Featured, Game Music, Indie Music


May 23, 2013 | | 6 Comments Share thison Facebook Introducing… STASIS CONCERTOon Twitter

*All art assets, including the above logo, are work-in-progress and may not be representative of the final product

In my last post, I hinted at a reason as to why I could no longer act as managing editor of OriginalSoundVersion. Today, I reveal what that reason is: I’m throwing my hat in the indie game ring.

After the jump, I’ll provide some initial details about this project, including the key asset developers (art/music) and a rough timeline. But for now, let me make the following statements as the two key reasons why I can no longer be an active part of OSV:

1) Time management. I can only devote so much time to playing games and writing about games if I am also simultaneously trying to make a game (this also explains my waning activity on my personal blog Gameosaurus).
2) Conflict of interest. Those of you who go on to read this full article will see that many of the people I’ve recruited for this project are people whose works have been evaluated in the past (generally in a very positive light). To continue writing about their works, or the works of their professional colleagues and (real or perceived) rivals, would be inherently biased in a whole new way, since I am now working with them on our own project.

Again, OSV will continue to live on. But my focus for the coming months and years (should it take that long) will be on this exciting new Visual Novel game project. Details after the jump!

Okay, so what *is* Stasis Concerto?

It’s a Visual Novel with “Room Escape” puzzle elements. It’s currently being developed using the visual novel engine Ren’Py, though we are considering another option for the game’s scripting/programming (it’s a secret, can’t say much yet!). With that in mind, think of the game as a cross between Analogue: A Hate Story (OST review here) and Kotaro Uchikoshi’s Zero Escape (in Japan “Extreme Escape”) series (9 Hours, 9 Doors, 9 Persons and Virtue’s Last Reward). The game is thus “light” on actual gameplay. Lots of reading (hopefully with full or partial voice acting!), some great puzzle-solving, and important dialogue decisions that have effects on the course of the entire game.

The plot of the game … well, I don’t want to reveal too much too soon. The game’s central themes are religious faith and doubt, music (including history, theory, and the emotive power of music), and power struggles in personal relationships. The game takes place in the year 2030 and features an ensemble cast of 7 characters who have to work together to escape a labyrinth secretly built underneath a Catholic all-girls’ school in Paris, France. As the player, you control the words and actions of the protagonist, Christopher Heidegger, a teenage soccer (or, “Fussball”) player from Switzerland.

The game’s lead artist is Wendi Chen, who did the character and background art for the hit indie rhythm/RPG Sequence. As shown in the mockup screen above, the game’s art style will feature thick-line characters with interesting, dynamic backgrounds.

But this is a game music blog here, so you’re most interested in the music, right?! Well, here are the big reveals related to the game’s music!!

The project audio lead is Josh Whelchel (Wind-Up Knight, the upcoming Scrolls, etc). He’ll be composing most of the incidental music, and has already composed a main theme. Said main theme will also serve as the backing track to the game’s opening vocal track, which will be sung, *in French*, by the prolific Emi Evans! Yes, that’s right, my self-professed favorite vocalist who brought the NieR soundtrack to life is recording a vocal track specifically for this game! All of us on the Stasis Concerto team are psyched about having her be part of the game!

But that’s not all…

Each of the game’s seven main characters will have their own character theme written by a “guest composer.” Each of these seven composers are indie musicians whose work you can find covered many times over on OSV. I’ve specially requested these composers write in a style that is natural to them; the in-game audio will be touched up by Josh as an arrangement of their work; the original version, however crazy it is (chiptune, live instruments, vocals, whatever these guys choose to do) well remain on the OST we release alongside the game, and may find use within the game as well. The music, like the rest of the project, is all in very early stages. Up to this point, all funding has been from my personal bank account, and a lot of work from these talented folks is coming via good-will and hopes that the project is successful.

Without further ado, the seven guest composers are:

Romain Gauthier — composer for character theme “Angelica”
Jay Tholen — composer for character theme “Brielle”
Rich ‘Disasterpeace’ Vreeland — composer for character theme “Christoph”
Alec Holowka — composer for character theme “Diodore”
Jeff Ball — composer for character theme “Ethan”
Chris Geehan (of HyperDuck SoundWorks) — composer for character theme “Felicity”
David Saulesco — composer for character theme “Gavin”

These composers have worked on such successful indie games as DUST: An Elysian Tail, Aquaria, FEZ, Squids, Eternal Daughter, Globulous, and many others. Now that you see who is working on this project, you understand why I cannot in good conscience continue writing about game music, especially indie game music. I should note that all reviews I wrote for these composers’ works, up to today, were written before I had secured their help for Stasis Concerto. So those reviews (such as Offspring Fling or DUST) remain my true voice. I loved those OSTs, regardless of whether these composers would have been willing to work with me.

Now then, a quick timeline (the past is accurate, the future is a best-guess):

April 2012 — my first inklings that I should make a game
June 2012 — an early design doc was written, and I began recruiting
September 2012 — the core team was formed (no guest composers, but Josh was on board)
January 2013 — early mock-ups developed, slow progress on art/music/writing/design/programming
Present — this blog post
Q3 2013 — a web-based alpha demo featuring a scene from the game and one of our clever puzzles to solve!
Q4 2013 — Kickstarter (I think y’all saw this coming. I don’t know how indie games get funded any other way these days…)
2014 — lots and lots of work
2015 — full game release (target platforms: Steam, iOS/other mobile)

More information will come in the coming months from stasisconcerto.com (which I just registered this morning). We hope that many people will come to play and enjoy this game, that it will expand the appeal for Visual Novels developed in the West, and that the soundtrack will be one of the best game soundtracks you OSV readers have ever heard and will ever hear. Wish us luck as we move boldly forward on this crazy endeavor!!

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