Planned release: 2012
Planned release price: $20ish w/ pdf book, more with physical book. (Pledge $20 or more to the Kickstarter project on or before July 14th and you will get a copy of the game, and something special and silly.)
Developed and published by: PVGames
So I know what you're thinking "But Zolgar, that's $20 for an indie game, most sell for $5 to $15!" and normally, I'd say that you're right PVGames, however, has some very impressive plans for this baby.
First thing to mention is this is an RPG in the styling of the 80s and 90s RPG epics, many hours of gameplay to drive an epic story. So, if you're a lover of the JRPG genre, you'll get more than your money's worth out of it. (And you get the warm fuzzy feeling of supporting an indie game developer!)
That, alone, however is not enough to get me to do this special update. That's more what got me to share it on my Failbook. PVGames has some plans that put many modern games to shame.
World size: You think Final Fantasy has big worlds? Hah, the overland map would take upwards to half an hour for a player to walk from tip to tip, if they could do it in a straight line. Fear not though, players will be able to obtain a vehicle that will do the trip much faster.
Realism: Aleph will have such mechanics as players requiring food and water, being able to break bones and be infected with diseases. It makes progressing the story feel like far more of an achievement than some little pop-up that says "you took a poo."
There is also a rather in-depth Crafting system planned, but PVGames has not made any announcement pertaining to specifics.
The game also sports a rather massive back story, to give you more of a feel of what's happening in the game world, and make you feel like what you're doing has more of an affect on the world than a fly sneezing. If you'd like to read the general back story, it can be found here. It will also be revealed over time and through finding things in the game world.
The game world itself will be a rather impressive feat, as well, the goal is to create a fully organic, 'real' world. Borrowing a quote from PVGames 'promotional material':
It is a large open world, meaning everything is to scale and persistent. There is a day/night cycle which can effect a number of game elements, as well as a weather system. Townsfolk do not exist just to spout one-liners and are highly interactive. In fact, the whole world of Alpeh is interactive. If something is not nailed to the floor, you can pick it up and bring it wherever you wish. This offers a large myriad of opportunities for you to create housing, bases, storage areas for your equipment, and so forth as you see fit. Although you do get an official housing area, there is nothing stopping you from taking any number of locations in the game as your base of operations. Libraries are overflowing with books, many of which offer relevant or helpful information to the player who can utilize it right. Aleph is a living, breathing world, but only if you can protect it from the scores of hideous creatures out to destroy it!
This leads in to what is perhaps the most ballsy move for an indie developer:
Moral choices, and the consequences thereof.
Yes, you can kill anyone, you can take anything that isn't nailed down.. you can even amass an army and send it to destroy towns on a whim. You can become the ultimate Evil Overlord! If you do so, though, you have to live with the consequences. Followers may abandon, or even turn on you, other cities will hate you, you may even get heroes gunning for your head.
Most games use a 1 or at most 2 axis scale. "Good/Evil" and maybe something like "Law/Chaos" Aleph uses a 7-axis scale, which ames things far less clear-cut as good and evil.
And almost every action in the game will move at least one scale. You might find your 'champion of justice' is an arrogant son of a troll. In most games, that's to be expected, but in Aleph.. you're facing an evil entity which is made up of all of man-kinds negative traits, so that arrogant streak gives it a hold on you.
The two 'main endings' are the 'pure good' and 'pure evil' endings. However, there are numerous other endings available depending on your 'alignment' and how you handle numerous things throughout the game.
Oh, and did I mention that you can raze towns? This is the mechanic that really sparked my interest.
So you can steal, murder, lie, cheat, and so forth... but what is really the most evil thing you can do? How about wipe out a village with your own personally-funded army? From within the designated player housing area, you can at one point in the game begin to build your own small army to do your bidding. You talk with your strategist and send the troops to designated locations for differing reasons. There are two primary functions (so far) to raising an army: Securing dungeons and razing towns. If you send your army to secure a dungeon, the troops will clear out the top several levels of any monsters that might live there. This allows the player to explore at his liesure and not worry about encountering any creatures until the lower levels. If the army is sent to raze a town, then that town will be destroyed, but all of its plunder will be yours!
So few games let you get even close to that! The only complaint I have with that mechanic is there's currently not plans to allow you to send your troops in to re-build the town and have it be re-populated but under your control.
If you're not willing to back it, come back sometime in 2012 when I give you my review of it!