Student Endeavours: GD23′s The Last Phoenix on Kickstarter!

Back in July of 2012 five students (David Dryden, Ian MacGregor, Rishi Patkar, Marc St-Onge, and Jay Zhou) finished off their final project “The Last Phoenix”: the crown jewel of their year at VFS, but little did they know that this would just be the start of their journey.

“It was a tremendously visually impressive game, with unique mechanics, and a huge expressive world. Also they were the first group to pioneer with advanced shader techniques at VFS”
- Chris Mitchell: Game Design Instructor

A month later they graduated from VFS’s Game Design program, and won the award for Best Final Project of their class. Seeing as they had a prototype that people were reacting positively to they decided to further its exposure by posting it on Steam’s then new Greenlight service, where it would go on to garner thousands of votes and even more exposure from articles posted on sites like ‘Alpha Beta Gamer’, ‘Cinemablend’, and ‘Rock, Paper, Shotgun’.

“It had a great whimsical edge, and they made great use of vibrant colors to achieve a fun art-style.”
– Tanya Jensen: Program Manager

After all that exposure and positive feedback the student-developers of “The Last Phoenix” felt like they might be onto something that they could turn into a real success, and now they are taking the ultimate plunge by starting a Kickstarter Campaign to fund a full scale release of their game under the new name of “Igneos: The Last Phoenix”.

“The Key to The Last Phoenix was that they had three solid pillars that they stuck to, which allowed them to implement features early and fine tune those features to great effect”
- Dave Warfield: Head of Game Design

With their new journey decided on, the team conducted a post-mortem on their final project and they have concluded that they would like to rebuild the game from the ground up while redesigning it to increase its marketability for the Kickstarter audience. It appears as though the team is going back to the drawing board to start from scratch to make the game bigger and better than ever before, while structuring it to allow for content to be added or cut depending on the amount of funding they raise.

“They were a very technically skilled team, they were the first team to master custom shader work using a shader editor and implement it with the Unreal Development Kit. They also figured out how to fill out a large open world with modular pieces to make the game look very distinct for a project built in UDK.”
- Peter Walsh: Programming Instructor

So now, almost three years later this dedicated team of five has taken the lessons they learned on the production floor and used them as a launch-pad to turn their final project into an exciting new prototype in hopes of bringing their full game to reality and bring it to the masses. It’s great to see a VFS project go from post-its on a whiteboard to a staff pick on Kickstarter and hopefully they will make it all the way! Currently they are sitting at $3,600 out of their $40,000 goal with 29 days to go!

“It was a great project when it was here. A well-polished and unique experience. I’m backing it!”
-Andrew Laing: Game Design Instructor

So please check out their page Here to back this exciting project (there’s special offer going too! act now to get $5 off of the $25 tier!) and tell your friends!

To cap off this article I’d like to include a quote from one of the designers of “Igneos: The Last Phoenix”:

“It’s come a long way from their initial napkin sketches to this big campaign, but looking back, its equal parts exciting AND terrifying. We’re reminded of that first time we took a step onto the podium at VFS’ Pitch-and-Play nights: we’ve done this before. We showed off what we can do, now we just need to show that passion to the world. Time to make a game.”
- David Dryden