You might imagine that the real-time strategy genre has been thoroughly exhausted, but developer Abyssal Arts has tried to mix up a familiar formula with its ambitious serialised tactical RPG City of the Shroud.
City of the Shroud is a real-time action RPG, with an emphasis on chaining together attacks in combos in order to maximise damage. This system balances thoughtful RPG gameplay with the fast-paced reflexes and decision-making of fighting games, giving it a different feel to many other games of its type. In addition, there is an online PvP multiplayer component for players to test out their combo skills against one another.
However, the other major unique selling point to the game is the presentation of its narrative. In the game’s setting of Iskendrun, five factions are vying for power and influence in a city with a crumbling government and a looming supernatural threat. Players pick a faction at the start and are able to make in-game choices which influence the narrative, similar to many other role-playing games.
However, choices made by players impact everyone playing the game, as well as the direction of future chapters, with the fates of characters and entire factions impacted by what decisions and missions that players decide. This sets it apart from games by Telltale and Bioware, which adapt their narratives to in-game choices for individual players. This is an ambitious strategy, and it will be interesting to see what a community-driven fantasy narrative looks like.
City of the Shroud‘s first chapter is set to come out in Winter in Australia for a price of $19.99USD on Steam, with each successive chapter to be released for free every couple of months. PS4 and Xbox One ports will also be released in 2019, containing all the available chapters.