Kickstarter Interview: Liege is the beautiful tactical RPG that praises story and frowns upon grinding

Imagine a tactical role-playing game with a monstrous emphasis in story. Now imagine that the story isn’t interrupted by combat. As soon as your party clashes with foes, the battle grid is literally drawn exactly where the conflict is occurring. Once the fighting ends, the grid disappears and the story continues – seamlessly. As both a tactical RPG fan and someone who emphasizes story and character development above all else, I have to say I’m quite excited for Liege.

Created by Coda Games, Liege fulfills that exact scenario above. Now add in the fact that all the art is soft, hand drawn, and absolutely gorgeous. Unlike other tactical RPGs or RPGs in general even, the game doesn’t have grinding. Battles are won through your skill in tactics with exactly what the game hands you. Sure you can deck your characters out in different ways, but you’ll still be on the same ground as anyone else playing Liege at that exact part in the game. Nothing disrupts good story telling like a multi-hour grind fest; no one got time for that.

I don’t want to give too much of the interview away, but Liege is shaping up to pretty amazing game. Absolutely check out their Kickstarter Page, their Steam Greenlight page, the interview below, and if you like what you see – hey back the project. The first part of the trilogy will come out early 2014, get on it while the getting’s good.     

1. What exactly is Liege?

Liege is a cross platform, story driven, tactical role playing game. At its core, the game is about creating a unique blend of classic, top down JRPG, mature narrative in a dark fantasy setting, and elegant, turn based tactical gameplay. 

2. Where did the idea for Liege stem from? How long have you had a project like this in mind?

I've always wanted to create an RPG, all the way back from when I first played FFVI and Chrono Trigger on the SNES. Over the years though, my tastes with respect to story have evolved away from what you normally see in the genre in favor of books and TV shows like Dune, ASoIaF/GOT, BSG, etc. At the same time, my tastes gameplay wise have evolved more towards deeper tactical stuff like what you see in FF Tactics, Fire Emblem, X-COM, etc. Liege is about trying to capture the magic of these earlier RPG experiences, and mixing the more grown up narrative and deeper tactical gameplay I've come to love into the experience. 

3. What games inspired you for this project?

In addition to the classic titles mentioned above, more recently I've found myself getting inspired by games that deliver an immersive experience in a unique setting, without necessarily spelling out the entire universe like in Skyrim, etc. Games like Sword & Sworcery, Fez, Journey and others are good examples of what I mean; these are the types of experiences I want players to have as they explore the Kingdom in Liege

4. So players will have to rely more on tactics and not power leveling? There won’t be any grinding? (I love this)

Yes! Especially these days, I've found that I just don't have the time or interest to level my characters in games for the sake of it. I'd much prefer to have a game reward me for getting better at playing it over time, rather than having my characters grow stronger through grinding. Plus, it tends to break the immersion for me when my character starts dealing astronomical amounts of damage as arrows and cannonballs bounce of my chest. Since one of my hopes is to tell a story about human feeling characters, it's important to me that they feel mortal in combat. 

Liege Sunset

5. I absolutely love the idea of a tactical RPG without battle screens, the combat will occur exactly where it occurs in the story?

That's right! This will be similar to other games you might have played such as Chrono Trigger, but the layout of the map and terrain will also be an important factor, since this is a tactics game that emphasizes spatial positioning. So if you're wandering through a castle and a battle takes place, you can expect the castle walls, moats, etc. to play an important role. 

6. Does each character have a specific roll or is there more of a ‘job’ type system?

Each playable character will fall under a unit class, and there's at least one playable character for each unit class. Additionally, you will also be able to command other non-central units which will also fall under one of these unit classes. 

7. The hand drawn art style was the first thing to catch my attention, it’s beautiful. What was the thought process behind choosing it for Liege?  

Thank you! I've always wanted to play a game that feels like it takes place in a painting. The really crisp, cel shaded look and gritty, realistic look have both been done really well in lots of places, but I feel like a softer, hand crafted look hasn't been done enough. I think this look lends itself well to creating a unique fantasy setting. 

8. Will combat be strictly martial or are there fantasy aspects – such as magic? 

Magic will play a role in the game, but its not the main focus. It will appear in combat, but not in the ways you might expect. There will be no dragons, dwarves, elves, orcs, hat wearing wizards, etc. 

Liege Forest Battle

9. What role do banners play?

Banners are a core element of the story, since it revolves around a power struggle between the kingdom's great houses. Those same banners tie into the combat system by granting bonuses to certain classes. So for example, a certain banner will have strong swordsman, another will have skilled archers, etc. 

10. Once Liege is finished, do you have any interest in Stream Greenlight?

Yes! I've recently launched on Greenlight- please take a moment to help get the game green-lit by voting for it here!

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