Earlier than revitalizing Disciples, Kalypso Media needed a developer ideally suited to tackling the area of interest turn-based RPG sequence.
Seems writer Kalypso Media’s plan all alongside was to return to the Disciples franchise, which is being revived after over a decade with Disciples: Liberation. Liberation was introduced out of nowhere, with Kalypso Media and developer Frima Studio dropping an exceptionally dark announcement trailer for the upcoming tactical RPG.
“We all the time knew we needed to proceed the franchise and we now have been ideating on the subsequent sport within the franchise for a few years,” Kalypso Media proprietor and managing director Simon Hellwig instructed me. “We additionally took our time discovering the suitable developer and located the best match with Frima Studio.”
Disciples: Sacred Lands did not seize an excessive amount of of an viewers; if Wayback Machine will be trusted, GameSpot awarded the primary Disciples the “Greatest Sport No One Performed” award again when it got here out in 1999. Its follow-up, 2002’s Disciples II: Dark Prophecy, is much more well-liked, whereas 2009’s Disciples III: Renaissance (which marked developer Technique First’s departure from the franchise) didn’t obtain as optimistic evaluations as the primary two video games did.
Kalypso Media has since been on the hunt for a developer that would modernize Disciples to enchantment to a crowd of present RPG followers whereas nonetheless honoring the core conceit that allowed the unique video games to face out again within the day: constructing armies and shaping the world round you thru turn-based tactical wars.
“We needed to revive it, and modernize it a bit in fact, however we additionally needed to remain true to the model identification,” Frima Studio artistic director Jordane Thiboust instructed me. “So we performed the earlier video games, learn tons of lore and fan theories. We even checked out cosplay that was carried out by followers up to now. It’s like unearthing some forgotten treasure and each time you discover one thing, it sparks new concepts. Disciples is area of interest certainly, nevertheless it was additionally enormously appreciated by the followers on the time, so our purpose was clear: How will we revive it, whereas making it extra well-liked than earlier than?”
Frima Studio believes storytelling is the place new additions can modernize this sequence. The Disciples franchise has all the time had a lore–the video games happen in Nevendaar, a darkish fantasy setting dominated by warring kingdoms, every of which has an extended historical past. However the video games have by no means actually had a standard story-driven marketing campaign. You are recruiting armies of followers, which is much more characters to juggle than what’s normally in story-driven RPGs.
So for Liberation, Frima Studios did pull inspiration from extra conventional RPGs, together with iconic characters with private tales and a consequence-driven dialogue system, however the developer embraced Disciples tactical roots for the story too. For instance, you’ll be able to select to ally your self with whomever you need, and that can impression your story. “The participant can nonetheless focus solely on one faction if they need and the ending of the sport will work accordingly,” Thiboust stated.
He continued: “We wrote a narrative not solely about [protagonist] Avyanna, not solely about her companions, however about Nevendaar itself. The marketing campaign is round 80 hours lengthy for completionists, and throughout that complete story, lots will occur. And whilst you discover the entire of Nevendaar, you’ll rise from low life mercenary, to one thing fairly actually, world altering. How the world will change although, is up so that you can resolve.”
As a last word, I did ask whether or not Liberation’s story can be as grotesque and darkish because the announcement trailer made it out to be. “Sure, the tone of the sport could be very darkish for certain, it’s positively M-Rated,” Thiboust stated. “That doesn’t imply we now have very graphic scenes on display screen, however the themes, the conditions, the feelings we play with, will be significantly darkish. That being stated, it isn’t all gloom and doom both. There may be some humor too. One among Avyanna’s companions particularly has very cynical and darkish humor.”
Disciples: Liberation would be the first sport within the sequence to launch for consoles, launching for Xbox Collection X|S, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC in This fall 2021. Hellwig stated that folk might be “stunned by how effectively [Liberation] performs with a gamepad” and Thiboust assured me that the sport might be “very welcoming” to newcomers.