Luc Bernard's Pitch For The Star Thief
Posted by Darren Calvert
As we reported earlier today Luc Bernard plans to take a break from the videogame industry for personal reasons. Given the mixed reception around the release of his debut game Eternity’s Child on Steam he feels it is time to hang up his golden joypad for now and move on to other things in life.
Could Luc be being too hasty however? Whatever your opinion on Eternity’s Child it did have beautiful art direction and is quite a unique game despite certain failings. Luc did have big plans for videogame development and the WiiWare service in particular. It does seem a shame that some of his more creative ideas may now never see the light of day.
Not willing to be forgotten just yet, Luc has given WiiWare World exclusive permission to reveal his pitch for a WiiWare game which he and his team worked on and devised called The Star Thief. It is obvious that quite some thought and effort had gone into this pitch. Luc told us that before the Eternity’s Child debacle there were some very interested publishers in this game concept. We have to admit to being more than a little sad that this game may never see the light of day as we think it could have had great potential.
The good news is that some of this game has been developed already and Luc hopes to make it available as a free downloadable demo or as an update to the Steam version of Eternity’s Child when he’s had a chance to fine tune it.
Read on, and let us know your thoughts on Luc's pitch.
The Star Thief
The game's hero lives in the city of Mechopolis, the only remaining city in the world after the flooding. The city is powered by stars that float around it. His job is to guard one of the stars however one day while at work he falls asleep and the star is stolen, he runs after the mysterious thief but fails to catch her.
After that he is accused of stealing the star and now has to find it again to prove his innocence. While he is looking for it other stars go missing and the city is threatened to sink under water if he does not get them all back.
The Game Play
The Star Thief is primarily an open world platforming game mixed with RPG elements. This will make it more interesting as well as adding new game elements never seen before in a platforming game; a living, breathing world.
Everything and every person in the world will have a time, a place, and a purpose. This will be made possible by using the Wii’s internal clock.
Use of the Wii’s Internal Clock and Calendar
Similar to Animal Crossing the time in the game is the same time as in real life, so if you play the game at night it will be night in the game. Certain events only happen at night or in the day.
At night the shops close and only bars are open, in the bars you can find merchants that sell cheaper gear. And you can talk to the bartender to get extra missions or clues. The streets are deserted since everyone is asleep, and there are different monsters outside the city than in daylight. You can also take place in an arena battle at night with your robot to be able to earn extra money.
In the day, people will be in the streets and the shops will be open, you will also be able to participate in a car race to earn money where controls will be similar to the original Excite Bike on NES.
On certain days of the week such as Sunday the shops will be closed but merchants will appear instead so you can still buy items. And on some days of the week there will be sales in the shops. And some characters only appear in the town on a certain day.
For certain missions (like if you have to find a lost child in the woods) you will have about a week to find them or you will fail the mission. Some side quests will give you a few days to finish them.
The player will always have things to find thanks to this system, so they don’t just finish the game in one go and never play it again.
Our hero is defenceless and does not have any powers apart from running and jumping. So to be able to defend himself and get new moves he will have to build robots that he can then ride.
For example to be able to access an area that is too high for him to jump he will need to create a robot that can fly, the player will either buy a helicopter blade or a set of wings for his robot, the helicopter blade will have more power allowing him to access higher places but will be less controllable, while the wings will be slower but it will be easier for the player to control.
The player will be able to accessorise their robot with many different parts however they can’t put all parts on at once, so before going on a mission you will have to choose what you will need.
Some of the different parts available will be.
- The orb shooter: Which allows you shoot orbs to kill enemies at distance
- Gravity Beam: This part will allow you to grab objects and throw them on enemies or either gets things out of the way for puzzles involving physics.
- Wheels: This will allow you to go faster but also it will be harder to stop.
- Different heads: to customise your robot and give it the face you want
There will be around 15 types of parts available in the game, however you can decide to put an arm instead of a head on your robot, but if you add too many heavy parts he will be slower or too many weapons.
When our hero is riding a robot and the robot gets hit our hero's health goes down also and it’s game over if he is out of health. To regain health you can either grab hearts from dead enemies or just find them in the world.
The hero will be able to dismount from your robot at the press of a button, the robot disappearing until recalled.
Obtaining and Upgrading Parts
To get new parts for your robot, the hero will have to complete quests, or buy them at stores. Adding new and different parts will give you the ability to pass certain obstacles and puzzles to progress in the world.
You will be able to upgrade individual parts, either by paying for it or being rewarded an upgraded version of what you currently have by completing quests. The parts will range from a low quality (rust) to a high quality (gold).
