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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Zodiac developer changing business model to go premium (and looks darn good doing it)

Last September, we declared Zodiac – a "humble little 2D RPG” – the winner of the 2014 Tokyo Game Show. Despite its artwork reminiscent of Child of Light and its amazing creative team (including Final Fantasy Tactics composer Hitoshi Sakimoto and Final Fantasy VII writer Kazushige Nojima), Matt did express some concerns over the studio behind it:

"It's possible that the game might take a turn for the unpleasant, as the studio, Kobojo, was founded as a social developer and certainly hasn't worked on something with this kind of vision before."
Related reading: Matt's first impressions of Zodiac on PlayStation Vita.

It’s almost as if he were reading the future, because it’s now been announced that Kobojo is changing its business model for the game. The French development studio (and its newly-established Scotland studio) led by ex-Ubisoft staffer Mario Rizzo has announced that Zodiac: Orcanon Odyssey will launch as a premium (paid) product later this year instead of following his team's usual free-to-play model. Kobojo has been around since 2008, so for it to be willing to change how it publishes games demonstrates the belief it has behind it. As Rizzo explained:
“The heart and soul of Zodiac has always been to bring players a classic JRPG experience regardless of platform – the kind of experience that JRPG fans enjoy, and sadly, that no longer seem as common as they once were … Listening to the great feedback we received after showing the game at GDC and E3, we’ve made the unprecedented decision to shift gears from Kobojo’s usual free-to-play format to make Zodiac: Orcanon Odyssey a premium game for Western audiences. We’re excited to announce that the launch of game will offer an original Nojima-san storyline and the thrilling gameplay that we’ve all been hoping to see from a new JRPG product in a standalone, one-time premium game purchase, with episodic content updates to continue the epic saga of Orcanon.”
What does that mean for us? Zodiac will be available at launch later this year for purchase in the App Store for iOS (and later on PC and Sony platforms) complete with multiple explorable areas, dungeons, hours worth of quests, cinematics, and boss fights. Later on, episodic updates will be available for purchase to add new areas, character classes, characters, and challenges.

Have a look at some screenshots below, and let us know what you think of Zodiac and the new business model being employed for it!

- Lindsay M.
News Editor
Zodiac developer changing business model to go premium (and looks darn good doing it)
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