Lonely Souls: Jasper Byrne’s NEW GAME +

When Jasper Byrne posted the first images of his new game, following last year’s Lone Survivor, it looked like a rather distinct change in direction had taken place. From the confines of an apartment block and troubled mind, both somewhat dilapidated, to open fields that were more like Hyrule’s Lost Hills than Silent Hill. Byrne is an admirer of the dark fantasy of the Souls games, as am I, and the idea of something akin to a mash-up of Zelda and From Software’s masterpiece seemed a promising and distinct possibility. But then the project was abandoned, until Byrne decided to unabandon it and continue work. That was a short while ago but new details have now emerged. Highlights are below, the rest is here.

Here’s some details on entwining world-building, mechanics and theme, which is something that Dark Souls itself did brilliantly, although not uniquely of course. There’s also mention of another big influence:

I’ve begun to build more of the world (which I’m trying not to show too much of because *spoilers*) but I can say that there are now multi-level areas working, like Dungeon Master, one of my all-time favourite RPG’s, you can fall down pits and the enemies can even follow you down there, or be found lurking when you reach the lower level because you lunged at them and sent them flying off a ledge.) I want to make a lot of use of the grid-based nature of the game, and have Dungeon Master-like traps, pressure pads, all those things that require you to be a little observant when moving forward. You can throw whatever you’re carrying, in either hand, not only to land in monsters’ faces stunning them temporarily while you make your escape, risking a valuable weapon or shield, but perhaps also to set off these fiendish traps before they find you instead?

And here’s some notes on equipment and the design process:

As it stands, I’m planning to have no inventory except for the armour and helmet you wear, the two things you carry in your hands, and one support item. Designs can be subject to change of course! But I want to try and reduce and RPG to the fewest elements I can while still being able to feel like an RPG. That’s a key thing in what I’m going for mechanically, I think? And with up to four players on screen the GUI has to be as simple as possible, so my intended solution is to practically show all of it on the player, one of the reasons the animation takes so long, because the player must be able to use every item, in both hands, with four facing directions, in every suit and helmet!

I can’t wait to see it in action and some lucky blighters already have. Byrne has been testing the game, including the multiplayer, with indie luminaries and other chums.


  1. Kefren says:

    Bizarrely, the graphics remind me of TLL. Stark white geometric cliffs and blue sea.

    • Kefren says:

      Wow, first comment. I was wrong, the cliffs were yellow. link to worldofspectrum.org Like Cyclone too. link to worldofspectrum.org

    • rustybroomhandle says:

      Incidentally, the game I am making has some gameplay partly inspired by Cyclone. :)

      • Kefren says:

        It’s a good one to be inspired by! Me and a friend spent whole afternoons replaying it, trying to get that last box and landing quickly when the cyclone came.

    • Dorothy_Wildman says:

      my buddy’s aunt makes $78 hourly on the laptop. She has been out of a job for 8 months but last month her payment was $15532 just working on the laptop for a few hours. Read more on this site… http://www.ace60.com

      • bonuswavepilot says:

        These really are some rather sophisticated spambots. (Apologies in advance, this is gonna be way OT.)

        Firstly they are obviously able to register accounts here, which means they’re somehow defeating the reCaptcha registration process (mechanical turk submission backend perhaps? Or maybe they’ve just got a very clever OCR algorithm somewhere, or there’s a vulnerability in reCaptcha itself… Or a digital sweatshop full of dudes just solving reCapthcas? I don’t know enough about how the economy of this stuff works.).

        I like the way this one seems to generate randomised names rather than just appending a random number to something – also clever enough to vary how the names are attached together – we’ve got joshuahhodges (just concatenated) and Dorothy_Wildman a couple of comments further down (capitalised, and joined by underscore).

