The King Arthur’s legend has always inspired films, cartoons, and lately many video games, and many of these with turn-based mechanics, think of Sword Legacy, Tainted Grail, the “last one released” Pendragon rather than the title of Croteam, The Hand of Merlin, currently in development. Each of them showed us the story of King Arthur from different perspectives and various protagonists and antagonists.
And today, I am with the guys from NeocoreGames (Warhammer Inquisitor, King Arthur – The Role-playing Wargame, The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing, and more) who like a bolt from the blue announced King Arthur: Knight’s Tale, a new tactical RPG with a very very dark twist on the Arthurian Legend and currently with an ongoing Kickstarter campaign.
Hi guys, I am very happy with this opportunity to interview you, and thank you for your availability. Let’s start with our 10 turns interview.
1. How would you define King Arthur: The Knight’s Tale in a nutshell?
Hey Marcello and everyone, and thanks for the opportunity, really happy and excited to talk about our next game! So, to sum things up in a nutshell, this game will be a bit different than our previous titles – which were ARPGs – and hopefully, it’ll be a cool and different experience, especially for the fans of the turn-based genre.
What makes King Arthur: Knight’s Tale special, is that it’s a role-playing tactical game, spiced up with cool rogue-lite elements and kingdom management, all set in a really dark, twisted version of the Arthurian legend. So even those familiar with the myth will find out right at the beginning that everything is turned upside down. We plan to combine all these things – and a production quality bar set really high – to make something unique, something special within this genre.
2. In a way, you have a strong connection to the world of King Arthur as this is your fourth title (if we also consider the stand-alone Fallen Champions) set in the lands of Avalon. Is there any reason in particular?
After deciding that we’d like to make a tactical game, that also focuses on heroes and set in a dark fantasy world, we almost immediately jumped to the Arthurian mythology. The world that we have created back then in the previous King Arthur games has always been close to our hearts, and we’ve felt a strong desire to return to it at one point for another story – as we played around with ideas within our little Van Helsing universe too. But we finally picked King Arthur, since it works better with this milieu and with the gameplay concepts.
We liked the world and what we created there and also liked the approach of a world of living legends – fantasy which draws on ideas from our own real tales and legends and based on them, but also merges them together into something new and unique.
3. Your Steam page is very detailed in terms of the key features of the game, but one of the things that intrigue me the most is the importance of the scouts. So will there be the Xcom-style fog of war? Can you explain the mechanics of a battle?
That’s good to hear that you find our Steam page detailed, thanks! Joking aside, scouting will be very important to explore hidden enemies or traps. On our battle maps, although we have fog of war, we’re running around in real-time, finding treasure or hidden map fragments. So it’s not really about precisely scouting the enemy. When we meet some enemy forces though, the game moves into turn-based mode.
We have some fog of war here in this mode as well, but players will see most of the lurking danger – except if they’re hiding really well, of if they’re traps. For these hiding bastards, it’ll be recommended to use someone with above-average scouting skills to explore things before going all-in. Regarding basic mechanics, everyone will use action points for movement, or for using abilities, in a turn-based system. Using the terrain for our own advantage (using covers for instance) and effectively assembling our team will be the most important factors to win a battle comfortably.
4. Could you please tell us something more about the heroes and their classes? Do they also come from the lore of King Arthur?
Almost all the favorite and known characters from the Arthurian legend will be here, not just the Knights of the Round Table. And your heroes will come from various backgrounds, so finding and unlocking them will be a cool part of the campaign. Your main hero will be Sir Mordred, who’s typically the arch-nemesis of King Arthur, and he’ll be a bit stronger than the others. Not just his stats will be buffed, but he – and other important heroes – will have unique abilities as well besides their class abilities. By the way, overall we’ll have more than 30 heroes, coming from 5 different classes.
The class names can change, so I’d rather not spoil them right now, but we’ll have strong tanky heroes, fast and agile damage dealers, ranged heroes, or arcane spellcasters. All with unique skill trees, with multiple branches and abilities on them.
5. In addition to the combat phase, I read that Camelot will have to be put back on its feet. How does this part of the game work?
Camelot will be, let’s just say, in rather bad shape when we start the story campaign. You’ll be able to access Camelot on the Adventure Map, where all our points of interest are, and as we move forward with the story, we’ll have to rebuild Camelot and shape it in a way that it’d reflect our story-decisions. We’ll be able to do all this between battles/story missions. Overall, our job will be to build new buildings, upgrade them, and find a use for all the bonuses they grant. These bonuses can affect our heroes, help them regenerate faster, gain them special boosts, and so on.
6. Calibrating the difficulty level of a video game is one of the hardest things. How do you manage this aspect? Will there be different difficulty levels to choose from?
In the current build, we have several difficulty modes, but these things can change till the release. They already did a few times, it’s not set in stone right now. This will be one of those things, where we’ll involve the community and their feedback during the beta. One thing is sure: regardless of how experienced of a player you are, we aim to make the game challenging but also rewarding at the same time.
If Sir Mordred, your main hero dies it’s game over, you won’t be able to reload. So yeah there will be permadeath, death will always be final and you have to make really careful decisions and even plan ahead to survive. And fundamentally, we design the game in a way, that an easier mode means nerfed rogue-lite elements, and not necessarily easier battles. During battles, even if you have a nicely geared group, you still have to use team-work to successfully defeat everyone and it won’t work without proper synergies. We also want to add a really challenging endgame phase, where the question won’t be “is it tough?”, but rather “how many runs do i need to do to complete it?”. But we’ll see how tests go and finally which part of the game’s going to be the toughest.
7. Let’s talk about game modes, there will be any multiplayer or co-op beside the single player campaign?
We’re planning to add a PvP mode with leaderboards.
8. Will there be modding possibilities?
That’s something that’d be cool to add for sure, but we’re still discussing it in-house whether to add some sort of modding or not, and if so, how.
9. What do you think about Turn-Based Tactics RPG in general? There’s still room for improvement?
There’s always room for improvement and I think even last year we saw some amazing games, experimenting with really cool mechanics. For us, combining turn-based tactical gameplay with RPG elements wasn’t the most challenging part, but rather finding the proper mix between the rogue-lite mechanics and the story-based campaign elements. And that’s where the above-mentioned endgame phase comes in and might be a cool solution.
10. The release is scheduled for Q1 2021 on PC, and later on PS5 and XSX, and there are rumors of a playable build soon, does this mean that development is already well underway?
That’s right, we have been working on this game for a while now and we didn’t want to announce it and launch the Kickstarter campaign before it was in good shape. If I remember correctly, the first concepts of the game were being completed at around Spring 2019, the first prototype build got ready by Summer, and by Fall we had the general atmosphere and the mood set in stone. Currently, the game’s in pre-alpha, which could mean a lot of things of course, but for us here at Neocore it usually means that huge design changes probably won’t happen, only maybe medium ones, we already have a pretty good amount of assets ready, and overall we can clearly see what kind of game we’re making.
Bonus question: What’s your favorite turn-based game of the last period?
Oh boy, so many titles to choose from! Felt like this genre was on fire last year. I personally loved that recently many cRPGs added turn-based modes to their games (such as Pillars 2, Pathfinder: Kingmaker), and Disco Elysium was a superb surprise as well. And of course Baldur’s Gate 3, but it’s still a fresh experience. Strictly focusing on turn-based games, Othercide and XCOM Chimera Squad were nice ones lately.
Thank you very much guys for your time. To be updated about King Arthur: Knight’s Tale development i remind you to check out the Kickstarter page and the Steam page, while below the announcement trailer.