I stopped by the Double Fine booth this morning to check out their title Massive Chalice and was lucky enough to catch up with Brad Muir, the development lead, and get a description of the game from the man himself.
Massive Chalice is, on the surface, a tactical RPG but it’s a lot more than that. If you’re looking for a quick and dirty comparison, I’d point you to the newest installments of X-COM. The combat felt pretty similar, but that’s really where the comparisons end. The most interesting bits of Massive Chalice come in the preparation that players make before even entering combat.
To rewind a second and give you a quick overview, players will assume the role of a controlling entity trying to guide a civilization through a lengthy 350 year war with evil forces known as the Cadence. But what makes this so interesting is that the game will actually take place over many many years, and several of the best features revolve around this unique approach to the timeline. Regents can be assigned to keeps, and when given partners will produce children. These children will grow into warriors of their own, carrying the physical and mental traits of their parents, fundamentally making “hybrid” classes. You can, apparently (though I did not see it first hand), assign regents and partners of the same gender together and they will essentially “adopt” a child, instilling them with their mental traits but not their physical ones. That’s an awesome attention to detail.
That’s actually how I would describe Massive Chalice in a single phrase:”Awesome attention to detail”.
Everything the players do makes sense. Defeat enough of these crazy monster and you’ll eventually be able to research how to emulate their attacks, or perhaps you’ll spend years and research fundamental improvements to weapons you already have. Send children to battle school, and their mental traits may rub off on each other. We even had the opportunity to send one of our heroes on a quest to rescue her uncle, who then in addition to joining my ranks himself, taught her how to use his unique skills.
In addition to this, as a regent’s blood line carries down through the years, the weapons of dead ancestors can be used by their subsequent children. In this fashion “family relics” are weapons that are not only uniquely powerful, but gain experience just as heroes would, becoming truly mighty if a bloodline carries on for a numerous generations.
Now I’m a huge fan of tactical RPGs to begin with, but all of this has gotten me really interested. Massive Chalice is definitely the best strategy game I’ve seen at the show so far. It’s certainly the most unique. We’ll be keeping close tabs on this one. Massive Chalice does not currently have a release date but it’s targeting late 2014.