Interview: From comics to Nintendo Switch RPG with Battle Chasers: Nightwar
Comics legend Joe Madureira details the story and systems of his latest video game creation.
Former Marvel Comics artist Joe Madureira is equally well known in the video games world thanks to the epic Darksiders and Darksiders II. Now he’s merging the two mediums with the comic book adaptation Battle Chasers: Nightwar on Nintendo Switch! Here he details the characters and gameplay you can expect from the forthcoming RPG…
Nintendo UK: What inspired you to take the Battle Chasers comic and turn it into an RPG with Battle Chasers: Nightwar?
Joe Madureira: Battle Chasers was a comic book series that I created back in 1998. I did nine issues and then I actually got into the game industry, so that story was never finished. The series was so heavily influenced by anime and Japanese RPGs I was playing at that time, so when it came time to think about what this RPG was going to be, it seemed like a natural fit. The characters were already so inspired by games that they’d fit right in.
NUK: What can you tell us about the story and characters of Battle Chasers: Nightwar?
JM: At the core of Battle Chasers is a young girl named Gully, who is actually the tank of the group. Her father was a legendary hero who went missing. When he did, he left his giant gauntlets for her and she is immediately hunted by people who want them. She puts them on and becomes a cool little hero and along the way she sort of recruits the loyal followers of her father…
Garrison is a swordsman who served with Gully’s father, and has fallen on hard times. Meeting Gully resurrects him in a way because he suddenly feels this call to help her and becomes the great swordsman he was meant to be again.
There’s Knolan the wizard. He has lots of area-of-effect spells. For his dungeon ability, he uses light which is really important in some dungeons. Where it’s very dark, you’ll stumble into traps if he’s not in your party. But there’s always another way around, you can get flint or light torches if you don’t have him in your party.
Gully also meets Calibretto early on. He’s a giant war golem. War golems have become outlawed in this world, they fought in wars then were dismantled and so he’s been in hiding, living with Knolan. He’s kind of Knolan’s housekeeper, server and friend. He becomes Gully’s sort of giant teddy bear, he’s a powerful weapon of destruction but he’s also got a peaceful, naive almost childlike innocence about him. So he’s also very into nature, so he uses natural magic and he’s your healer early on in the game.
Red Monika comes into the story as well, she is an old friend of Garrison’s. He served in the military and became a paladin and she became a criminal. You can’t trust her unless there is money involved. She does help them from time to time and she does become a playable hero, she’s the rogue basically, she is the stealth in dungeons. She can pick pockets and get more treasure if you’re just doing a loot run.
Then we have Alumon who is really wise. They’re on this island and once they crash on this island they start to learn that there is a lot of bad stuff going down. Then they meet Alumon who is a devil hunter. He warns them about this ancient vampire that’s rising to power and they have to prevent his return.
So a lot of the game is you trying to uncover where the vampire lord is and who’s helping him and just working your way towards killing the final boss.
NUK: Breaking down the gameplay, how does the dungeon crawling element of Battle Chasers: Nightwar work?
JM: The way that you traverse the dungeons is completely different depending on which party member is active. You can switch at any time and they each have dungeon abilities. To get around for instance, Monika can stealth. Gully can slam the ground and stun enemies, which allows here to avoid combat, but if you enter combat with them and you put perk points into that ability they’ll actually be stunned for the first few rounds of combat. Calibretto can hit them with a cannon from a distance and they’ll be on fire when you start combat.
Depending on what your objective is in that dungeon, you might choose different party members. You can only have three out of the six playable heroes and so if you’re on a loot run and you just don’t want to get in a lot of combat, you’ll take stealth and enemy avoidance. If you know there’s a tough boss at the end that you failed against before, you might need a healer or more damage-per-second. So you’ll want to play around with the different heroes.
The dungeons are randomly generated, so each time you go in, the rooms will be different. There will be story events, loot placements, traps, puzzles… There’s lots of stuff that changes when you go in. Aside from that we have about a dozen micro dungeons. You find them when you’re exploring the map and they’re hand-crafted, they don’t randomly generate. They’re something you go through only once – kill the boss, get the loot, kind of a treat.
NUK: And how about the combat?
JM: We knew from the beginning that, because it’s a party based game, it would probably be turn-based just because it is easier to manage a group of heroes. When it’s action it tends to be just more a single character thing and we have six heroes.
As a team we just really love turn-based combat, so the system is pretty deep. Anyone who is familiar with turn-based RPGs has probably seen the initiative order. On the left side there’s that bar that shows when your hero’s turn is approaching and then also who is going to go after them and when the creatures’ turns come.
You might power up a move that will push you down three slots in that order. You might get hasted and go to the top, you might get stunned and get pushed further down. You’ll be doing that to the enemies as well, so it’s pretty dynamic, you might have an awesome move that’s about to go off, but it’s too late because you got stunned and then this guy dies from the poison, so the system constantly forces you to re-evaluate your strategy.
When you’re fighting we have instant attacks that generate overcharge. This basically gives you temporary mana that you can only use for that fight, so if you are a gamer that tends to just use basic attacks because you don’t want to waste mana or you’re saving it for some reason, you’ll be encouraged to cast some of your more powerful abilities.
On top of that there’s a burst meter that fills up and there’s three tiers to it, which carry over from battle to battle. Once you have the burst meter active, all heroes have access to it, so each hero has a level 1, 2 and 3 burst. When it’s full, you can choose to use a level 1 burst, which will leave two levels available for the other heroes and go all out. They’re very cinematic and they look really cool. Bosses, and some creatures, have them too actually.
NUK: What attracted you to develop Battle Chasers: Nightwar for Nintendo Switch?
JM: First of all we’re just fans of Nintendo, the systems and the games in general so just from a fan’s perspective it’s awesome to be on a Nintendo console. But I think the strongest reason people have expressed their excitement to us when we tell them about it is that having a console RPG that you can take anywhere is pretty awesome. Even today I was playing it in my hotel room. It’s pretty nice to be able to take it with you.
Battle Chasers: Nightwar is released 3rd October 2017 on Nintendo Switch.
— Nintendo UK News
Source: Nintendo UK.
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