Kickstarter Interview: Celestian Tales: Old North offers three decades of story-driven RPG

Are you tired of the mute hero going from rages to riches, killing gods, or other typical fantasy tropes? Do you tire of bland story and desire for more out of your role playing plots? Do you like characters that develop over an entire lifetime? You answered “yes” to all of these questions, I’m going to go ahead and recommend Celestian Tales: Old North to you.

This RPG has the choice of six main characters that will interact with one another throughout the game. You’ll follow the story of this character through his or her entire life – spanning three decades. The gameplay will offer distinct and unique issues and choices to this character that will affect his or her future through the game. Did you finish the game as that one character? The other five characters are waiting for playthroughs, each with unique gameplay experiences.    

Liking what you’re hearing? This game is shaping up to look pretty enticing. Currently Celestian Tales: Old North is on both Kickstarter and Steam Greenlight. I strongly suggest you take a gander at those two pages, watch the promo video, and check out the interview below. Enjoy.

1. What exactly is Celestian Tales: Old North?

Celestian Tales: Old North is an RPG driven by a storyline that challenges the common clichés. Spanning three decades… and a plethora of choices along the way, it attempts to bring freedom of choice and its consequences as an integral experience. The game's features are made to immerse a player into the world and setting, so that they can feel the weight of their decisions.

2. Where did the idea for Celestian Tales: Old North stem from? How long have you had a project like this in mind?

Some of us played one dedicated D&D campaign, which ran weekly for a year long, which had [a] very exceptional storyline. The DM focused on intrigues and grey choices instead of combat, and we enjoyed that campaign very, very much. As people who have played video games and RPGs since we were kids, we've been wanting to make one ourselves ever since we entered the game industry (that's around 3-4 years ago) — and this story is what we think would be perfect for that.

Celestian Tales Characters

3. What games inspired you for this project?

I think we can split the inspirations from two sides: the game itself and the story. Gameplay-wise, we liked Chrono Trigger, Suikoden, Suikoden II, Final Fantasy Tactics, and Final Fantasy VI, and you might see the similarities (though it looks like we're going to upgrade the pixel-graphics into illustrated environments). For the storyline, those with questionable morals such as Watchmen and Game of Thrones had a large impact.

4. In what ways did Dungeons and Dragons and Pathfinder influence you for Celestian Tales: Old North?

Dungeons & Dragons and Pathfinder are basically storytelling at its basics. Because our story stems from a campaign played by six different persons, every single character in Celestian Tales: Old North has his/her own unique personality and choices of life. Unlike video games, when playing D&D or Pathfinder you're free to do whatever you want in different circumstances — that makes the story more believable.

5. Do you pick one of the six characters to be your main character? Do each of the characters have separate stories? Will their stories intertwine?

You pick one as your main character, and you'll experience his/her journey through the decades. Each character starts out differently, and then intertwines with each other as they unite as a team. In many instances along the way, each character would have personal scenes, quests, and decisions only available through him/her.

Celestian Tales Growth

6. How will the different decades work? Will it be the six characters at different stages in their lives?

As the decades go by, the characters get older and their views on the world change because of their past experiences. The setting itself also changes by the years. Villages to towns, cities to ruins, forests to grasslands, the passing time is noted by these changes both to the characters and environment.

7. Movement has a Chrono Trigger sort of look to it. Will combat be in a similar style to Chrono Trigger or more of a traditional turn based RPG format?

Chrono Trigger's in-environment combat system is very scripted. Enemies appear in fixed places, appear with fixed animations, and combat happens right where you are. We're looking for ways so that players can refuse to do battle. Celestian Tales: Old North, you'll be seeing enemies equipped with specific intelligence sets to chase you down (for example, a boar dashes very quickly but only in a straight line), and then, if engaged, be directed into a turn-based RPG-style "combat scene."

8. How much customization will go into your characters? Are there classes?

You can bring up to three characters at one time, and each character has his/her own role in combat. Aria is listed under the Tactician / Guardian role, which means she can buff defenses and heal up wounds, making your party much more resilient. Reed is a Slayer / Trickster, getting high damage up front and debuffing enemies for further hurt.

In addition, each character will have skills that can be "equipped." One player might choose to bring low-cost skills and spam them almost every turn. Another player might choose to bring high-cost high-return skills so that they can "drop the bomb." One might "build" Reed specifically to inflict status effects, then bring Reynard for the damage and Lucienne to keep the team alive. The many combinations between equipped skills and team members provide lots of room for customizations.

Celestial Tales Party Action

9. How valuable will exploration be in Celestian Tales: Old North?

Exploration is made so that people will be rewarded handsomely for going that extra mile in playing the game. There will be many hidden side quests which will give you legendary equipments as well as additional stories. You can, of course, finish the game only by following the main story linearly, but in our opinion exploration and discovering hidden stuffs are a big part of what makes RPGs a whole lot of fun.

10. Is Celestian Tales: Old North on Steam Greenlight?

It is! You can see the project here. It's listed under "concepts" as of now, not a game awaiting to be greenlit, because that's what we are at this point — a concept and a working early prototype, looking for support.

Historian, teacher, writer, gamer, cheat master, and tech guru: follow on Twitter @AndrewC_GZ