Thursday, September 21, 2017

Battle Chasers: Nightwar Update

The day is almost here! Battle Chasers: Nightwar is being released on October 3rd on Xbox One, Playstation 4 and PC with a Nintendo Switch release to follow. I backed the game on Kickstarter back in December of 2015 and have been enjoying playing the beta release on my MacBook Pro. I have to say, being a Joe Madureira fan it has been an amazing experience to dive back into the Battle Chasers universe that is so near and dear to Joe. I'm so happy that he had the opportunity to create this game for his fans.

Other big news is that Udon is doing an art book for Battle Chasers: Nightwar and apparently it is almost complete! Here's a sneak peak of a few of the pages.

Airship Syndicate also released the first of six videos featuring the playable characters in the game. First up, Knolan! Check it out below.

Another video recently released was the opening cinematic by Powerhouse Animation (who did the recent Castlevania Anime on Netflix). Watch below!

Here are some miscellaneous images from the game released in the past few months.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Battle Chasers: Nightwar Kickstarter Alpha To Be Released April 17th

Airship Syndicate sent out a kickstarter update this week with a big announcement. The alpha-level kickstarter backers will be able to get their hands on the Battle Chasers: Nightwar alpha build on April 17, 2017! The beta will be released 6 to 8 weeks after the alpha.

This weekend Airship Syndicate will be attending PAX East and showing off Battle Chasers: Nightwar at the THQNordic booth. Here's what they had to say about the build of the game attendees can play.
The build will now feature gameplay of the town, world map, and an optional side-dungeon (they are small, 1-2 room experiences spread around the world) in addition to a full version of the game's first dungeon, the Iron Outpost. It also includes our finished and more fully-featured crafting system, a new-and-improved inventory UI, functional bestiary and dungeon codex, and some other cool stuff. We also tightened up the graphics on level 3 a bit.
The kickstarter update also had a motion graphic sneak peek of one of the cut scenes from the game.

Here are some new screenshots as well! Enjoy

Saturday, March 04, 2017

Battle Chasers Nightwar Interview with GamingBolt: Arcanepunk Meets JRPG

Battle Chasers Night War Logo with backdrop featuring Garrison, Knolan and Monsters

Over at GamingBolt they had an exclusive interview with game lead and designer Ryan Stefanelli as well as product development director at THQ Nordic Reinhard Pollice. Read it below!

What inspired you to bring Battle Chasers into the video game realm as a JRPG? How difficult has it been translating the comic’s tone and style to gameplay?

When we decided it was time to bring Battle Chasers back, one of our first questions was… which character do you play? Is there a way to play all of them? Those of us who started Airship all love the RPG genre, the classic JRPGs in particular, so when the thought occurred to us to bring the two together, it seemed like a perfect fit. Translating Battle Chasers into an RPG has been pretty easy, especially since the series itself was directly inspired by JRPGs. So in a way, it’s like the whole thing coming around full circle.

What is the overarching plot for Battle Chasers: Nightwar and how does it tie into the comic book?

The powerful wizard Knolan discovered that a deep and ancient reserve of mana was hidden on a mysterious island far off the mainland. Mana is the main source of magic in the world, also powering technology, and has been disappearing rapidly, so finding more is a big deal. The Battle Chasers all fear that August, the most feared villain in the BC universe, may be heading to the island to claim the mana for himself.

As they approach the island via airship, they are abruptly shot down, but not by August… by a group of local bandits. Once trapped on the island, they discover the mana reserve is the least of their concerns. What happens next would get into spoilers… but the narrative is a side-story in the Battle Chasers universe. It takes place after issue 9, but not in line with any existing story.

There seems to be a rogue-lite element to the overall experience. What kinds of traps, puzzles and secrets can players look forward to experiencing?

We had experimented with some rogue-lite elements, but aside from randomly generated dungeons, it’s a fairly traditional death system. Players may lose some dungeon progress, but they retain all of their items, experience and gold. There are plenty of traps, from classics like floor spikes and spinning blade pillars to those based in tech and magic, like mortar cannons and tesla coils. The puzzles and secrets all tie heavily into the lore, often challenging the player with riddles as well as logic.

What can you tell us about the combat and how each hero’s skills will work? Do heroes have different talent trees and level up through defeating enemies or are there other wrinkles like the lore points?

