In a new "The State of the Basilisk" post on the studio's official forums, Basilisk Games' Thomas Riegsecker reveals that Zodiac and the Marauders of Sol was becoming "Frankenstein's monster" and has been shelved for the time being, but also shares the good news that they're working on a separate sci-fi RPG that is already "engine complete". We don't have a title for this new game, nor any real information about what its premise will be, but Thomas' excitement has us thinking it'll be worth waiting for:
We are currently working on our Next RPG. Maybe you haven't heard, but we're making a sci-fi RPG and it's coming along splendidly.
As of this week, we are "engine complete"! That means things like combat, stats and skills, item management, environment interaction- all that is done. The first 20 minutes are playable! There is still much to do in terms of game content, but overall we kicked a lot of ass over the summer coding marathon. It's exciting to finally see this new RPG up and running!
This sci-fi RPG is really unique in several aspects, in that nothing quite like it has been done before as far as I know (certainly I'll be told otherwise when it's released). But more than that- this idea really predates Eschalon. The original ruleset that birthed Eschalon was a pen-and-paper sci-fi game that I worked on in the late 90s, so some form of this sci-fi RPG has been brewing for many years and it's finally starting to look like something now!
But after a couple of my regular testers tried Zodiac and gave me very positive feedback, I decided to put all my efforts into it for 6 months to finish it, as a way of providing much needed financial support during the period of time between RPGs. I felt like the extra time spent building Zodiac would aid me in making a stronger RPG engine, as well (and it did!).
So I produced a logo, spoke to some people about helping with graphics and music, and switched over full time into Zodiac development. The problem was that I dove head-first into development without a project plan. Anyone who knows project management could see this was not going to end well.
I've mentioned in a few other posts what happened: after 6 months the project was feeling like Frankenstein's monster. Without a proper scope, development went off the rails and I was left with a bunch of incomplete/broken modules, and a game that needs at least a year of full-time development to salvage.
So is Zodiac dead? Well, no... but it's showing no signs of life at the moment. The project has been packed up and moved off my development workstation while I focus on the next RPG. I'll likely eliminate references to it on the main website to avoid ongoing queries about it. I'll review the project again after the new RPG is released.