Rusted Iron > Iron > Silver > Gold
When you upgrade a part, it will become stronger, Heavier, and more efficient. This will open up many strategic options. The player could choose efficiency and health and sacrifice speed, speed over everything else, or indeed find a balance between the two.
The overall build quality of your robot will affect its health. Having all gold objects would give you maximum health, rusted iron giving you the minimum.
Items and their types
There will be two types of items in The Star Thief; Key Items and Effect Items.
Key Items will be items directly related to events in the game. An example of this type of item is if the Professor asked you to deliver a package to another resident of Mechopolis as a task. The package would be a Key Item.
Effect Items are items that aren’t directly linked to events. These items will affect your performance and abilities in the game.
- Motor Oil – Speeds up your robot by a fixed amount for 3 minutes.
- Repair Kit – Increases your robots health back to maximum.
- Cats Eyes – Increases visibility at night.
- Life Vessel – When collected will increase your maximum health. They will also be our hero’s maximum health when alone.
- Power Valve – Increases your jump strength and the amount of damage you do to enemies.
- Volt-Cell – Makes your robot momentarily invincible.
Several quests will be in the game. You get the main ones from the professor (who builds the robots for our hero) who always tells the player what to do next. It can be from going to investigate a area and bringing back clues to the professor for him to tell you where to go next, to defending a area of the city from the attacks of Fish Monsters. There will also be several side quests need to be done to be able to continue the main game, where to get enough money to buy a new part you will have to get food for the shop that is out of stock or finding a child that is lost in the woods or spying on a cheating husband for a fee, participate in a race, fight with your robot for money in a arena, etc…Not all quests require robot use since our hero can access all areas in the city without the use of robots.
The characters in The Star Thief will be more alive than in any other platforming game. They will go to sleep, walk around the city, and end up at the bar at night. They will never be in the same area depending at what time of day you play, or what month you are playing. Despite the changes of time, the professor will always be in his laboratory.
Areas in The Star Thief
This is the main area of the game. It’s a big city where most of the species that survived the flooding live. It will be bigger than most towns in 2D games and will take up 30% of the game world. This is where the adventure aspect of the game is.
- Min Woods
This is a forest that surrounds Mechopolis. It is similar to the electric forest from Eternity’s Child, as the whole forest is full of trees and vegetation that have a humanoid form. This forest appeared after most of the creatures drowned and it’s the reincarnation of the population of the world as a forest.
- Mechanical Ruins
On the other side of the city is a whole graveyard of machines, this is probably the most difficult of the outside areas since it’s pure platforming, with platforms falling apart when you walk on them or moving because of the ocean. A junkyard crumbling under your feet.
The game features no levels and it is entirely open world similar to Zelda, Castlevania, Metroid and the GTA series. Even though the world has these set areas, the areas themselves will contain a range of themes to add variety to both puzzle solving and graphics.
The Seraphlines are reincarnated ghost like creatures of the evil people that drowned in the flood. They live in the min woods and can extend their long fingers to hurt you at distance.
The Demonis are small demon like creatures that run up to the player and will try and burn them with their fire breathe.
Mecha Bombs are small walking bombs that once they see the player will try and run into them to explode.
The Guardians guard the city however on the outside they will attack anything, and they cannot be destroyed, so it’s better to just try and avoid them stomping on you.
The evil spirits are transparent ghost like creatures that fly around however if you shoot at them they will disappear to another area you must see what pattern they are go to be able to shoot them just as they reappear.
Abandoned robots, these robots have been abandoned in the outside since they malfunctioned; they still work however and are extremely dangerous. To kill them you must first blow them to pieces then throw all the pieces in the water so that they can’t resurrect a few seconds after.
Who does this game appeal to
This game is targeting at hardcore gamers, the ones that bought Lostwinds, Super Paper Mario, Metroid 3, Zelda, No More Heroes, since the Wii seems very lacking in titles for the hardcore gaming audience. The game will take 8 hours to complete, but a few months at 100% (knowing that certain events are only on some days or at night). The game will also be made so it fits the E for Everyone rating.
The Star Thief Trilogy & other platforms
The star thief was designed by being a Wiiware trilogy, if the first game does well there will be 2 others for Wiiware that will take up right after the first one. However once the 3 games are done, it would be nice to also release a retail version with the 3 games with bonus features such as a level editor (only for the retail version which would be after 3 games)
The Star Thief will also work on PC so versions available through Steam can be released, since our engine works well on PC.
A iPhone version can also be done in the future using the graphics of the Wiiware game.