Plants Vs Zombies composer making PC adventure title Rakuen, first details inside

Wednesday, 16th October 2013 08:37 GMT By Dave Cook

Rakuen is the brainchild of Laura Shigihara, composer of Plants Vs Zombies, To The Moon and World of Warcraft. It’s a PC adventure title that has seen Shighara handle almost every aspect of development.

It’s an impressive feat seeing as Shighara has a long line of composition on the resumé, and Game Informer reports that she has produced all of the game’s programming, design, audio, and in-game pixel character art. It also features concept art from former EA colleague Emmmy Toyonaga. If anything it proves that the opportunity of becoming a solo developer really is there in today’s industry.

Announcing Rakuen, Shighara said, “Rakuen is a story-based adventure game about a little Boy who becomes bored with living in a hospital, and eventually asks his mother if she’ll escort him to the fantasy world from his favorite storybook. Throughout the game, the Boy begins to learn more about the patients who live around him. They each have their own secrets and struggles that are mysteriously tied to the strange hospital. In helping those around him, the Boy deals with questions about empathy, hope, and what it means to leave behind a legacy by coming to terms with his own story.”

Shighara has confirmed it will hit PC next year, and there are plans to bring it to other formats in due course. It has been likened to both Maniac Mansion and To the Moon, and it is said to feature similar exploration mechanics to The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.

We’ll have more on Rakuen as it comes. What do you think of the concept so far?



  1. Old MacDonald

    Hm, sounds like the boy dies. I’d better avoid this…

    #1 1 year ago
  2. TheWulf

    I feel that #1′s only worry is my only worry.

    I absolutely love games like this, though. Human stories — exploring imagination and creativity, wonder and wanderlust, hope and dreams, the evocatively exotic and scarily strange. It’s a rare thing to see these tales told any more without the desire for murder included within.

    I don’t know, I just don’t have it in me. I’m weird, I guess. It’s funny. I like monsters, werewolves, and things, but I have little interest in killing them. I just appreciate how odd they are and I’m more romantically and scientifically fascinated by the likes than afraid of them. I’m a dreamer, I prefer to discover than to maim, so that’s just not in me, so I find most mainstream games hard to connect with on that level.

    I know the difference between fantasy and reality, but my fantasies are those of exploration and discovery. I feel it’s selling escapism short when it’s all about the slaughter — see, there are so many things that we can’t do in reality, and so many things we’ll never experience. These experiences would be alien to us, and thus compelling and interesting, yet we waive them in favour of headshots.

    Shelter is a lovely example, but I feel that weirdly Gone Home is an even better one. I suppose it’s the amount of familiarity in Gone Home that made it seem inviting to those who played it. They understood House, they understood Human Person, but they were introduced to the struggles of life as a homosexual, something they’d never even imagined.

    The game received a lot of hate for that. For being familiar, and yet so unfamiliar at the same time.

    Of course — the obviously unfamiliar is unsettling, so it’s easy to see and waive that, you don’t need to experience it or potentially be taken out of your comfort zone by having something you’d never seen or experienced inserted into your mind. When I look at most of the entertainment for kids, I see more imagination, cleverness, romance, and art in that than I see in so-called ‘mature’ entertainment.

    I guess growing up means that you stop dreaming and start wanting to shoot people in the head.

    I guess I never grew up.

    I don’t want to shoot this beastly thing in the head, I wand to befriend it and go exploring interesting places with it. This is why Uru continues to hold appeal to me, as does the entire Myst series. But Uru especially since you can share the pure magic of that experience with another. You can open their eyes to new things.

    Portal has some of that magic, but it’s not quite on par. I feel that Uru is throwing someone off the deep end, and being there to catch them when they fall.

    So this kind of experience is my kind of experience.

    At the same time, though, I’m also overly emotional and I can get depressed easily — I have an overstated guilty conscience and if I’m aware of making someone actually feel sad (and sad is different than angry, since anger is a response borne of spite and something I don’t want to relate to) then I’ll feel like shit about that for a while.

    Sometimes, sad games get me too much. I respect them, and I love them, and I’ll praise them. But I won’t complete them.

    I want to jump off the deep-end with this.

    Yet at the same time I’m afraid of the torrent of sadness that it might cause, since there might be no one there to catch me. Some enjoy bringing about sadness, though I’m not a fan. I’d still play it anyway, and I might complete it, I don’t know.

    Since I suffer with disabilities though and I can fall into a funk randomly, I don’t need anything edging me on.

    Though Disney-style gut punching where everything is okay in the end… I can handle that.

    So I guess I just want to know the boy will be okay.

    I’m a wuss.

    #2 1 year ago

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