As Chronicles of Elyria enters its home stretch and Cliqist braces itself for the game’s potential late surge in funding, now is a good time to take a look at what stretch goals developer Soulbound Studios have to offer. Soulbound Studios has made it clear that if they manage to reach certain extra tiers in funding, they’ll have the financial ability to hire additional employees to assist in the creation of their many stretch goals. The game has got a week left to go on Kickstarter, and it has currently raised roughly $1.15 million of its original $900K goal.

The first stretch goal, “Seeds of Angelica’s Tear” has already been met. With this stretch goal, as Soulbound Studios have explained in their 21st update, they’re now able to hire a new environmental artist. Backers who have pledged $50 or more will begin their journey in Elyria with glowing pine cones, also known as “seeds of Angelica’s tear”.chroniclesofelyria13I’ve covered the next stretch goal, labeled at $1.3 million in my previous Chronicles of Elyria post, but I’ll run over it quickly again. The implementation of wards into Chronicles of Elyria will give the opportunity for players to start the game off with no family structure or dynasty. Players will have increased character customization options as well as freedom to choose their gender and assign their starting attributes as they please. On the other hand, they’ll have to sacrifice the right of inheritance, the ability to communicate with family members remotely (through chat and voice chat, I’m presuming), and they’ll have “no ties to help bind them to the world if they Spirit Walk.” You can read up on Spirit Walking in an earlier Chronicles of Elyria design journal.

Bearing all this mind, I know for one that I’ll be starting life off as a ward, as I—and many other RPG lovers, surely—enjoy molding my virtual features to my precise liking. Others though may not mind as much and may prefer some of the perks that come with having your own family, for example, if starting as a child of a family you’ll be able to inherit the property and belongings of your predecessors.

A point has been raised on Kickstarter that inquires whether or not you’ll be able to pick your gender if you choose not to start off as a ward; it may end up being a deal breaker for some (that combined with a multitude of other customization constraints). As backer Paul Chatterton posted in the 21st update, “I’m a bit concerned by something I read here. It is mentioned that wards may choose their gender. Does this mean that we won’t be able to choose our characters gender otherwise? This would make the game a non-starter for me, which would be a huge disappointment.”chroniclesofelyria20This concern draws parallels to Rust, the MMO survival game where a large number of players weren’t too pleased about not being able to decide their gender at the start of the game. Paul’s inquiry has yet to be addressed by Soulbound Studios, but I’m presuming the answer will be a deafening no, because then there wouldn’t really be a point of implementing gender choice in a stretch goal. That being said, I’m sure Paul’s opinion isn’t in the minority—it’s no secret that RPG players love to pick out every aspect of their in-game self, and that starts from the top down.

In any case, on to the next one; at $1.35 million Soulbound Studios is promising “religious statues” that grant a “bonus to followers when worshipped.” I’m immediately reminded of Skyrim’s “stones”, scattered across the world, that bestow upon you a 10% increase to a specific group of abilities; the warrior stone for one-handed, two-handed, block etc., the thief stone for sneak skills, lock picking and so forth. The team is also planning to bring in a new animator at $1.5 million and add some “tavern games to enjoy and gamble on.” Maybe this’ll be their own variation on a Hearthstone or a Gwent (Witcher 3), intricate card games that may take a while to learn and that might even distract you from the actual gameplay—be it for good or ill.chroniclesofelyria23Pet/mount customization will be made available at $1.65 million. Some concept art of creatures—domestic and not so much—are available on the Kickstarter page, and I’ve attached a few to this article as well. There are pets that exist in the real world, including a fox and a lemur; and pets that don’t exactly exist in the real world, some being hybrids, such as the “Shrubland Wildcat”, which looks like a mix between a tiger and maybe an ocelot.

Then you’ve got mounts, large, often four-legged creatures that bring you from one place to another; Dragon Age Inquisition was one of few games I’ve played that had an intriguing collection of mounts. They weren’t just ordinary horses, and developer Bioware also kept adding them as DLC even after the game was released—maybe Soulbound Studios will do the same. On the Chronicles of Elyria Kickstarter page, there’s concept art of two possible mounts, one of which resembles a mammoth, the other a triceratops fully wrapped up in shining armor.  chroniclesfoelyria20“Tunneling” arrives at $1.75 million—the art of digging into “terrain for underground building.” You can “dig” for further details on player-created dungeons, housing, property ownership and the like in Chronicles of Elyria’s earlier design journals. An additional pet will be added if the campaign reaches $1.8 million—a phoenix, to be exact. In my many years playing RPGs, never have I encountered a mystical firebird companion, but based on the concept art I’ve seen on the Kickstarter page so far, I have no doubt that an Elyrian phoenix would be designed with elegance and beauty.

Yet another programmer will be hired by the team should they reach the big $2 million mark, as well as the ability to hide objects underground (for whatever reason), and the “visualization of senses.” Soulbound Studios has discussed how the game will eschew traditional mini-maps and the sort for a more realistic and organic in-game orientation; I’m presuming that these “sensory maps” will stack onto those concepts and be discussed in more detail should the campaign soar up to the $2 million mark in the coming few days.

If they do manage to surpass two million—anything is possible in a late funding surge, as we saw recently in Arcadian Atlas’ campaign—Mac, Linux and VR will be implemented at $2.1 million. I can’t speak directly for the crowd, but I’ve got a friend or two in possession of a Macbook Air who I wouldn’t mind ganging up with in Chronicles of Elyria. That being said, the $2.1 million mark is still a tough goal to reach, and who even knows if the Mac, Linux and VR versions will be released at the same time as the PC version. More details will be sure to follow if, as I mentioned before, they manage to close in on that gap.chroniclesofelyria24Last but not least, an additional animator will be hired at $2.25 million and he/she will undoubtedly assist with the “mounted combat” stretch goal. I can’t point out too many MMORPGs, or RPGs period that incorporated fencing on horseback, and even when it did happen (I’m thinking of the Witcher 3), it was often clunky and best left as a last resort. That being said, if Chronicles of Elyria ends up with some wicked looking mounts—as advertised in the Kickstarter overview—and they manage to nail smooth animations for mounted combat on top of that, I can most certainly see the concept adding to the game’s immersion and pleasure.

Chronicles of Elyria is shaping up to be one heck of a game, with not many Kickstarter projects in the past paralleling its breadth and depth. These unique and innovative stretch goals speak to the ambition of the small team over at Soulbound Studios, and I’m more than glad to see that they’ll be utilizing any additional funds to also expand and hire new personnel. I’ll be covering the game closely as it enters its final days, and you can track the game’s progress over at our campaign calendar as well.

About the Author

Felix Wong

Felix spent a large chunk of his youth behind a 24 inch monitor and intends to do the same with the rest of his adult life. For reasons still unbeknownst to friends and family, he decided to eschew a more conventional career path to instead become a guy who writes about video games for cash and coin.

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