Inspired by Chrono Trigger’s battle mechanic, I want to make a RPG that uses the same mechanic and brings it to a new level. I will focus on delivering a game that has diverse battle design.

This project will allow me to make a few episodes and work full-time on this project for two years. This looks like a long time, but don’t worry, as soon as an episode is ready, it will be in the alpha build for you to enjoy!

I want you to hop on a game development journey unlike any other where YOU can give your opinion while the game is still a draft!
This is not a project that is 90% completed with a Kickstarter project only for publicity. There is room for your participation and I will setup collaborative tools so YOU can help design it!
I want you to have fun developing the game with me and be proud of what we did together.
A Community backer will receive the following benefits:

Review the game mechanics and design
Try the game in a development build, chapter by chapter and even before a chapter is complete
Read the story script and comment on it (sneak peek what I planned for after the prototype here)
Sneak peek at the graphics
Influence the music choice
Influence the development priorities
Answer to polls I will set to get the community’s opinion
Join private chatrooms with me and the community

 Try the web-based prototype for free, no download or credit card required! ;). here
Keep in mind that since it is a prototype, it has flaws. The real game will be made with a professional game development engine (Unity) and I will not hesitate buying third-party libraries if they solve problems efficiently.

The game’s design is strongly inspired by Chrono Trigger. I always liked the skills with different areas of effect, but felt like the system was too limited: that is what I want to improve.
In The Pilgrimage, by controlling where the characters move, you can position yourself to optimize the damage they do, the healing you receive and minimize the damage you receive. Mixed with an ATB (Active Time Battle) system you can pause, the game gives you time to think about your next move.

ATB-like (Active Time Battle), with a more tactical twist 
Incorporates Area of effect, close range skills or first-hit target skills
Skill can be targeted on the ground, i.e.: you may fire a circle shaped attack between two enemies to attack them both

Some flavor texts or story elements may be triggered when you walk close to a person
You don’t have to explicitly click on them
You can ignore them and continue your way if you want
I think it feels like overhearing a conversation without necessarily starting a conversation
Some less important flavor texts still need you to click on NPCs
Characters can be on any pixel, no square movements like in old-school 2D games
Animated characters with strong emotion. As for example, the sprite on the “spoiler alert” banner below

TL;DR: The story is about religions and their consequences (good or bad). The story is not fully written, so you have a say in how the story will unfold. Everything written here is subject to change!
My current plan is to include some religion war and religious revolt.
I don’t believe in any religion, so the story will be tainted by my belief, but I don’t want to make propaganda for one philosophy or another. I want the story to include these themes: freedom of religion, tolerance, non-discrimination and peace.

*Small SPOILER alert. The synopsis will spoil the prototype’s story*
Thomas’ wife died in a tragic accident. Visited by an angel in his dream, he was asked to retrieve holy artefacts from across the world to resurrect his wife.
Thomas believes in a God, just like everyone in his town, but after his recent loss and other incidents, he will start to doubt his faith.
Thomas’ first teammate is Anet, a Christian nun. When she was a child, she was adopted by Jeff, the city’s priest, for whom she has a great appreciation. All her life has been centered around religion. Travelling with Thomas, she will also start to doubt her faith, but it will be a major identity crisis that will bring her close to insanity.
The second planned teammate will be Anaya (name in progress) , a female gitan, believer of another religion (muslim, hindu, or a mix of both). There will be some kind of rivality between Anaya and Anet because they do not have the same faith. Anaya will be more extrovert than Anet. Anaya is a traveling circus performer, where she works with her family. Her father want to force her into marriage, but being an independent rebel, Anaya does not want to, and will leave the circus on her own. The circus will be burned by a Christian army in a quest to purge the world from other religions. That is where we introduce religion war and discrimination in the game story. Anaya’s family is not dead, so they may reappear later in the story, like when we travel back to Anaya’s homeland to search the holy artefact of that religion.
I have some ideas for mid-game and end-game, but I will stop there to avoid spoilers!

The story and the world will be inspired by a general knowledge of history, but is definitely a work of fiction.
I am thinking about the beginning of the industrial revolution, with steam machines, maybe some magic spells available.

This is where I will focus my game development efforts, not in a particular order.

A game made by your humble gamer/developer/servant, with your constant participation in the design process.
Battles with different strategies and design.
At least four playable characters.
A save system.
Not sure if it will be auto-save, but I like the idea of not having a save point before a boss fight that looks like a big warning post sign.
A story written by the Community backers and I.
Art by Christa Nishita. She is the one who drew all art in the prototype.
Music licensed by attrition, like the work of Kevin Macleod I used in the prototype. We may buy music if we exceed the campaign’s goal.

