Today, Finland-based developer Dreamloop Games’ tactical RPG, Challengers of Khalea, went live on Square Enix Collective.
As mentioned above, Challengers of Khalea is a tactical RPG, but it also has deep management elements. The developer likens the game to The Banner Saga meets Football Manager, XCOM meets Pillars of Eternity, and Baldur’s Gate meets Blood Bowl. Here’s an official overview:
In the magical land of Khalea, heroes are in no short supply. Alas, there is a woeful shortage of dragons to slay, or princesses to rescue. Thus, the heroes of Khalea find their adventures on the fields of Arenas across the land, in battles waged for the spectacle of common folk and nobles alike. Those hungry for adventure sell their swords on the open market, joining promising teams in exchange for a chance at coin and fame. Tides of townsfolk flock to the Arenas to free themselves from the drudgery of the mundane, and to watch their favorite teams of fearless fighters pit themselves against one another in epic battles for glory, riches, and the hearts of legions of fans.
Beyond the arena walls toils another class of hero, busy banging dents from armor, mending bruises and broken bones, or teaching and training the newest recruits. These often forgotten heroes are the backbone of every team. Fighters move on, and contracts expire but these hardworking individuals remain, paving the path to glory for their warriors.
And here’s a breakdown of its story and gameplay:
Challengers of Khalea is the tale of a band of misfits – near strangers, brought together by chance to manage a team of Arena fighters and fight their way to the Khalean Cup in the storybook-esque realm of Khalea. You are the team’s manager, a young Perkerian, thrust into the world of Arena Fighting by the drunken mischief of your reckless best friend, Jade. Together, you and your staff travel the realm of Khalea on the challenger’s circuit, getting to know them and their stories as you lead your team to the Championship! As you explore the realm, you will encounter fantastic locations, intriguing characters, and exciting events in the Terry Pratchett-esque world of Khalea.
Negotiate Warrior Contracts
Arena Fighters in Khalea sell their skills with arms on the open market. As a team manager you must negotiate contracts for warriors. The reputation of your team, the skill of your staff, the length of your offered contract, and of course the amount of coin on the table all factor into the attractiveness of your offer.
Manage Your Team
As you roam the realm of Khalea, you will manage the staff of your team. You’ll instruct them to train your warriors, take care of their equipment, tend to their physical condition, and outfit them for battle. As the game progresses, you will get to know your staff on a personal level; each has their own unique personality and ambitions, and will develop as characters based on how you interact with them.
Train Your Warriors
Assign each of your warriors a class, providing them a selection of unique abilities to tailor a team fit for any possible scenario. No two warriors will be identical – customizing from a wide range of class abilities means you can fine tune to create your own style.
Agile fighters clad in light armor, Flankers are opportunists that are not above attacking enemies from behind or using poison.
Specializing in breaking enemy ranks and countering their blows, Brawlers are always found in the front lines of every battle.
Hulking masses of heavy armor and often wielding a shield, Wardens specialize in protecting the more vulnerable members of your team.
The epitome of travelling knights in shiny armor, Lancers are experts of area control, utilizing their superior reach with brutal efficiency.
Swift as the wind, yet deadly in equal measure, Rangers rely on mobility and range to outmaneuver their opponents.
Capable of taking down weaker opponents with a single, well-placed bolt from their massive crossbows, Arbalests are the undisputed masters of long-range combat.
Both mysterious and revered, Alchemists are capable of unleashing arcane concoctions from their cauldrons, both to aid their allies and hinder their foes.
Enter The Arena
When your team is trained and outfitted, you will guide them in combat in the Arenas of Khalea. Put your tactical expertise to the test in turn-based Arena matches – fight for glory and the gold needed to sustain your fledgling team on your path to becoming champions. Challengers of Khalea’s turn-based arena combat will be the culmination point of your careful planning and cunningly crafted strategies.
Explore the Realm of Khalea
Your adventures will find you spirited across the storybook realm of Khalea – a charming magical land, home to fantastic creatures all bound by mutual love for the exciting combat sport of Arena fighting. Through the tale woven into the fabric of Challengers of Khalea, you will uncover a fabled world of wonder, and perhaps even shape its future forever…
As you may have noticed the game is being published by Square Enix Collective. For those that don’t know: Square Enix Collective is a curated platform that has been created to act as a service provider to independent developers, either through helping build a community, helping to raise funds via Kickstarter, or with support for releasing games.
Developers who work with SEC always retain the IP and creative control. Every week SEC posts a new pitch to its website from a developer somewhere around the world. Beyond eyeballs and support, these teams are said to be looking for feedback on what works, what doesn’t, and whether the game should pursue a Kickstarter. SEC specifically uses the feedback and votes as a guide to which projects it wants to support.
Challengers of Khalea is currently in development for PC, Mac, Linux, Xbox One, and PS4. At the moment, it doesn’t have a release date, but it does have a new trailer to accompany its launch on Square Enix Collective: you can check it out below.