By Joseph Leray
Watermelon Corp. have taken to calling Pier Solar and the Great Architects, their retro-inspired role-playing game and the subject of a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign, “the biggest 16-bit RPG ever made.” It sounds like hyperbole, but it’s really a technical assessment: the game was first developed for the Sega Genesis a few years ago, using a custom, 64-megabit cartridge that dwarfed the traditional 12-Mb size.
The game — about a young botanist on a quest to find the rare herbs to cure his father’s mysterious illness — fared well enough on the Genesis to prompt Pier Solar HD, a remake for Xbox Live Arcade, PC, Mac, Linux, and the Sega Dreamcast. Watermelon’s Kickstarter promised a rich overhaul of the entire game with touched up sprites and HD backgrounds, made available on a wide range of platforms. The original pitched asked for $139,000 to cover development and licensing costs, beta testing, and production.
Pier Solar quickly hit their funding goal and began coming up with new incentives for each milestone: at $160,000, Watermelon pledged a “Director’s Cut” edition, which includes new sidequests and mini-games; $175,000 was enough to allow them to develop Android and Ouya versions of the game; and the team confirmed at Wii U edition at $200,000.
Taking a leaf out of DoubleFine’s book, Watermelon Corp. will be filming a documentary about the process, available to every backer, called One Year at WaterMelon.
According to the Kickstarter page, Pier Solar should be available in December 2013.