This is a list of some features that I will surely include, but don’t want to commit to.

Combo system: either you will have to wait for different characters to be ready to unlock a skill (like in Chrono Trigger) or be rewarded for having specific skills being triggered at the same time.
Battle in the dungeon area (like Chrono Trigger, no separate screen for battles and possibility to avoid some battles).
Poison area: some spots that you should avoid, or you lose life. The area may be moving, forcing you to react.

Some marketing guys may tell you not to talk about what is excluded, but I think it is best to be transparent and tell you up-front what this project is not about. Being a single developer with many hats for this project, I have to cut some features so I can focus on what’s really important for the game.

No leveling system. It doesn’t means the characters will not improve (having more hp, different skills, etc.). But these improvements will be controlled to guarantee that you will always have the challenge that was intended by the game’s design. I may even limit accessible skills at some point in the game to challenge the player with different battle strategy.
The game may not have an end. It will be developed incrementally, chapter by chapter to guarantee you will have a playable game up to the latest story point.
My development effort will be focused on the main story and I will limit the side-quests.
Drawing of Mohammed, this guy is a little controversial. But we may draw someone who looks like him, we’ll see 🙂

I will work 2 full years on this project and deliver all episodes done at this point. You may have 5, 20 or even 100 episodes (I am doubtful about that last estimate).
My development philosophy includes taking the time to make things right. I would prefer to have a short awesome game than a long boring game. That means we will take time in the beginning to plan.
My best estimate is this:

First 4 months setting up collaboration tools with my backers, making the basic software architecture within Unity and making the first episode.
In the initial months, you and I will brainstorm and write a high-level outline, so we have an idea of where we are going. The story will be decided definitively when we start planning an episode though.
 After that, continue adding new game mechanism and finishing an episode each 2 months. For a total of 11 episodes.
Community backers may expect a weekly alpha version.
A weekly summary of the development advancement for the Community backers. (In fact, I already started posting them here for now.)
Because you are investing in the project, I think you deserve this: up to 20% of my time will be dedicated to you: community communication.

That 2 years countdown will start when I really start working on it: that is, after I give a 4 weeks notice to quit my actual job, which I will do after the Kickstarter campaign ends.

Some Kickstarter rewards include a way for you to include content for the game (character name, graffiti, drawing something for you, in-game credits, etc.). All these rewards must not be offending or discriminatory. I will be the final judge of that and if there is too much back-and-forth, I will limit the number of iterations. Finally, if we can’t come to an agreement, I may decide not to include your contribution to the game. The non-inclusion in the game will not result in a refund of your initial pledge.
You may refuse any reward you paid for. For example, including your name in the credits. If you refuse a reward, this will not result in a refund of your pledge, even a partial refund.

My name is Philippe Ouellet, alias Filcius. I am a video game player, a board game enthusiast (see my collection), an experienced software engineer and the dad of 2 children.
My dream is to quit my job to work on a personal game idea I have been thinking about for the last 17 years. I am ready to accept the risk and salary drop of being self-employed so I can accomplish this dream.
I am currently a happy technical lead for 8D technologies, where I have worked since 2008. I worked there as a Java backend developer for 5 years. In 2013, I obtained my current job position as a technical leader for the membership frontend website in PHP. Even though I had no experience with this technology, I proved that I can easily learn and master new technologies.

Christa will be working part-time on this project, making all the graphics for the game. She already drew all graphics for the prototype.
Christa is a graduate of Woodbury University in Burbank, California, with a degree in Game Art & Design. Raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, Christa came to LA to pursue her love of drawing and video games. During her time at school, she has consistently been on the Dean’s List and won the Woodbury University Award of Excellence, which is given to the top two Game Art & Design student of each class. Christa enjoys drawing things that are cute, dark, humorous, or a mix of the three. Also corgis, or probably just dogs in general.
Her website.

Congratulations for reading this far, you are pretty persevering.
Final sales pitch
What I will offer on Kickstarter is a game with unique gameplay, and a collaborative experience working with a human being, not a team of game designers and marketing specialists.
If my Kickstarter exceeds the set goal, I promise to discuss with the community as to how best could we spend that money. Giving more time to Christa for extra graphics or getting a music composer are some of the options.
Be sure to subscribe to my social media to stay informed. I will announce the Kickstarter campaign’s outcome, so be sure to subscribe!