For the past few days, Osamu Tezuka fans have been patiently waiting to see what secret reveal lied at the conclusion of a countdown site teasing what appeared to be a mash-up game featuring a number of Tezuka's creations. With nothing but silhouettes of more recognizable characters like Astro Boy and Black Jack, a list of mangaka and game creators contributing, and the idea to "Trust the Ministry," there wasn't a lot to go on.

Today, all the truths have been outed, and Project Atom unveiled the Kickstarter campaign for Astro Boy: Edge of Time, a new digital collectible card game that takes place in one world wherein all the Tezuka characters live. There's just one problem; Astro Boy's gone missing.

Developed by Project Atom, a division within Active Gaming Media, Astro Boy: Edge of Time is being made with the blessing and oversight of Tezuka Productions' Macoto Tezuka. The Kickstarter is only asking for $50,000, which sounds quite low for a game on virtually any scale, let alone one with creators like Hiroya Oku, Satoshi Yoshioka, Suda51, and Akira Yamaoka contributing. According to the page, the funds are required to help finish the art for the game. However the official release claims the funds are being used to complete development. The Kickstarter goal doesn't offer a tremendous amount of runway for a project of this scale, but if all the team needs is $50,000, more power to them.


Epsilon by Chu Yi-Cheng


There is a demo available already, though it's only for PC at the moment. Astro Boy is planned for a PC and mobile release to start, with stretch goals to be implemented for console ports. Those aren't actually on the Kickstarter page at the moment, but the PR for Edge of Time indicates those platforms are a possibility if enough support is offered.

Now you're probably wondering, how do all these Tezuka characters come together? Well, as it turns out, a mysterious force rips all of time and space apart, with a select group of survivors finding a home on The Sprawl. This station exists outside of time and space, and allows characters like Epsilon and Magma to exist in the same world as Astro Boy and Phoenix. Things take a turn for the worse when the demon Goa attacks, leaving many of the heroes weakened, and then it's up to the player character to aid them in their quest to save the Sprawl from Goa's influence.

Unlike some current CCGs, which rely almost exclusively on multiplayer, Edge of Time is promising a deep story mode as players explore the world and encounter new characters. While multiplayer will play an important role in the longevity of Edge of Time, it is nice to see a mode available for players more interested in merely playing along with Tezuka's creations than to have to worry about being the best there ever was against the rest of the world. For what it's worth, the mechanics don't look too complicated, but also offer enough variation from some competitors to make Edge of Time stand out a bit.


Dr. Ochanomizu by Satoshi Yoshioka (Snatcher, Policenauts)


Currently, aside from being based on the works of Tezuka, the big draw is all the new designs from current mangaka and game creators. Some designs, like Dr. Ochanomizu, don't stray too far from the character's roots. Others, like Magma, put a very modern spin on the classic designs. It's a bit of a treat getting to see all these new incarnations of Tezuka's designs, though you do have to wonder just how a game based solely on his original works would have looked.

You can get a look at more of the art and the cards in the game below, as well as a quick look at the user interface. The Kickstarter will conclude on Sept. 21, so you have some time to try out the demo to see if Astro Boy: Edge or Tomorrow is worth investing in.


Magma by Hiroya Oku (Gantz)
Project Atom