Combat is turn based, with an initiative bar depicting turn order. Each hero has abilities that unlock as they level up and perks broken up into two categories. Perk points can be acquired through leveling, but also by completing quests or finding secrets. Players can equip as many perks on a hero as that hero has points available, and perks cost from 2 to 20 points to equip. With a few dozen perks each, there is a wide variety of ways players can spec out each hero.

Heroes also have unique special attacks called Battle Bursts. The burst meter is shared between all heroes and can build up to three levels of Burst. The attacks take either 1, 2 or 3 levels to cast, so with a full Burst meter, players can choose to do three level-one attacks, or one whopping level-three attack for maximum effect.

What unique spin has been placed on the mana system? What kinds of buffs and debuffs will payers have to face?

The main wrinkle in the mana system is the Overcharge system. Basic attacks are free and instant, also generating a temporary energy called Overcharge. This can be used in place of mana to cast special abilities, but is lost at the end of a fight. So players can use it to either save mana by building it before casting abilities, or to continue using abilities once their core mana pool is at zero. It’s a fun way to encourage players to use special attacks all throughout the game – not just on boss fights.

The overworld seems fraught with plenty of danger featuring bosses and hidden dungeons along with different NPCs. How do you balance out these random elements to keep the game fun but not too punishing for players?

The overworld is about exploration and discovery and isn’t the primary threat to the player. When entering a dungeon, though, players are given the choice between three difficulty levels: normal, hard, and legendary. On normal, all the items that drop will be of uncommon quality. If players play on hard, they’ll get rare quality items, and on legendary, they’ll get epics! So here in the dungeons players are given the chance to really challenge themselves, with the potential rewards being great. This way, players who are more interested in seeing the world and experience they game can play at a more steady difficulty, but those who love a challenge can push themselves and reap the benefits!

How will players go about earning weapons and armour? Will there be items that can be permanently unlocked for different playthroughs?

Weapons and armor can be purchased from vendors, crafted, or found as loot. Loot can be affected by dungeon difficulty, and crafting is interesting: each item has a base number of ingredients required to craft the item. If players put more than the required ingredients into the recipe, they can increase the chances that the item will be higher-quality when crafted.

The percentage chance they’ll get a rare or epic item is displayed before they craft. Players can also attempt to craft an item with less than the required ingredients, but with a risk of failure. So if a sword that requires, say, 5 Leather and 5 Iron, the player can attempt to craft the sword with 3 Leather and 4 Iron with a 60% chance for success. If they fail, they lose all the ingredients!

What was it like working with Powerhouse Animation Studios for the 2D animation?

We’ve worked with Powerhouse for years and they’re both total pros and good friends. Their work is awesome, they’re totally reliable, and they’re a ton of fun. We hope to keep working with them!

What challenges did you face in bringing the game to multiple platforms? How do you think it will be received on Xbox One and PS4?

It is a constant struggle to optimize the game to reach a stable and fluid gameplay experience. Using Unity is both good and bad in that regard. It helps a lot as you have a great head start and can get the game running on the console platforms after a short setup time. But then it’s about fixing edge cases and dealing with issues of Unity.

When exactly can we expect Battle Chasers: Nightwar to release?

We are not announcing a date right now other than Summer 2017.

With the PS4 Pro, Sony have increased the memory bandwidth a little bit, but they have kept the overall memory pool the same as it is on standard PS4 systems. Is this a fair trade off? Or do you foresee RAM becoming a bottleneck for game development as we move further on with this generation?

With regards to Battle Chasers Nightwar we fortunately don’t have to deal with any hardware limitations.

The PS4 Pro has double the GPU power of the original. What kind of advantages this has bought in for developers?

Theoretically a bit more can be offered and also higher resolutions. However as the PS4 and the PS4 Pro are still one ecosystem PS4 Pro exclusive features had to be considered carefully so it’s mostly just a higher rendering resolution that can be offered.

With the PS4 Pro, we now know the machine’s specs. What do you foresee being the biggest bottleneck to game development on the improved console? Would it be the CPU, which was always hamstrung even on the original PS4, but is even more so now, relative to the rest of the machine?

It’s still both the CPU and the GPU. With the PS4 Pros GPU we can’t offer native 4K rendering which is easy to achieve on good desktop GPUs nowadays.

What is your take on Sony’s Checkerboard technique for 4K rendering versus native 4K rendering that Microsoft are espousing with the Scorpio? To the naked guy, what will the difference be? And what are the differences from a development and programming perspective?

