The story of how Pier Solar was made is as interesting as the game itself. Developers WaterMelon began developing the game in 2004 as a classic 16-bit role-playing game, it earned a strong following and record pre-order sales based on internet hype alone. Being billed as a “love letter” to fans of classic console RPGs, it spent six years in development before finally being released in 2010 for the Sega Genesis (Mega Drive in Europe). While homebrew games being released on retro systems is not uncommon, Pier Solar is one of the most successful and well-received 16-bit homebrews of all time. As such, early pressings of the game now command a hefty price online.
In an effort to bring this exceptional RPG to a wider audience, the creators have started a Kickstarter campaign. If successful, the game will be ported to various other platforms. If you’ve wanted this game but can’t afford the asking price of the original, this may be the next best option.
The setting, style and story of Pier Solar will be familiar and comfortable to anyone who grew up playing 16-bit Japanese RPGs. The story surrounds a young mane named Hoston, a botanist whose father falls gravely ill for mysterious reasons. In order to cure him, Hoston must venture out with his two best friends, Aline and Edessot, to find a mysterious herb that can save his father’s life. Naturally, the plot isn’t that simple, and many dramatic twists occur over the course of the game. Released on a 64 MB cartridge and included with an expansion that utilizes the Sega CD, Pier Solar is a massive game that pushes the hardware to it’s very limits. Homebrews are very common, but a 50+ hour original RPG being released on a retro system was a recipe for success, one that the creators hope to replicate on modern hardware.
The Kickstarter campaign for Pier Solar HD began on November 5, 2012 and will run for 30 days. Not content with just having the game on the Sega Genesis, this funding campaign will help see it ported to the Xbox 360, PC, Mac, Linux, and most interesting, the Sega Dreamcast. The HD port will also mean improved graphics, enhanced textures and a more polished look. Like all Kickstarter projects, you will obtain certain perks depending how much you donate. The minimum pledge to get the game is $15, which will get you a digital copy on the Xbox 360. Higher pledges will get the the physical copy, including a special collector’s edition for the Dreamcast, and rare items and trinkets are given out for the high rollers who pledge even more.
As of this writing, the Kickstarter campaign for Pier Solar HD has gained over $30,000 from over 350 backers. The overall fundraising goal is $139,000, with 29 days to go. Those wishing to learn more can go to their Kickstarter page and find out more information, including how to contribute and what perks are being offered.