Hello there! My name is Luke Wacholtz, and I’m the lead writer and level designer on Shadows of Adam.
Do you remember your first RPG back in the 90s (maybe even the 80s)? The one that you played all night until you had to go to school exhausted the next day? That’s what Something Classic is striving to re-create in its own special way.
Something Classic was founded in 2013 after a chance meeting on an old, dusty RPG Maker message board. Since then, we’ve been working diligently on our first title Shadows of Adam, a JRPG inspired by the Final Fantasy games for the SNES.
In Shadows of Adam, you play as Kellan and Asrael, the son and adopted daughter of the mysterious Orazio, who left the remote village of Adam 10 years ago without explanation and never returned. All that remains of Orazio is a dark secret he left behind. A secret that must now be revealed if the children hope to save their departed father, though its revelation could unhinge the world.
With Shadows of Adam, we aim not just to evoke nostalgia for the classic 16-bit JRPGs we know and love, but also to progress the genre, providing an adventure that lives up to the legacy left behind by the classic games we love so dearly.
We hope you’ll love it too. Hell, we counting on it! So without further ado, here are 6 things we hope will convince you that Shadows of Adam is worth both your time and attention.
1. It could kill us all
If Shadows of Adam had stayed true to its original vision, it would have been called Final Fantasy: Pokemon Adventure Quest Platinum. Which would probably sell a few million copies on name alone if not for the rule of law. You can see it right? A simple 8-bit style RPG in the vein of Final Fantasy but with a Gameboy Color-inspired aesthetic and chiptunes galore! Sounds like heaven.
But it was not to be. Since those early, heady 8-bit days, the game has evolved more than a single cell organism in Maxis’ Spore. The team that was two has now grown to five, and I would contend that the addition of each new member caused the game to experience rapid evolutionary leaps.
Much like video killed the radio star, the addition of a battle-hardened ex-Zynga artist (team member #3) killed the Pikachu art. Which was great, but then the script felt out of place, which forced the team (out of desperation) to bring me on. As someone who has extensively studied the classics, I immediately saw the Final Fantasy influences on the script and proceeded to “upgrade” it to a more Final Fantasy VI inspired vibe. But then we realized the graphics weren’t quite Final Fantasy VI quality, so we were in a weird limbo, which forced us to hire an outside artist to bring the graphics more up to speed. Then (because we just couldn’t stop) we brought on a 5th member and now all our environments are popping with particle effects and I’m pretty sure we’re going to get Limit Breaks into our battle system soon. Time will tell!
All I know is that the vision for Shadows of Adam has gotten bolder and broader with each new member. This has also paradoxically increased the time necessary to complete the game. If we add another member, development will likely stretch into 2017. And if we can get to ten members, well, the project will probably spin completely out of control and we’ll all be dashed across the slope of some South American mountain.
On that note, please do not send us your resumé.
2. It’s an unapologetic JRPG
“Simple, done well” has been the project mantra from day one. Like many indie game developers, we want to distill the essence of what makes our favorite childhood games so fun, while cutting out the anachronistic and excessive parts. From a playability standpoint, we want to create a more compact JRPG that offers immediate storytelling, as well as engaging gameplay systems that require little in terms of a learning curve. Rest assured, we are cutting the common RPG filler, such as level grinding, backtracking, confusing subplots, and general lack of direction.
For Shadows of Adam, we want to play it straight. Not quite “80’s power ballad straight”, but also not a 4th-wall-breaking irony explosion either. Rather than make concessions to the general public and apologize for being a jRPG, we are flying our JRPG flag high: we’re serving up airships, a fantasy world, elemental McGuffins to collect, and some scenarios that any RPG fan will find familiar and enjoy at the same time. Put simply, we want to collect as many cool parts as possible from early 90s SNES-era RPGs, while conveniently discarding the parts that were a drag.
At least, that’s what Josh has told me… and has written word-for-word on the Something Classic blog. But I don’t think he’ll mind me passing this along, especially if I am Josh… Dun-dun duuun!
3. I might be the only team member that’s real
The first hint was when five disparate personalities managed to agree on Shadows of Adam as the title without a single person being shivved. But, in point of fact, I couldn’t shiv my team members if I wanted to because none of us have ever met in person. I don’t even know what they look like to be honest.
Should I be weirded out that I’m working on a multi-year project with people I’ve never met in person much less seen? These guys could be self-generated schizophrenic delusions for all I know. If true, the silver lining is that I’m way, way more talented than I thought and #2 isn’t really a complete plagiarism of “Josh.” Sweet!
4. The team agreed on the name for the game in a single night
Naming a game (or anything really) is one task that gets much more difficult the more team members you have. Square Enix has saved about a ten thousand working hours over the last twenty-five years just by incrementing the number after the words “Final Fantasy“.
We wanted the title of our game to be short, unique, easy to remember, easy to spell (and thus google), and to be meaningful in the context of the story in multiple ways. Shadows of Adam fits that bill.
5. There’s a ghost (Sort of)
The game begins in the small, remote village of Adam which is haunted by the ghost of its dour hero, Orazio who set out 10 years ago without explanation and never returned. Now, his son and adopted daughter must wrestle with the dark secret he left behind. A secret that must be revealed if the children hope to save their departed father, though its revelation could unhinge the world.
If that sounds too dark and heavy for you, don’t be fooled. You probably thought the same thing when you first saw the title for this article and look where you are now. While I love creating dramatic moments, I don’t think such moments can be fully realized in the hands of humorless characters. Humor is everywhere in Shadows of Adam. And while we aren’t above a gag character here and there, we’re certainly not dependent on them to provide a balance to the darker aspects of the story.
6. There’s jiggling tentacles within the first ten minutes!
Need I say more? Admittedly, we will reuse some familiar jRPG puzzle mechanics; however, Shadows of Adam will offer some unique twists. From tentacles to floating magical orbs, the dungeons will have a distinct personality. This is not a puzzle game that will baffle the casual gamer. Like baby bear’s porridge, the puzzles are tempered to be “just right.”
Repeat after me: “Simple, done well.” This mantra echoes throughout the entire game.