Pier Solar and the Great Architects

Last updated
Pier Solar and the Great Architects
European Mega Drive box art
Developer(s) WaterMelon
Publisher(s) WaterMelon
Designer(s) Tulio Adriano [1]
Gwénaël Godde
Composer(s) Zable Fahr
Tulio Adriano
Tiido Priimägi
Platform(s) Sega Genesis, Dreamcast, Ouya, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox One, Wii U, Microsoft Windows, OS X, GNU/Linux, Android
ReleaseSega Genesis
  • WW: December 20, 2010
PS3, PS4, Windows, OS X, Linux, Ouya
  • NA: September 30, 2014
  • EU: November 12, 2014
Wii U
  • NA: November 6, 2014
  • EU: November 27, 2014
Xbox One
  • WW: November 21, 2014
  • WW: October 25, 2015
Android, PS Vita
  • WW: TBA
Genre(s) Role-playing
Mode(s) Single-player

Pier Solar and the Great Architects is a homebrew role-playing video game developed and published by WaterMelon for the Sega Genesis. The game was released worldwide on December 20, 2010. [2] The game optionally utilizes the Sega CD expansion device to enhance its audio capabilities. [3]

Homebrew (video games)

Homebrew is a term frequently applied to video games or other software produced by consumers to target proprietary hardware platforms that are not typically user-programmable or that use proprietary storage methods. This can include games developed with official development kits, such as Net Yaroze, Linux for PlayStation 2 or Microsoft XNA. A game written by a non-professional developer for a system intended to be consumer-programmable, like the Commodore 64, is simply called hobbyist.

Role-playing game Game in which players assume the roles of characters in a fictional setting

A role-playing game is a game in which players assume the roles of characters in a fictional setting. Players take responsibility for acting out these roles within a narrative, either through literal acting, or through a process of structured decision-making regarding character development. Actions taken within many games succeed or fail according to a formal system of rules and guidelines.

Video game electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface to generate visual feedback on a video device such as a TV screen or computer monitor

A video game is an electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface to generate visual feedback on a two- or three-dimensional video display device such as a TV screen, virtual reality headset or computer monitor. Since the 1980s, video games have become an increasingly important part of the entertainment industry, and whether they are also a form of art is a matter of dispute.




The story is focused around three best friends — Hoston, Alina and Edessot. [4] Hoston's father falls ill and the three friends are left to seek a rare magic herb to cure him. This story later develops into a much larger plot surrounding Pier Solar and the Great Architects.



Development and release

Cover for Sega Dreamcast release (2015). This cover is styled just like a retail PAL Dreamcast game. Pier-solar-hd-dreamcast.jpg
Cover for Sega Dreamcast release (2015). This cover is styled just like a retail PAL Dreamcast game.

Development of the game began on June 8, 2004 as a small project by the community of the website Eidolon's Inn, [5] [6] a community dedicated to homebrew-development for Sega video game consoles. The project was originally intended to be a simple RPG based on the members of the community, and the target platform was the Sega CD. At that time the project was simply called Tavern RPG, a reference to the website's message boards being called "The Tavern".

Sega Japanese video game developer and publisher and subsidiary of Sega Sammy Holdings

Sega Games Co., Ltd. is a Japanese multinational video game developer and publisher headquartered in Tokyo. The company, previously known as Sega Enterprises Ltd. and Sega Corporation, is a subsidiary of Sega Holdings Co., Ltd., which is part of Sega Sammy Holdings. Its international branches, Sega of America and Sega of Europe, are respectively headquartered in Irvine, California and London. Sega's arcade division, once part of Sega Corporation, has existed as Sega Interactive Co., Ltd., also a Sega Holdings subsidiary, since 2015.

A video game console is a computer device that outputs a video signal or visual image to display a video game that one or more people can play.

A role-playing video game is a video game genre where the player controls the actions of a character immersed in some well-defined world. Many role-playing video games have origins in tabletop role-playing games and use much of the same terminology, settings and game mechanics. Other major similarities with pen-and-paper games include developed story-telling and narrative elements, player character development, complexity, as well as replayability and immersion. The electronic medium removes the necessity for a gamemaster and increases combat resolution speed. RPGs have evolved from simple text-based console-window games into visually rich 3D experiences.

