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The Winding Road to Elements Zero


For being such a short and simple game, Elements Zero has a much more complicated history than you might think. Inspired by an old shareware game called Local Area Dungeon, which itself was based on Wizardry, it began in 2011 as a side project I started during one of E1's many developmental droughts, in RPG Maker 2000, using graphics from the original NES FF1 (and music from DQ3, funnily enough). It was completed until about the tenth floor, then abandoned and forgotten for several years.

In 2017, when I was struggling with E2, I revisited the concept and completely remade it from the ground up in RPG Maker VX Ace, finishing it all the way to the 16th floor. It was still derivative, but I enjoyed it a great deal, replaying many times with different parties, and its potential as an original work began to dawn on me.

Sometime around the end of 2021 or early 2022, I decided to reskin the FF/DQ assets and music with Elements material. I dubbed it "Elements Zero" as a kind of what-if scenario, had there been an installment prior to E1. But it just didn't have the same feeling it did before, and I wasn't very enthusiastic about it. Worse yet, around this time my life got kind of derailed, and I spent the next several months getting back on my feet, so the project was once again forgotten for awhile.

Throughout 2022 and 2023, I spent my time becoming acquainted with RPG Maker MV and made a couple of fangames with it. That was great fun, but I eventually realized it was just too difficult for me to continue creating all the graphics for my original works from scratch, and discovered the power and versatility of the various DLC resources available. It was then that I saw E3 as a possibility, and enthusiastically jumped in. I also conceived the E2 wrap-up/after-story at this time, having finally understood that the base game had become far too big and messy to bring to a feasible conclusion.

And then I remembered E0. With the resources I'd collected, I could at last realize my vision for it, and converted the VX Ace project through MV to MZ. I added the Survival and Marathon modes I'd planned, as well as a few other goodies, and put a ribbon on the finished product. It was released just earlier this year, in January (February on Aldorlea). And now I've gone back to E3, with E2's finale still on the horizon. So let's see how that goes! :)

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