By Adam Smith on January 25th, 2013 at 3:00 pm.
You’ve made a game about tweaking a waveform in order to fit the patterns that it encounters, which is a fine thing to have created, but what next? Eden Industries have defied expectations and instead of a music-manipulation epic, they’ve decided to craft a blend of Pokemon, Earthbound and grassroots politics. Citizens of Earth has a real world, yet surrealist JRPG setting that is reminiscent of Earthbound, a game I’ve always been frustrated by my failure to connect with. The player character is the Veep, though not Biden, and instead of collecting monsters in balls, he collects the titular citizens, to combat a bizarre threat. It looks superb.
Here’s an overview straight from the keyboard of Eden Industries founder, Ryan Vandendyck:
Our new game is an RPG that places you in the shoes of the Vice President of the World! He’s a classic bureaucrat: charming, charismatic, but practically useless. After recently winning the vice presidency, he returns to his rural home town for some vacation. But he soon inadvertently discovers that there is some very strange stuff happening around town. Feeling a sense of responsibility as an elected official you decide to do something about it! But being the bureaucrat you are, you don’t actually want to get your hands dirty. Thus you go about using your charisma to recruit normal townsfolk to help you investigate and fight your battles for you. Instead of the traditional warrior, mage, etc. from fantasy RPGs, you’re able to recruit and fight with the town Baker, Barista, School Teacher, Homeless Guy, and plenty of other seemingly ordinary characters brought to life in unique and charming ways!
Taking the stand-offish general/trainer character and making him/her a politician is a splendid idea. Using the public to do your dirty work, you’ll combat freakish mutations, including toupee-wearing eagles, honey-filled bears and sentient coffee plants. I’m guessing there are some toxins in the local water supply, perhaps leaking in from Big Oil’s Back Pocket.
Eden hope to avoid some of the problems that arise in RPGs of this sort, where a player can have a massive array of combatants to choose from. When they’re not being used in the field, the citizens you have collected will carry on with their day jobs, offering bonuses and assistance in their own unique ways. The arious types of shopkeeper, for example, will upgrade their shops as they spend time working there, providing new items for purchase. Others might upgrade the town, expanding buildings, discovering new dungeon entrances and the like.
There are no random battles and combat variety is promised:
“Each character also plays very differently in battle in ways that exceed just their unique abilities and equipment possibilities. We’re striving to make every character have a completely unique feel and represent a personalized strategic possibility to players.”
It all sounds promising and it’s the sort of game we don’t see very often on our PCs. The town as base and citizens as warriors/workers does suggest a thoughtful take on Pokemechanics. More when we see it.