As development progressed the original idea was abandoned in favor of a full-fledged fantasy RPG of greater scale. By 2006 the game engine had become sophisticated enough that the creation of actual content could really begin. While most of the Eidolon's Inn community was no longer directly involved, other people joined the team, leading to a core of eight members with additional help from many more. [7]

Game engine Software-development environment designed for building video games

A game engine is a software-development environment designed for people to build video games. Developers use game engines to construct games for consoles, mobile devices, and personal computers. The core functionality typically provided by a game engine includes a rendering engine ("renderer") for 2D or 3D graphics, a physics engine or collision detection, sound, scripting, animation, artificial intelligence, networking, streaming, memory management, threading, localization support, scene graph, and may include video support for cinematics. Implementers often economize on the process of game development by reusing/adapting, in large part, the same game engine to produce different games or to aid in porting games to multiple platforms.

Goals for the game became ever more ambitious, with the development being switched from the Mega-CD, for which CD-ROMs would have been inexpensive to produce, to the Sega Genesis, a system using more expensive cartridge-based storage media. To allow for the transition without having to reduce the amount of game content, it was decided to use a cartridge with 64 megabits of memory, making it technically the "Biggest" game cartridge for the system, while finding a way to utilize the superior sound hardware of the Mega-CD at the same time if the device was present.

CD-ROM pre-pressed compact disc

A CD-ROM is a pre-pressed optical compact disc that contains data. Computers can read—but not write to or erase—CD-ROMs, i.e. it is a type of read-only memory.

Sega Genesis Fourth-generation home video game console and fourth developed by Sega

The Sega Genesis, known as the Mega Drive in regions outside of North America, is a 16-bit home video game console developed and sold by Sega. The Genesis was Sega's third console and the successor to the Master System. Sega released it as the Mega Drive in Japan in 1988, followed by North America as the Genesis in 1989. In 1990, it was distributed as the Mega Drive by Virgin Mastertronic in Europe, Ozisoft in Australasia, and Tec Toy in Brazil. In South Korea, it was distributed by Samsung as the Super Gam*Boy and later the Super Aladdin Boy.

ROM cartridge removable enclosure containing read-only memory devices

A ROM cartridge, usually referred to simply as a cartridge or cart, is a removable memory card containing ROM designed to be connected to a consumer electronics device such as a home computer, video game console and to a lesser extent, electronic musical instruments. ROM cartridges can be used to load software such as video games or other application programs.

The game was announced in a developer's blog with the launch of a website shortly after revealing the game's final title in January 2008. A demo was released later the same year to play on emulators, with pre-orders starting at the same time. A release at Christmas 2008 was announced. The game got considerable media attention for a homebrew title during the following months, with the UK magazine Retro Gamer featuring a two-page article in issue 49 and numerous websites reporting on it. [8] [9] [10] [11]

Emulator system that emulates a real system such that the behavior closely resembles the behavior of the real system

In computing, an emulator is hardware or software that enables one computer system to behave like another computer system. An emulator typically enables the host system to run software or use peripheral devices designed for the guest system. Emulation refers to the ability of a computer program in an electronic device to emulate another program or device. Many printers, for example, are designed to emulate Hewlett-Packard LaserJet printers because so much software is written for HP printers. If a non-HP printer emulates an HP printer, any software written for a real HP printer will also run in the non-HP printer emulation and produce equivalent printing. Since at least the 1990s, many video game enthusiasts have used emulators to play classic arcade games from the 1980s using the games' original 1980s machine code and data, which is interpreted by a current-era system.

<i>Retro Gamer</i> video game magazine

Retro Gamer is a British magazine, published worldwide, covering retro video games. It was the first commercial magazine to be devoted entirely to the subject. Launched in January 2004 as a quarterly publication, Retro Gamer soon became a monthly. In 2005, a general decline in gaming and computer magazine readership led to the closure of its publishers, Live Publishing, and the rights to the magazine were later purchased by Imagine Publishing. It was taken over by Future plc on 21 October 2016, following Future's acquisition of Imagine Publishing.

