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Plants vs. Zombies composer developing Spirited Away-inspired adventure game

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Plants vs. Zombies composer, Laura Shigihara, is developing Rakuen, a story-based adventure game about a young child who becomes bored with living in a hospital.

In Rakuen, the young boy asks his mother to accompany him to the fantasy world from his favorite storybook. The child discovers more about his fellow patients as he goes about his adventures, who have their own respective secrets and struggles. He also learns about empathy, hope and "what it means to leave behind a legacy by coming to terms with his own story" as he helps those around him.

According to Shigihara, Rakuen's gameplay is a mix between Maniac Mansion, To the Moon and The Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past, minus battles or fighting. Shigihara explains that Rakuen's story and character design is influenced by a combination of Miyazaki's Spirited Away, Japanese mythology and children's culture.

Shigihara, who has contributed voice and music To the Moon, World of Warcraft and Penny Arcade's latest game, will focus on developing the game's programming, design, audio and in-game pixel character art. Former EA employee turned indie, Emmy Toyonaga, is creating Rakuen's concept art.

Almost a year in development to date, Rakuen is slated for release in early 2014 for PC, with future ports a possibility.