The difference is that the 4K rendered output will look very crisp and smooth while the checkerboard technique will not look as sharp when directly compared but this depends also on the quality and size of the screen/TV. From a development perspective the checkerboard technique is a bit harder to implement as it is a custom implementation while a native 4k resolution is just a higher frame output resolution. In our situation Unity takes care about it anyways. What are your thoughts on the Nintendo Switch? What unique challenges will a system like that would pose for game development?

The challenge will be to tune the game experience in a way that it can be enjoyed both as a home console game and a mobile experience. Also finding the ideal control styles on the Switch is a bit more work than with traditional controllers. The rest is just pure technical optimization and here it is meanwhile certain that from a pure power perspective the Switch is on a different level than the Xbox One and PS4.

What is the target frame rate and resolution for PS4 and Xbox One?

We haven’t locked that in. From a resolution perspective it will be Full HD on both platforms. From a framerate perspective we don’t know what’s possible but at least 30 is the goal.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

New Battle Chasers: Nightwar Update

Airship Syndicate released an update on the progress of the Battle Chasers: Nightwar yesterday. First was the official announcement of Jesper Kyd contributing music to the game and joining Clark Powell on the soundtrack. In celebrating the announcement Airship revealed two new tracks from the game by Jesper Kyd and one from Clark Powell. Listen below.

Smugglers & Thieves - Jesper Kyd

Night's Curse - Jesper Kyd

Crimson Winter - Clark Powell

A new character design by Joe Madureira which was teased a few posts ago has been revealed. Say hello to the Master Enchanter! She can be contacted to craft enchantments for your characters.

Reguarding the highly anticipated Battle Chasers: Nightwar Alpha and Beta release Airship Syndicate had this to say.
...we have the content rocking along and are working diligently on stability and tightening some things up. As soon as we're comfortable with the quality there, we'll push out alpha, and then beta.

To close the post here are the latest gameplay animated gifs. Can't wait for this to drop later this spring.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Battle Chasers: Night War

Some awesome news was announced by Airship Syndicate today. A BAFTA winning composer, Jesper Kyd is joining the team to compose music for Battle Chasers: Nightwar. Jesper is known for scoring music for such games as Darksiders II, Assassin's Creed, and Borderlands.

Listen to a piece of Jesper's Battle Chasers: Nightwar below!

Also, I'm pretty sure I haven't posted these but here's a selection of art from Joe Madureira of characters and items in Battle Chasers: Nightwar.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

How Airship Syndicate Raised Funding on Kickstarter for Battle Chasers: Night War

Assembla filmed a nice little behind the scenes video of Chris Brooks talking about the development and what was involved in creating a successful Kickstarter campaign for Battle Chasers: Night War. The video has a few shots of some new locations and perhaps even a new character!

Take a few minutes to watch below! And see Joe Madureira at his desk drawing the new artwork.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Joe Madureira Crowfall Collaboration and Battle Chasers: Nightwar Release Date!

Today Joe Madureira was on a live Twitch stream for the upcoming MMO game Crowfall by ArtCraft Entertainment. During the live feed he revealed a finalized poster he drew of the 'Mad Duelist' which can be seen below. The art was coloured by Billy Garretsen.

Also revealed from Joe was the currently scheduled release date for Battle Chasers: Nightwar. If all goes to plan look forward to a July 2017 release! Some exciting news for sure, hopefully we'll hear more details soon.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Happy 2017!

I know it's been a while since I've updated but I just had to post this evening since Joe Madureira has a new variant cover out today! It's for DC's Justice League vs. Suicide Squad #3!

There's also been some new Battle Chasers: Nightwar artwork popping up like a character design for the 'Demon Hunter' and two epic splash pages.

A really cool Captain America: Steve Rogers variant cover came out as well, probably one of my favourite Joe Mad! cap drawings.

Joe did up a fan art piece for the indie game Darkest Dungeon.

He's a hidden gem found in the Blizzard card game Hearthstone. Joe did a design for a character named Price Malchezaar.

Along with Joe Mad!'s variant cover for Justice League of America #06 one lucky fan received a one-of-a-kind Harley Quinn sketch variant cover! I would LOVE this for my Joe Mad collection *wink* *wink*.

DC came out with a reboot of Justice League called Rebirth and Joe did up a variant cover featuring Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. He also posted a few concept sketches before revealing the final piece.

That's all for now! I hope you enjoyed the post. I'll try and regularly update the site this year if Joe continues drawing variant covers and who knows...maybe 2017 is the year we will finally see Battle Chasers #10!