My new game, Rakuen

October 16, 2013 at 12:27 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 11 Comments
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Hi everyone!! I thought it was about time I filled you guys in on what I’ve been doing lately. I think some of you know that while spent most of my career as an indie video game composer/sound engineer, I was actually at EA for about 2 years as an Audio Director. I met a lot of wonderful new folks there (like the Pixelberry team for example). But after most of the original Plants vs. Zombies team was laid off, I ended up leaving the company, too.

Now that I was indie again, my goal was to finally finish up Melolune. However, after 2 years of not working on a 20 hour rpg (yes, I actually had 20 hours of playable content at that point), it was quite overwhelming picking up where I left off! I had promised myself that I wasn’t going to start anything new until Melolune was finished, but I realized that working on a smaller scale project (that I was very inspired to do) would be a great way to get back into game development. So I’m really excited to announce that for the past year, I’ve been working on a new game called Rakuen. I’m doing the programming, design, audio, and in-game pixel character art. My friend Emmy Toyonaga (an incredibly talented artist, and also a former EA employee turned indie) is creating the concept art.

Rakuen is a story-based adventure game about a little Boy who becomes bored with living in a hospital, and eventually asks his mother if she’ll escort him to the fantasy world from his favorite storybook. Throughout the game, the Boy begins to learn more about the patients who live around him. They each have their own secrets and struggles that are mysteriously tied to the strange hospital. In helping those around him, the Boy deals with questions about empathy, hope, and what it means to leave behind a legacy by coming to terms with his own story.

In terms of gameplay, Rakuen functions like a mix between Maniac Mansion, To the Moon, and The Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past (though without battles or fighting). The story and character design is influenced by Japanese mythology and children’s culture, as well as films like Miyazaki’s Spirited Away.

We’re hoping to release the game early 2014 for PC initially (with possible ports afterwards). But for now, you can learn more about the game and follow its progress at the official website. The soundtrack is also available for Pre-Order at Bandcamp (you can also just listen to the tracks there for free if you’d like). I really hope you enjoy the music and art we have to share so far! And if you’d like to help us spread the news, please feel free to tell folks about Rakuen, we really appreciate your support ^_^/

p.s. There will be Leebles ^o^


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  1. Oooooo, lovely! Looking forward to it. 🙂

    Though if the boy is terminally ill and dies at the end, I will cry my heart out.

  2. “It will be available for the PC first, and we’ll hopefully be able to port it to other systems afterwards.” – What engine are you using then? (Maybe not RPG Maker this time?) Will Linux be supported? 🙂

    (Or does “available for PC” actually means that Windows, Linux, FreeBSD, Solaris, Minix, DOS, ReactOS, MenuetOS, and maybe even ShitOS will be equally supported? – Sorry, couldn’t resist! :P)

    Congratulations for your new game and I’m looking forward to it and I hope I’ll get a chance to support it somehow! And I hope Melolune will be also finished someday! 🙂

  3. I tried asking this on twitter before, but are you coding your own custom engine (and if yes, what frameworks do you use?), or are you working with a premade one?

  4. Glad you still remember your game:) i believe a huge amount of people is still patiently waiting, all the best 🙂 i am waiting as well

  5. Congratulations,I’m looking forward to it and I hope this game gonna be awesome.

  6. This is beautiful, Laura! And the music brain meltingly gorgeous as usual! It really transports my imagination into a malleable state!I’m extremely happy to hear more of your music!

    one question though, what’s the current status on Melolune? Believe it or not, I still have high hopes for it! If for nothing else, I think people today can really use a good old fashioned JRPG type game.

  7. Great to hear you working on games again! Looking forward to Rakuen and I hope Melolune eventually gets finished in some form too 🙂
    We’re probably in the minority, but to add to @MegaBrutal’s comment, I’d love to play this on Linux too like I do Minecraft. 🙂

  8. “but I realized that working on a smaller scale project…” I laugh whenever I read this in your posts. 🙂 This new project certainly sounds ambitious enough to me!

    I’m glad to hear that you’ve gotten back into game development. It can be both exciting and scary to leave a steady job to go after personal goals, but I think you have the ability and drive to make it work. I look forward to trying your game!

  9. I’m waiting for it, I’ve listened your music, and this is awesome.. please finish this game.. 🙂
    Semangat Laura!!

  10. Looking forward to this, looks awesome so far! 😀

  11. Any updates? I can’t wait to play it!

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