to make games with retro aesthetics but modern design, and to that end you’ll notice some features right away that would not have been possible in the ’90s games from which it draws inspiration. A dynamic lighting system renders a day-to-night cycle that creates realistic shadows you don’t normally see in 2D pixel-art games. Players have much more freedom to explore the environment, and are able to swim across bodies of water, climb cliffs, or vault off ledges.
Sea of Stars is still early in development and isn’t planned for release until 2022 on PC and (presumably next-gen) consoles. A Kickstarter was just launched today where you can learn more.