How Chucklefish Designed Wargroove's Factions

Published: January 31, 2019 12:00 PM /



In Wargroove, four different factions become embroiled in a conflict that could threaten their world as they know it. These factions are at the heart of Wargroove. While most of their differences are purely cosmetic, what sets them apart are their unique Commanders and their "Groove" abilities. We interviewed Finn “Tiy” Brice, founder of Chucklefish and Game Designer for Wargroove, and discussed the factions of Wargroove. 

Faction Design

While the units of each faction function the same way, it was important for Chucklefish to differentiate each one from each other for a unique experience. "With the different Wargroove factions," said Tiy, "we knew we wanted to really set them apart from each other, it was important that each faction had its own identity, aesthetic and personality."

The Cherrystone Kingdom is very much your typical Medieval Europe-style faction.

Wargroove's setting is within a colorful pixelated fantasy world, but even still, the team at Chucklefish were inspired by various cultures in the real world. They looked at Anglo-Saxon, Scandinavian, Eastern and Roman culture. Then, they combined these influences with "various fun fantasy tropes," according to Tiy.

These cultures are quite evident in the game itself. The Felheim kingdom sounds especially Scandinavian. Geographically located in a cold, bitter environment, Felheim comprises mostly skeletons with horned helmets and skulls adorning their armor. Meanwhile, the Heavensong feature Samurai-like armor and even having units named from Japanese folklore: the Tengu, Oni, and Ryuu for example.

The Floran, however, are a little different. You might recognize them from Chuklefish's previous game, Starbound. These plant-like humanoids are more primitive and use weapons made of more rudimentary material like bone. Tiy explained this inclusion:

The Floran came into the picture when the inevitable question of Elves came up. We decided we wanted to do something a little different and the savage Floran from our first game, Starbound, were a perfect fit!
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Watch as a pack of Cherrystone dogs take out this savage Floran.

During Wargroove's development, there were plenty of other concepts conceived yet inevitably scrapped. "Early on in the development," said Tiy, "we generated a huge number of ideas! Often these are cut or developed further until they become something entirely new." While he did not explain any factions that didn't make the cut, Tiy said we could still see more in the future in possible game updates. It's not set in stone, but there's always room for more.

Faction Leaders

The second way that factions are different is through Commanders. There are three Commanders for each faction, and these powerful units can seriously change up how you approach each mission. When a player boots up local or online play, they will have to consider which Commander to choose.

"...we wanted to ensure that each Commander filled a unique niche that players could get to grips with quickly." Commanders are extremely powerful and can go toe-to-toe with any unit on the battlefield and do some significant damage, but they aren't wrecking balls. That's where the Groove comes in. Tiy said:

Grooves are built up over the course of play by attacking and defeating units with your Commander. Each of the game's Commanders has an entirely unique Groove that can be unleashed once their meter reaches 100%. These Grooves range from raising skeletons from the dead (Valder) to sending out explosive ‘sparrow bombs’ (Koji). Often Grooves are so powerful that players will want to build them into their strategy.
Factions themselves do not have weaknesses or strengths, but rather it's the Commanders that will influence how the player goes about the battle. Some Commanders are best used as defensive support for your troops over purely offensive powerhouses.

Greenfinger versus Emeric should make for an interesting battle.

Chucklefish worked to make sure that each and every Commander is as viable as any other, although some "require a deeper understanding of the game than others," according to Tiy.

"In general, the Cherrystone faction is a good place for new players, with relatively simple, but powerful Grooves." Cherrystone's three commanders are Mercia, Emeric, and Caesar the dog (and the best boy).

Mercia has a large area-of-effect heal that is essential in creating a sustaining assault on the enemy. Emeric's defensive Elder Shield deploys an AoE, protective area that is useful for holding a position or allowing for successful retreats. Meanwhile, Caesar has a "second wind" ability called Inspire which allows units in the area to move and attack for a second turn.

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You'll definitely want to avoid (or possibly use) Sigrid's devastating health drain.

"Whilst the Heavensong Empire rewards advanced players with fairly complex creative play," said Tiy. "There are exceptions to these rules, however!" Positioning is key with this faction. Tenri's Rising Wind Groove can move any unit (except commanders) to a designated spot. Truly, it can mean the difference between a win or loss in competitive play.

"We’re excited to see how the community squeezes the most out of the Commanders and their unique playstyles," said Tiy.

Tiy's favorite thing about the factions is the range of personalities evident in each one. "I can't wait to see who the players like most!" said Tiy.

If you want to read our thoughts on Wargroove, check out the review here.

Which faction is your favorite? What commander do you want to try out first? Let us know in the comments below!

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| Staff Writer

Austin cut his teeth writing various  fan-fiction stories on the RuneScape forums when he was in elementary school. Later on, he developed a deep love for… More about Austin

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Learn more about Wargroove
Game Page Wargroove
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February 1, 2019 (Calendar)
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