Not too far off the beaten path from the main walkways of PAX East, right near the PAX Merchandise booth, we caught a glimpse of a rather unique RPG. What we found was the Western-themed indie RPG Boot Hill Heroes, developed by Experimental Gamer. While we did not interview the developer, we did get some gameplay footage for you to see here.
Boot Hill Heroes takes place in Bronco County which is on the brink of chaos. An attack by the Chepakwik Indians stirs up activity to the land, but the game's hero, Kid, knows the truth. In the end, it is up to him and his three companions to bring a stop to the Saints-Little gang and save Bronco County. However, as they go about saving the land, they might discover something even darker behind the scenes.
The game appears to follow the design of Earthbound, although Experimental Gamer states that it also takes some details from Final Fantasy and Chrono Trigger. In my time playing the demo, though, I felt it was almost entirely Earthbound-focused. Perhaps further in the game those influences will be more effectively seen. Regardless, the game played very similarly to Earthbound in my experience, although it has little additions that make it fit the Western aesthetic more effectively. For example, in battles the enemies appear as though they are cutouts and react as though you are shooting them like targets in a shooting range. These small effects really help establish the theme onto a familiar retro RPG system.
As a note, what might not be immediately noticeable is that the game supports four player cooperative play. Players can drop-in and drop-out from playing particular characters, and they can also independently change their inventory and use items in the game. I did not get to try this out at the demo, but I think it is a neat addition, to be sure.
Boot Hill Heroes is expected for release this year for PC and Xbox Live Indie Games.