JRPGs sometimes attend to a rather niche audience, but Project Phoenix has raised eyebrows since its inception. It prides itself on “being Kickstarter’s first Japan-based video game project,” and on being developed by a melting pot of talent from both the Eastern and Western halves of the world that have experience creating AAA games. It even brought in Nobuo Uematsu, Final Fantasy’s legendary composer, to create the music for the game. Its Kickstarter campaign earned over a million dollars for itself and gave various rewards to almost 16,000 backers. The rewards ranged from a special tag on the Project Phoenix forums to the opportunity to design a character in the game, eat dinner with the developers, attend the developer launch party, and attend all Project Phoenix related events and conventions.
Kickstarter campaigns, however, last for a limited time. Project Phoenix needs more money, so it has taken to PayPal to earn the funds it needs. Prospective donors who missed the Kickstarter campaign can still donate anywhere between $1 and $5,000 to support the game and receive rewards such as physical and digital copies, alpha and/or beta access, an artbook, the soundtrack, in-game items, developer access and a name listing in the credits, and their very own bar or inn in the game, with background music composed especially for it by Nobuo Uematsu himself. In addition, there are new rewards that were not available in the Kickstarter campaign, such as Death’s Mantle, “a long, hooded accessory your characters can equip,” and the shadow phoenix pet, which replaces the “Fiery Companion” from the Kickstarter campaign. Those who pledge a little extra will be able to use the shadow phoenix pet as a mount at the end of the game.
Project Phoenix director Hiroaki Yura said that the extra finances are already helping. “We’re very excited to see our Kickstarter campaign continue through PayPal,” he stated. “We’ve already been able to implement challenges like having your entire party battle inside a kraken. Additional resources will allow us to make the journey through Azuregard a more enriching, engrossing experience.”
Yura also said that the rewards, especially the shadow-themed ones, help portray the darker side of Azuregard and give fans a taste of what the game’s story has to offer.
Project Phoenix also said that there are plans to open a storefront for current backers to purchase Project Phoenix collectibles. For example, a planned item is a 1/8 scale figurine of a character from the game. There are also plans to allow current Project Phoenix backers to upgrade their pledges. At this time, however, those interested will need to wait for more information to “be unveiled when [it’s] ready.”
Project Phoenix is currently still in pre-production, and is scheduled for a June 2015 release on PC, Mac, iOS and Android, and thanks to Kickstarter backers, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita. There is no word yet on whether the PlayStation versions will launch at the same time, but so far there has been no reason to believe that they will not.
Are you interested in Project Phoenix? Did you back it on Kickstarter, or will you donate via PayPal? What do you hope Project Phoenix, with all its star talent behind the scenes, accomplishes that other JRPGs have failed to? We’d love to hear from you—especially if you’re one of the nine folks so far who have donated $5,000 or $10,000 to Project Phoenix!