Last March, Sabotage Studio — makers of the retro Ninja Gaiden-inspired platformer The Messenger — announced their new project. Sea of Stars is a pseudo-sequel set in the same world, but it plays somewhat differently.

While The Messenger was an intended tribute to action-oriented 8-bit platformers, Sea of Stars is an RPG that takes its inspiration from 16-bit epics like Chrono Trigger. Sabotage launched a crowdfunding campaign to fund the game, and ended up raking in $1,628,126 Canadian dollars.

Here’s what the fruits of their labor have produced so far…a new Summer Game Fest trailer with new gameplay footage:

  •  Engaging turn-based combat. Combat gameplay includes active player input during attack animations (timed hits), multi-character combo attacks, boosting, and strategic defense options to hinder enemies while they are channeling powerful attacks or spells. For a more immersive experience, there are no random encounters or transitions to separate battlefields, and no grinding. Both navigation and combat happen in the same environment.
  •  Unshackled traversal. Swim, climb, vault, jump off or hoist up ledges as you run through the world with a navigation system based on platformer expertise that breaks free from the classic bound-to-the-grid tile-based movement.
  •  Prequel story set in The Messenger’s universe. Dozens of original characters and story arcs will take you on a captivating journey. Sometimes epic, sometimes silly, and other times emotional, Sea of Stars does its RPG duty of exploring classic themes of adventure and friendship, while also being chock-full of the unexpected twists and events you’ve come to expect from a Sabotage production.
  •  Full-on dynamic lighting our custom-made render pipeline allows the creation of a breathtaking world coming to life by pushing the limits of 2D pixel-art games.
  •  The Sabotage treatment on the turn-based RPG genre. Every system has been deeply analyzed to create an experience that pays respect to retro classics, while reworking some elements in order to offer a modernized experience free of irritants and overly lengthy sequences.

If you missed the Kickstarter, it’s not too late…an after-campaign has been set up at Backerkit. You can still secure a digital copy of Sea of Stars with a $43 pledge. That guarantees you a digital copy, access to the demo, a digital artbook, your name in the credits, backer title status on Sabotage Studio’s Discord, and more.

A physical version is also promised, but the price is on the heavy side at a $90 pledge. This one’s riskier than most…it hasn’t been revealed which consoles will get the game, and there is no promise that Sabotage won’t just come up with a separate physical run later. If you can afford to take the gamble, throw down ninety smackers and prepare to wait….Sabotage doesn’t plan to have Sea of Stars finished until 2022.