The upcoming Y2K: A Postmodern RPG has a killer log line — a ‘90s-set, small-town mystery with gameplay that developer Ackk Studios describes as "a bit of Persona 4, Paper Mario, some Earthbound, and a lot of Wild Arms and Lufia 2" — but there have been few chances for grungy Japanese role-playing game fans to try it themselves yet. Next Tuesday, Sept. 6, Ackk Studios seeks to rectify that by releasing Y2K’s first demo online for free.
The demo won’t include a snippet of the actual Y2K, however. Instead, it will be a complete, original episode using the full game’s engine. A self-contained story set within the same timeline as Y2K gives way to a town to explore and a dungeon to conquer, as well as music from composers with familiar credits, like Undertale, Secret of Mana and Two Brothers, Ackk Studios’ last game.
PAX West attendees will have a chance to try out Y2K: Episode Prime — The Mixtape Phantom and the Haunting of the Southern Cave during the event this weekend, ahead of next week’s full release.
"Only thing is, not everyone gets to go to PAX West," the team wrote on its itch.io page, where the download will be available on Sept. 6. "So, we’re releasing this here so people can try the game and see if it’s something they’d be interested in."
The full game will expand upon Episode Prime’s content, telling an altogether new story with the same set of characters. There will also be voice acting, customizable controls and lots of references to pre-millennium culture as a party of eight works to solve the mystery of a missing viral video star.
Y2K was originally set for a late 2015 release; it missed that and was rescheduled for summer 2016. The game — bound for PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Wii and Windows PC game — is now undated, but Ackk Studios promises further announcements soon. It’s already hooked up with Limited Run Games for a physical release, and kiosks at select retailers are currently running a demo of the game.