        Looks pretty scattershot in delivering this payload though – an identical comment by the same user (in the case of the ‘joshuahodges’ one) is posted as a response to the first comment on a number of articles at RPS within a minute or two. RPS webguy/gal – if you have somehow bothered reading this I reckon this is probably your best bet for detecting these wayward bots…

        The text itself follows the same structure, but seems to be templated so that sections can be swapped for variations:

        [my co-worker’s sister / my buddy’s aunt] makes $[62 / 78] [an hour / hourly] on the [computer / laptop]. She has been out of [work / a job] for 8 months but last month her [paycheck / payment] was $[12824 / 15532] just working on the [computer / laptop] for a few hours. Read more [here / on this site].

        With a different link in each message at the end. (I don’t know what horrors lie at the end of those links, but I have steered clear of them.) Even with just the two variations of each section we see in these messages, you could make 512 unique variations of this message, presuming that just having one of the bits differ from the other would be different enough to defeat anti-spam-comment software.

        • Jim Rossignol says:

          We’re pretty sure these spam comments are from manually-created accounts.

          • Sparkasaurusmex says:

            manually created….by robots!

            I think “internet spammer” is actually a job some people have (or a slave’s chore?)

        • x1501 says:

          Why would you need to predict every possible variation of the message? The fact that someone rapidly posts multiple posts in different threads using the dollar sign should be suspicious enough to trigger an alarm, especially if the user in question is a new poster and doesn’t have an established posting history to whitelist him automatically.

        • Consumatopia says:

          The ones that duplicate a comment deeper in the thread that already has a link, and then changing that link to point to their spam whatever, resulting in a comment that looks like its on topic, are definitely the best/worst.

  2. Hoaxfish says:

    There’s a video of gameplay: link to youtube.com (though it is horrible shakey cam footage)

    • The Random One says:

      Thanks, it looks even better than I thought! Like Binding of Isaac meets Castle Crashers meets… something else… that is also fun.

  3. aliksy says:

    An RPG without boatloads of items and stats? I am intrigued.

  4. misterT0AST says:

    I didn’t really understand Lone Survivor, mainly because I gobbled down a worrying amount of pills, probably in the wrong order, but hell I had a blast with it. I don’t think it was particularly brilliant or scary, but, I don’t know why, it was fun as hell for me. Opening doors, finding new monsters, new items, and even new characters, the time passing by, it felt like a big adventure.
    The way 2d was handled (as 3d corridors of a bigger map) was genius, it really made the world feel big and open even if it was just corridors.
    And now look at these graphics! All the gorgeousness and style of old pixel art with the openness of a 3d environment.
    I’m not sure this guy is good at storytelling, but the feel of these things he makes is always great.
    All of these indie games always seem like small confined stories, but I’m confident this guy can make the gaming world feel big and explorable.
    I hope there will be lots of surprises behind every corner in this one as well.
    This guy gets what I want. Secret passages, mazes, deformed monsters lurking in the dark, and drugs. And cryptic finales open for interpretation that you have to look up on Google. Even the fucking ending requires exploration.
    Imma buy this.

  5. Totally heterosexual says:

    Well that looks fun.

  6. PatrickSwayze says:

    Sounds like Legend of Dungeon somewhat.

  7. valentingalea says:

    “Hyrule’s Lost Hills” – I think you mean Lost Woods.

  8. Synesthesia says:


    This makes me happy and i will dance a little now.

  9. crinkles esq. says:

    This looks quite lovely. Although I think it would be interesting to have a Zelda-style game with lots of RPG elements on top of that, without losing the whimsical, breezy aspects of Miyamoto’s creation. Zelda’s inventory system and such seem paltry compared to western RPGs — and Miyamoto had certainly played the original Wizardry games — but he was responding to those games with Zelda; emphasizing adventure over stats and rules. Still, I think those complex systems could be put back into such a game without losing the sensibility.

  10. wodin says:

    Pleased he continued with it….

  11. Jason Moyer says:

    Wouldn’t a mashup of Dark Souls and Legend Of Zelda just end up being like the Ys games?

  12. Crosmando says:

    Does he still plan to make the game go into a first-person mode in dungeons? That was my favorite feature of those previous screenshots

  13. screeg says:

    Adam, do you know if it’s turn-based?