Austin-based independent games studio Dead Mage has announced their upcoming project, Tale of Ronin. The game follows the life of a Ronin, a wandering samurai, and will focus on player freedom in a dynamic and reactive world. The RPG aims to show a more human side to the samurai and will encourage players to live with their choices in a story that focus’ on themes such as camaraderie, betrayal, and honor. The announcement trailer for the game, below, shows the striking Sumi-e (traditional Japanese art) style that gives the 2D RPG a distinctive visual identity.
Developer Dead Mage say the game will feature a ‘simultaneous turn-based combat system’ with detailed Katana sword-play. In a previously released developer blog, they described one of the pillars of the game as “proper attention to the details of samurai combat.” It’s not one hundred percent clear how exactly Tale of Ronin’s simultaneous turn-based combat works at this stage but with the developer also stating their intent to show how the Ronin’s emotions impact both their journey and their battles, it could have the makings of an intriguing system. Also of note is the game’s ‘Sekai’ mechanic. When a Ronin dies, the world lives on. Each player death will see them reborn as a new wanderer in the same world.
As you might expect from the visual style and feudal Japanese setting, Tale of Ronin takes a great deal of inspiration from classic samurai movies like Akira Kurasawa’s Yojimbo. This is more than a nod to a visual style though, Dead Mage also want to convey the thematic sense of freedom that such tales of ronin evoke. Speaking about the foundations upon which their game is based, the developer commented, “The game world needs to support exploring and adventuring and the player needs to feel free to chose his own destiny.”
The Austin-based indie studio elaborated further in the same blog post about another aspect of their game, the other characters you’ll meet along the way,
Teaming up with other Ronin and going on missions together is another important aspect and for this, interacting with other believable Ronin is another main pillar. Focusing on the human aspect, emotions and camaraderie bonds. Letting the other computer controlled characters have their unique characters.
The latest screenshots for the game show the high level of artistic talent that has gone into the minimal brush-stroke style, seen next to concept art on the game’s official website the two are almost indistinguishable. There is no release window for the game at this time but Dead Mage plans to bring their samurai RPG to PC, Mac, Linux, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 once complete.