Fear Effect will live on through a new game next year.
The Kickstarter campaign for Fear Effect: Sedna raised around $122,000, successfully funding the project’s development and ensuring the series will move forward with a new game.
It was announced in April that Fear Effect would be attempting a return over 15 years after the franchise’s last release. The Kickstarter ran through Friday and passed its goal during its last few days with 2,542 total backers. The targeted funding was set at a little over $114,000.
Sushee is a small independent studio based in Lannion, France that will be developing Fear Effect: Sedna. The team will target spring 2017 for Sedna’s release date.
Sushee will also be working on console versions for the PS4 and Xbox One, which the studio announced on May 3. Originally the console ports were set as one of the final stretch goals for the campaign while the PC version was the main development target for the Kickstarter. Sushee recently acquired more outside funding to secure these versions, which the studio said will be expensive to port to consoles. Console versions were one of the more requested aspects of this Fear Effect revival considering the earlier two games were PlayStation exclusives.
There will be a game demo of the PC version releasing in October for Kickstarter supporters. Backers who gave $68 or more will get access to the demo. This base level also gets backers a digital collector’s edition of the game when it releases and their name in the credits.
Fear Effect is being brought back through the Square Enix Collective, a program that let’s independent developers use the company’s old properties to make new games. The last game in the series, Fear Effect 2: Double Helix, released for the original PlayStation in February 2001.
Even though its a Square Enix property, Sushee will have to solely fund and develop Fear Effect: Sedna. Square is essentially licensing the IP to the team and will only be publishing the game while provide marketing, quality assurance and help with other administrative aspects. The company will also take 5 percent of the Kickstarter funds and 10 percent of the game’s revenue after it launches.
Instead of a survival horror-styled action title like the previous releases, Sedna will be a real-time, tactical action game with an isometric view. Originally Sedna’s gameplay was going to be turn-based strategy but was changed to real-time action based on feedback to the Kickstarter. Using a controller on consoles, players will use one character at a time while the others can be switched over to during the levels. There will be a variety of puzzles to solve during missions, with death animations if the player fails like in the old games. Sedna will also bring back the franchise’s fear meter along with an all-new stress level that will influence the character’s actions and abilities.
Sedna will be a sequel to the original games. The story takes place after the events of the canceled Fear Effect 3: Inferno that was supposed to release for the PlayStation 2 in the early 2000s. The franchise’s characters all return in Sedna, like Hana, Rain, Deke and Glas. Hana continues her work as a mercenary, taking a job from a secret organization to steal an ancient statue held by the Chinese ambassador to France. The job leads her and Rain from Hong Kong to France to the cold environments of Greenland. The game will also explore the characters’ backgrounds and history like Hana, who has Chinese and French ancestry. There will also be an all-new character introduced through the game named Axel, who is part of the French secret service on a special mission to track the same Chinese ambassador.
The characters in Sedna feature an updated art style over the original games’ cel-shaded visuals. Sushee already has concepts, other art designs and a gameplay prototype for Sedna that will continue on in development now that the Kickstarter is funded. The studio chose to design a game with an isometric viewpoint because it wanted all the characters working together in Sedna on screen to tell the game’s story.
Each character in the game will have a few of their own special skills and weapons to use with different range of attacks on the level. Hana will have a thief skill that allows her to steal keys from enemies and will use long-range, dual pistols. One of Rain’s skill is stealth, which she can use by taking disguises from enemies. Her weapons in combat are long-range Uzis. The other three characters also have their own attacks at medium and close ranges along with unique abilities.
The Fear Effect games were focused on adult themes of violence and sexuality, combining the criminal underground with cyberpunk concepts, Chinese mythology and the supernatural. Sedna will continue these aspects by introducing and using Inuit culture and mythology for its new storyline. Hana and Rain will still be involved in a romantic relationship that will be an important focus of the game. The sexual aspects of the two characters will be toned down from Fear Effect 2 and that game’s marketing, which depicted the relationship in an over-the-top manner.
Some members of the original Fear Effect team from the now defunct Kronos Digital Entertainment will be joining Sushee on the game’s development. Matt Furniss, who was the leader composer and sound designer on the first Fear Effect, will be making the audio for Sedna. John Zuur Platten, the director and writer on Fear Effect, will also be working on the new game by helping with its story and characters.
This is Sushee’s second successful Kickstarter. Its first campaign for Goetia, a point-and-click adventure game also made through the Square Enix Collective, raised over $34,000 in February 2015. The game released on Steam on April 14.
Watch Sedna’s prototype gameplay footage: