Being cynical is horrible, it really is. But when you're forever inundated with Shiny New Things that Promise So Much but then prove to be Rather Less Than Amazing, it's easy to fall into the habit of doubting before believing. So forgive me for asking the question of whether or not the gameplay, below, from the work-in-progress Lost Soul Aside is truly the result of two years' work by just one man.
The way the rest of the internet tells it: yes, it is. So who am I to not believe in the words of people who have only had the same evidence to go on that I do, Facebook posts from the designer in question, one Bing Yang of Seoul, that outline his commitment to the project, thus far.
"I has (sic) been working on it in full time for two years and feed myself by doing freelance things, and actually my plan was to release the trailer as the end of fulltime development and find a fulltime job then continue it in part time with a really slow speed, maybe ten years or more.
"I really haven't expected [this], there are so many people [who] like it which makes me hesitate to do as I planned. [Things are] actually a bit stressful right now. This may disappoint you but I can't tell a lie that the game will come out in another two years."
Yang uploaded the trailer for the slick hack-and-slasher, which seems influenced by the Devil May Cry and Bayonetta series (this, I am down with) while also factoring in RPG elements, to YouTube on July the 30th and it's already received over half a million views and many messages of support. "Your game looks better than some AAA games," writes one commenter, another posting: "I have no words to describe my feeling right now after watching this, but I will say one thing, you are beyond awesome."
The attention has been both a highpoint and a headache for Yang and his nascent development career. The looks of the game's protagonist, called Kazer, are just a little too close to Final Fantasy XV's Noctis to not have Square Enix's lawyers having a few hastily arranged internal chit-chats. (Of course, you might say that the leading man of the upcoming RPG is painfully generic in the first place, and therefore the similarity is a moot point.) Then again, the player-controlled hero of Team Ninja's action RPG Nioh, coming later this year, is a ringer for The Witcher 3's Geralt of Rivia, and that studio seems to have gotten away without so much as a telling off.
Yang tweeted that he was certainly inspired by FFXV – "I wished that I can make a game like that" – and has since stated that the character models will change. The game is being made in Unreal Engine 4, and currently uses many off-the-shelf assets, which has helped its maker achieve what he has in a relatively short space of time.
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Yang has received many requests to set up a Kickstarter to speed up the making of Lost Soul Aside, but so far is remaining reluctant to comment any further on future plans: "Kickstarter means too much responsibility for me now, and I'm afraid I can't bear that at the time," he wrote on Facebook earlier today (August the 1st); "thank you for encouraging me and thank you for asking to help, I can say nothing else but thank you guys."
If this is all the work of Yang alone, completed in two years, you have to say it's very impressive, to the extent where cynicism can be damned, this once. Ah, fudge it: seriously, it looks amazing. Anyone wanting to follow the progress of Lost Soul Aside, assuming it does get taken further from here, and Bing Yang gets the help he needs to shape it into a completed state, can do so via Facebook.