RPGamer Feature - Echoes of Eternea Interview
Echoes of Eternea
Developer: E.o.E. Games
Release Date: TBA

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With the recent success of Kickstarter and Steam Greenlight, there has been a sharp increase of indie RPGs. Echoes of Eternea is another promising example, as it was successfully Kickstarted in 2012 and is nearing the completion of its development. We sat down with Echoes of Eternea creative director Ryan Harmon for a quick interview covering the premise and origins of the game as well their experiences using Kickstarter.

Johnathan Stringer: Can you give us a quick overview of Echoes of Eternea?
Ryan Harmon: Echoes of Eternea is our love-letter to the JRPG genre. We wanted to create a game just like the ones we played when we were younger, but one that also uses the conveniences of modern game development. It is also a chance for us to explore different ways of using the genre's familiar conventions.

JS: What platforms will EoE be available on and when is the projected release date?
RH: Right now, Echoes of Eternea is coming only to PC. We realize, and have received many comments, that gamer's want EoE on more consoles/services. We are focusing solely on the PC release right now, but porting to other consoles and operating systems will begin shortly after the initial release. Our highest priorities include Steam, Mac, Wii U, and PS Vita! We also backed our Kickstarter neighbor, Ouya, and look forward to exploring that possibility as well. For now, we do not have a specific release date. We are hoping to have it complete before the year's end, but we do not want to rush out an incomplete product. For now, you can follow our Facebook or Twitter pages to see the latest updates.

JS: What are the influences and inspirations behind Echoes of Eternea?
RH: The EoE team and I have been very influenced by some older RPG games. Most prevalent throughout our game are Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy VI, Seiken Densetsu 3, and the Lunar series. One of our main goals was to learn from these games, take their best attributes, and apply them to Echoes of Eternea (with our own flair of course). Thematically, the game features elements familiar to long-time JRPG fans. Developing the mythology of the world, though, has allowed us to take those elements and make them our own.

JS: How did the project and development team get started?
RH: The idea of Echoes of Eternea started way back in December 2011 while I was on break from college. I had just been studying Game Design and Programming, so while off for break, I decided to experiment with a project on my own. Eventually, I noticed that EoE was starting to take a life of its own, so I brought on a friend to help with developing a story and contacted our Lead Artist, Melissa Hui Wang, to assist in designing our characters. From there, we ran a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the game back in April 2012 than ran until May 2012. Response to it was amazing and we ended up receiving 4x our initial funding goal! From that increase in budget, we made a lot of changes and improvement to the games visuals, music, engine, and design, and all that led to the game we have now. During the Kickstarter, we brought on Paul Marzagalli, who eventually became our Lead Narrative Designer and developed our initial concepts into a full-on mythology, world history, and narrative arc.

JS: How has your experience been with Kickstarter? Any pitfalls, lessons learned, or special benefits?
RH: Our experience with Kickstarter is definitely a mixed bag. On the one hand, we are truly grateful to our fans and supporters because without them and our campaign, there would be no Echoes of Eternea! On the other hand, Kickstarter is a very competitive and stressful service. Most of that angst from using Kickstarter came from a group of people that insisted that our project was fake, and that we were going to run away with the money we had raised. Obviously, that was not true, but they used outlets like 4Chan and Reddit in order to spread their accusations, and well, it spread fast! Luckily, we were able to deal with that quickly, but it definitely stained our enjoyment of using Kickstarter and connecting with our fans. Giving the fans what they want also led to some detours. Early on, there was some pushback against using RPG Maker VX. When we came across a homebrew engine from Divergent Games, one that would offer us some more programming flexibility, we decided to license it for use. We love the engine, but when we gave up VX, we gave up all the resources that come with the program. That put us at square one, and we have had to build everything up from scratch. Finally, we aren't a full-time development team nor are we centrally located. Our crew is located all across the country, making it difficult to coordinate. With everyone working at least one or two other jobs in addition to this, it has made the process a slower one, though still extraordinarily rewarding. Every time a new asset comes online or we read a finished scene, it encourages all of us to keep pushing forward.

JS: Can you give us a preview of the story and/or premise of the game?
RH: Many years ago, the people of the planet Rivera lived in harmony with the gods, a period known as Eternea. However, man's misuse of the world almost led to its destruction. Subsequent events led to a prolonged dark age and the withdrawal of the gods from day to day life. The only symbol of the gods' presence was their avatar, the Eternal Maiden, a powerful figure able to wield the most potent magics in the world. The Eternal Maiden is not a single person, but rather a title assumed by young women down through the ages. The end of the dark age came with the foundation of the Basque Empire. The first emperor of the empire decreed a new era: Echoes of Eternea. It is now 628 E.O.E., and the empire has long since fallen. Two powerful nations contest for power: the Brighton Republic and the Principality of Trius. In the skies, the floating city of Del Cielo pursues its own agenda. Off in the ocean, the dark continent of Fornal with its pirates, warriors, and canopied jungle holds mystery and the potential for world-shaking danger. There has been no Eternal Maiden for many years...too many years, some say. That may soon change, though, as a group of soldiers descend upon Orston Village, looking for a girl called Namie Alguard...

I would like to thank Ryan Harmon for taking the time to answer these questions. Echoes of Eternea looks like a labor of love, and I am anticipating getting immersed in the world once the game is released. You can keep up with the latest news on the progress of the game on the Echoes of Eternea Facebook page or follow them on twitter at @EoEGames. And many thanks to Johnathan Stringer for his help conducting this interview.

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