However this release date was not met, the developers citing the departure of a team member who had contributed essential graphics to the game, and his wish not to have his work used in the final version as the main reason. The delay was announced on November 14, 2008, [12] but no new release date was given. Still media attention remained steady, [13] with Germany's longest running print video game magazine M! Games and UK magazine Games TM reporting.

The game was shipped in December 2010, two years after the originally intended release date. Three different versions of the game have been released: Classic, Posterity and Reprint. The Classic and Posterity editions each have three different language packs, while the Reprint features the three most common European languages: English, French and German. The Japanese language pack originally included Japanese and English languages but the Japanese language was dropped and French and Spanish included due to a lack of volunteers to proofread the Japanese translation.

Even prior to the game's official release date, the game had already sold out through pre-orders. Due to overwhelming demand, WaterMelon decided to produce a second, also limited, run with a so-called "Reprint Edition", which sold out in 12 days. WaterMelon announced the production of additional copies on Thursday, September 15, 2011. The third and final forecast re-print of the Genesis/Mega Drive cartridge was due to be released on March 25, 2014. It had yet to happen, but Watermelon has assured fans they will be ready for late April/early May. However, this release date was not met either. This reprint edition finally started shipping to customers in late February 2015.

Pier Solar HD

On November 5, 2012, the game's developer WaterMelon announced on its Kickstarter page that it was developing the game for Xbox 360, PC, Mac, Linux and Sega Dreamcast. [14] Later in the same month, WaterMelon elaborated their project further, additionally opening an opportunity to make the game available in Japanese, and to release the game on Android platforms, Ouya and Wii U. [15] Early in the following December, the Kickstarter page successfully surpassed the project's minimum donation goal, and assured game's release on Wii U, which had the highest required stretch. [16] On November 15, 2013, it was announced that the Xbox 360 version was currently delayed, and the game will come to both PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 in March 2014. [17] WaterMelon announced their studio's acceptance into Microsoft's Xbox One developer program on December 4, 2013, as well as their intention to publish Pier Solar HD on the console. [18] In February 2014 it was announced that Pier Solar HD had been delayed again and is now expected to be released in Q2 2014. [19] On August 19 it was announced that Pier Solar HD is in certification and will be released as a Cross-Buy title for PS4 and PS3 on September 30 and as of October 2 PS Vita. [20]

The Dreamcast version was the last one to be released on November 27th 2015, the reason for the delay was that unlike the digital releases, the DC version had it to be completely bug tested as it couldn't be patched. [21]

On March 20, 2016, the game's developer WaterMelon announced, through an email conversation, [22] [23] that the PS Vita port of Pier Solar has been cancelled. The reason being that Sony has failed to provide PS Vita Dev Kits, even though the developer posted on their Facebook page on October 2, 2014 [24] of receiving them.


Pier Solar and the Great Architects
Aggregate score
Metacritic PC: 73/100 (4 reviews) [25]
PS4: 69/100 (6 reviews) [26]
Wii U: 62/100 (6 reviews) [27]
Review scores
Game Informer 7/10 [28]
RPGamer2.5/5 [29]
Hardcore Gamer4/5 [30]

Reviews of Pier Solar and the Great Architects were mixed. While its presentation was widely praised, reception to the gameplay was average. Bradly Halestorm of Hardcore Gamer praised the game's use of a "vibrant color palette" and its "strong art direction", calling the game "one hell of a roleplaying experience". [30] Derek Heemsbergen of RPGFan said that the game's graphics, music and atmosphere were "fantastic", but felt that the actual gameplay was too frustrating, noting what he perceived as a "labyrinthine" design in many areas. He also called parts of the game's combat "tedious and repetitive", citing "lengthy" animations and "high difficulty" as reasons. [31] Mike Moehnke of RPGamer concluded that the game was "unlikely to appeal to many people weaned on more recent generations of RPGs", adding that "those with a more retro mindset will find some enjoyment". [29]

The game's soundtrack received widespread acclaim. Derek Heemsbergen of RPGFan called it "catchy" and noted that it helped "[augment] the game's atmosphere". [31] Joe Juba of Game Informer said that the soundtrack helped in achieving an "authentic 16-bit" look, calling it "absolutely fantastic". [28] Bradly Halestorm of Hardcore Gamer called it "a triumph" and added that it managed to "convey strong emotions" with "beautifully arranged" compositions. [30]

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