Earlier this month, we covered Moscow-based developer AurumDust and its newly announced turn-based RPG, Ash of Gods: Redemption, which had taken to Steam Greenlight. Now, the game is back — and apparently has dropped “Redemption” out of its title — and on Kickstarter seeking $75,000 USD.
As we previously covered, Ash of Gods is said to be a mixture between a turn-based RPG and a roguelike visual novel, a combination that very quickly got my attention. Then I read the games inspirations: Banner Saga, Japanese visual novels, and The Darkest Dungeon, and I was even more interested. Then I saw the game’s visuals — which look very similar to the aforementioned Banner Saga — and I was almost ready to throw money at the screen (note: I’m not backing the Kickstarter nor do I have any attention to).
In development for PC, Mac, Linux, Xbox One, PS4, and mobile devices, Ash of Gods is targeting a release window of Q4 2017. It notably boasts a 14 hours singleplayer told across three storylines, as well as PvP and PvE content.
Another big part of the game — at least a big selling point — is the roguelike storytelling. According to the developer, the choices you makes, the paths you take and the battles you fight inevitably affect the story and the world around you. You travel around with a team that is said to have limited resources, that will partially play a part in many tough choices throughout your journey. In the game you can lose major characters, even the party leader, but this doesn’t result in game over, which means you will have to be cautious with every decision you make, but if you make the wrong one you aren’t wildly punished.
You can read more about the game’s story and combat below:
A thousand years before the events of this game, the world was struck by an enormous meteorite. This unparalleled cataclysm set civilization back several centuries. The only glimmer of hope for the handful of survivors was the appearance of the menhirs — huge stones that were scattered across the blighted landscape. These wondrous boulders had the power to heal and help the needy, and it should therefore not come as a surprise that people soon began to worship the menhirs, thereby ushering in the birth of a new religion. It was then that the heralds appeared, strange messengers who tried to convince the leaders of men to leave the menhirs in peace. But humanity spurned the heralds’ plea and there came forth in their place monstrous beings known as reapers, who demanded bloody sacrifices and inflicted untold torments upon the woe-begone people as they left a path of annihilation in their wake. And yet, just as it seemed that humanity’s days were numbered, the monsters mysteriously vanished.
A hundred and fifty years later, the reapers reappeared at the head of a horde of northern Kingdoms and destroyed everything in their path. But the heralds also returned, and they managed to persuade the warring kings of the south to unite in the struggle against their common foe. It was the heralds who headed the forces of free people in a decisive battle from which neither side would emerge victorious. The heroes of the south perished, but not before driving out the reapers. Hundreds of years went by, during which nobody saw the reapers again.
The world has known seven hundred years of peace. But that peace is about to come to an end. The Feast of the Spring Equinox is in full swing, when the bell in the town hall suddenly begins to ring. Captain Thorn Brenin, the bodyguard Lo Pheng, the scribe Hopper Rouley, and many others, do not know yet that the reapers have returned and intend to drown the entire world in blood so that they may awaken the sleeping gods.
- Unpredictability. With the right approach, cards and units, inevitable defeat can easily turn into glorious victory. The closer you get to the battle finale, the more the adrenaline and unpredictability kick in. We want you to experience real emotions, not just stare at the battlefield with the calm look of a chess player finishing off an adversary who’s actually already lost the game.
- Responsiveness. The player has all the necessary information at his disposal to make decisions, but thanks to the timer, you’ll also be fighting against the clock, so there’s no long waiting for your opponent to make their move.
- Satisfying gameplay. Even if you’re losing, you’ll still be having plenty of fun. Thanks to the cards which enable you to make unexpected moves, you can corner your opponent and even cause him to break out in a cold sweat.
- Replay value. Even if you have the same heroes in your team, each tournament will develop in its own unique way, time after time.
- Only your adversary’s moves should come as a surprise. The game is entirely devoid of any element of chance such as dice throwing. When you launch an attack or put one of your skills to use, you know exactly what the effect will be.
- Everything comes at a price! Many skills use up HP instead of the more traditional MP. For instance, an archer can kill his enemy with one shot, but he will lose a substantial portion of his health and become extremely vulnerable in the process. You decide with every move if now is the time to take a risk and get rid of another enemy character, even though this may come at the expense of your own character’s health.
- HP and MP are equally important. Any of a character’s resources can be damaged, and if you attack the MP, the character could lose one of his abilities. What’s more, if a character doesn’t have any MP left, any damage he suffers will cause him to lose double the usual amount of HP! This forces you to keep an eye on both HP and MP, but also provides you with additional tactical opportunities.
- Tactics and bluffing. At the beginning of a fight you will receive five cards with different amounts of power, and their effect can turn the outcome of a battle. Each card has its own power that may only be used in a specific round of the battle. Some cards act in a straightforward manner, such as healing an ally or inflicting damage on an adversary. But others work in more complicated ways. One can, for instance, sacrifice one of your team members for the sake of improving the strength of all the others. In battle you always need to plan on two different levels — tactically, with units on the battlefield, and strategically, based on the cards you’ve been dealt. It’s like a game of chess mixed with poker bluffing.
- А small team needn’t mean a weak one. Opponents take turns to making moves, either performing some action with a character or using one of their cards. After all of a team’s characters have made their moves, a new round begins for that team. This works to the advantage of small teams, as they will begin a new round sooner, which gives them the opportunity to use their strongest cards before their opponents can do so.
According to AurumDust, with its own savings for the project, it has enough to finish about 75% of the game envisioned. The remaining 25% is why it has taken to Kickstarter. If it can’t hit its funding goal, there will have to be a significant cut on certain content.
The following “Intro” video accompanied the launch of the Kickstarter, which you can check out here, if you want to learn more about the game or back it.