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Zeboyd's new RPG Cosmic Star Heroine takes its lead from classic turn-based era

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Zeboyd Games has announced a new turn-based role-playing game, Cosmic Star Heroine, starring a galactic super-agent called Alyssa L'Salle, who the developer's co-owner Robert Boyd says is inspired by his four daughters.

"I have four daughters and none of our other RPGs star a female lead so I thought it was about time for us to change that," said Boyd, in an email interview with Polygon. "I also wanted to create a character who was not a child or teenager, like in 95 percent of all RPGs; a person who had some level of skill at the beginning of the game."

Zeboyd Games is best known for turn-based RPGs utilizing 8-bit or 16-bit graphics. Its work includes the third installment of Penny Arcade Adventures as well as Breath of Death VII and Cthulhu Saves the World.

"I've been a fan of turn-based RPGs since I first played Dragon Warrior and the original Final Fantasy on the NES," said Boyd. "I love how RPGs combine adventurous stories, memorable characters, strategic combat, and character progression into one coherent whole. A good 8-bit or 16-bit RPG really draws you into its world in a way that you didn't see with other games of that era."

In an announcement on its website, Zeboyd said that Cosmic Star Heroine would play out in a futuristic sci-fi world with 2D pixel art-style and a single screen for exploration and combat. It's being created in Unity for multi-platform release. Boyd told Eurogamer that he is planning releases for PlayStation 4, Vita, Windows and Mac, with other options under consideration. A Kickstarter is being suggested to fund development.

According to Boyd, there is still an opportunity to create games that honor classic era turn-based RPGs. "Many RPGs have become increasingly insular towards the fan base as time has gone by," he said. "For example, Persona 4 Golden is one of my favorite RPGs. But it takes two or three hours before the player completes the tutorial. Compare that to something like Chrono Trigger or Final Fantasy VI where you get into the thick of things much quicker.

"You can see that the learning curve for your typical RPG has gone up exponentially since that era. With our games, we want to be welcome and inviting to brand-new players while still providing all the depth and quality that a hardcore fan of the genre desires. Difficulty options, optional modes of play, various gameplay settings, these are all ways that we're going to try to let the player customize their experience and make Cosmic Star Heroine a fun game for everyone."

As far as Alyssa L'Salle goes, Boyd wants the player to appreciate her skills, right from the start of the game. "We'll probably start off with Alyssa on some big mission where we can show how she knows her stuff and then we can escalate things and throw her in new situations outside her comfort zone," he said.