Battle Chasers is Officially, For Really Real Coming Back as a Game, But Only if You Help Fund It
Earlier this year, Joe Madureira hinted at the possibility of Battle Chasers, his creator-owned series, returning in some form. After leaving comics for a time to focus on game development, and then releasing two games with Vigil Games and THQ, it seems the time is now right for Gully, Garrison, Calibretto and the rest of the gang to make their comeback. Battle Chasers: Nightwar will see Joe Mad return to the series and characters for the first time in almost 15 years, but this time the franchise is stepping into a new arena --- video games.
Using Kickstarter to fund the development for PC and Mac (other platforms will follow if stretch goals are met), Airship Syndicate is bringing the fan-favorite comic to life as a JRPG. If you're at all familiar with Battle Chasers, you know just how perfect a fit the world of that series is for a role-playing game steeped in the traditions of Squaresoft and Enix, but with a modern twist. That means there'll be loads of turn-based battles, mana and dungeon crawling to go around, but the dungeons will be generated randomly and have a bit of that Diablo flare.
You can see a decent amount of early gameplay in the video above, including some nice looks at the combat in action. The party system will carry three members, each with their own special abilities and gear. More skills will be unlocked as you level up, allowing you to tailor the fighters to your liking. Characters will have two different mana pools to use, with one (blue) being resigned to core attacks and one (red) for special moves. These heroes will also react differently to the red mana, with some like Garrison getting boosted and others like Knolan being slightly penalized.
Airship is also including a variation on the initiative system, which will see buffs and debuffs included at random intervals. If a character attacks or defends during one of these moments, the action will activate. You'll be able to see where and when these slots are coming in the order, so you can plan around them, for better or worse. Additionally, dungeon exploration will play a large role, and there will be pitfalls and traps to avoid alongside the enemy encounters. Playable characters will have specialized skills for traversing these dangerous halls, which will come in handy considering dying in a dungeon will lead to a loss of your items. There's a lot more to Battle Chasers: Nightwar, including a story that flows alongside the comic series itself, and animated story sequences for major points in the narrative, but details on those aspects are a bit light at the moment.
The game itself looks terrific, as it's probably the closest approximation of Joe Madureira's art in 3D form that we've ever seen. While Darksiders did offer a Joe Mad-inspired look, the painterly style of Nightwar has more in common with Battle Chasers' comic book roots. That presentation also gives Nightwar a bit of a Bastion-y vibe, right down to the isometric camera for dungeon exploration. I'd like to see the game in actual action rather than select moments in a demo reel, but should the funding happen, I'm sure we'll see plenty of gameplay between now and the estimated release date of December 2016.
The Battle Chasers: Nightwar Kickstarter is looking for $500,000 to be funded, and currently sits at just about $150,000. Reward tiers include digital versions of the game and the comics, but higher tiers do offer exclusive art from Joe Mad himself, as well as the chance to have slight input into Nightwar itself. There's a lot of history in the JRPG genre, so it will be tough sledding for Battle Chasers: Nightwar to stand out, but given the creative leads' experience with Darksiders, there's a good chance Nightwar will be able to deliver.