Every member of Esoter Studio has at least some gaming experience, aside from years spent in game development. When we first got together, we started talking about inspiration, ideas, and what WE would like to achieve as a collective. We had to decide on how to pick our general direction, art style, and overall approach to the game developing, and, naturally, we started talking about video games.
Once we decided to go with the specific story, we had to decide on game mechanics, and this is where our gaming experience started to pay off. With so many hours spent playing various games, we had a clear picture of what we want to achieve with Children of Lir.
As game developers, we really like to give credit where credit is due, so this blog post is all about what inspired us to start working on this game. So, the following list of games is basically what shaped us as developers, and this list keeps inspiring us every time we need it to. Keep in mind that these games aren’t placed in a particular order and get ready for Esoter Studio’s Inspiration List of RPG and Turn-Based Games.
One of the older games, published by Interplay Entertainment and developed by Black Isle Studios, this game came out in 1999 as a part of the Planescape Multiverse. The game is set in an epic world of Dungeons and Dragons and the entire game is story-driven. Players are in the role of a specific character known as The Nameless One, an immortal who lived for so long that has forgotten every part of his story. Players have to go through an incredibly immersive story, meet different characters which all have different and forgotten connections with your own character. As the story progresses, the players learn more about the universe, and about their part in it.
This game was not a huge commercial success, but it was critically acclaimed all over the world and throughout the gaming community. Since the day it was released, it was considered somewhat of an RPG all-time favorite games, and if you haven’t seen this amazing game - find a way to learn about it. There is even a source port version of this game available online, so don’t waste your time - try Planescape: Torment now! It was one of the biggest influences on the way we understand role-playing games and their importance in the gaming world.
When it comes to action-packed RPGs, we have to talk about Mount & Blade and one of its stand-alone expansion packs, the Warband. This game was published by Paradox Interactive in 2010, and it was developed by a Turkish developer TaleWorks Entertainment. This game expanded the world of Mount & Blade for an entire faction, and it focused mainly around horse-mounted combat. There were a number of changes in the game mechanics which enhanced multiplayer option quite significantly.
The multiplayer of Warband is amazing in almost every aspect. Its incredibly immersive direct-combat system makes every fight dynamic and really interesting. There are other amazing innovations this expansion brought to the table like a possibility for a single player to capture a town or create their own fraction. This game is still one of the best action RPG’s we’ve had the chance to play. Luckily, it’s available for multiple platforms, if you want to give it a try.
When it comes to the outstanding art and approach towards turn-based RPGs, the first game that comes to our mind is most definitely Darkest Dungeon. This extremely challenging gothic RPG won almost every award there is for an excellent game, back in 2016. Developed and published by Red Hook, this turn-based RPG changed the way we see games with a simple approach, and yet fairly complicated game system. Absolutely brilliant art, amazing sound effects, complicated mechanics entangled in the amazing story, you mention it and Darkest Dungeon has it.
With quite a lot of dark humor and incredible animations, this game has a special place in our hearts as the one that helped us decide on game mechanics for our own game. The way this game got us involved with its characters and its story is something that doesn’t happen to us that often. That’s why this game is always on the top of our recommendation list.
Once we were set on developing a turn-based game with medieval elements, there was no way around Heroes of Might and Magic III: The Restoration of Erathia. Known commonly as Heroes III, this game was one of the most original and most played games of its time. It was developed by Jon Van Caneghem through New World Computing in 1999, and it was adapted for almost every platform there is. Players can play through 7 different campaigns or play a scenario fight against a computer or human opponent.
This game made you explore the map, discover strategic locations, take positions of strategic advantages and it really helped their players fully understand the tactics and strategy behind every fraction. The game ended up with Ubisoft, and they’ve released the HD version of the game back in 2014, so if you want to experience a true turn-based epic RPG which shaped the way we see games today - Heroes III is the game for you. It surely did its magic on us.
For all old school gamers, there are a few games that will never be forgotten. Most of those games come from old consoles we’ve played when we were just kids. Chrono Trigger is one of those games. Developed and published by Square, originally meant for Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) in 1995, this game was created by some of the biggest names in game development. From Hironobu Sakaguchi (the man behind Final Fantasy series), through Yuji Horii (the creator of Dragon Quest), and all the way to the legendary composer Yasunori Mitsuda (best known for his Final Fantasy ambiance and music). With a team like this, the game was destined to reach great heights.
Chrono Trigger is a standard RPG with an overhead view, where players get to explore vast spaces like magic forests, cliffs, hills, rivers, and quite a lot of other beautiful locations. The mechanics of this game are still referenced through modern games today, with numerous effects, abilities, terrain influence and so on. Of course, we must mention the famous ability to travel back through time, different endings, and bonus dungeons and boss fights. Chrono Trigger is old, but gold, especially if you’re looking for an inspiration for a turn-based RPG.
All of the games above are the games we at Esoter played a lot. However, there are some games that haven’t made this list, whether because of their mechanics or because of the way they fit in the world of video games. The list above shows some of the games that helped us with finding the right ingredients for what we wanted to achieve with our own game.
However, we have to mention some of those games that haven’t found their place on the list, but still made a huge impact on us, both as gamers and as developers. So here are our worthy mentions.
World of Warcraft - It would be hard to be involved in the world of gaming and game development and not know about WOW. This epic multiplayer RPG with several million players is still one of the most played and enjoyed game there is. With extremely large fanbase, amazing game mechanics and incredible storylines (both for main and side quests), this game is one of the most recognizable games in the world.
God of War - An amazing RPG for consoles, with an incredible story and unbelievable graphics for its time, this game had us stuck in front of our TV sets for months. The game recently got a new title in its franchise, so you should definitely check it out.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic - We won’t talk too much about this game, simply because most of us at Esoter are huge Star Wars fans, but this game was very important to us while we were defining the ideas for Children of Lir. Amazing storylines, multiple different endings, quite a lot of main and side quests, and unbelievable plot twists make this game one of the all-time favorites in our book.
The Stanley Parable - It probably comes as a total surprise, but this game is the one that helped us learn about linear game writing. With an amazing approach, quite intelligent humor, and great ideas, this game explains that linear games can be as fun and surprising as any other type of games.
So, there you have it. This thorough blog gives you a little insight into the way we think when it comes to finishing Children of Lir. If you haven’t played or watched any of these games - you should do it ASAP, as these games have quite a lot of quality content for every type of player. However, if you do know all of these titles, this trip down the memory lane helped you get the better picture of what we as developers are trying to achieve. Hope you like this list, and if you think we’ve missed anything, feel free to leave a comment on our social media.
Children of Lir is a turn-based RPG based on ancient Irish and Celtic legends. Our story is placed in medieval Ireland where the darkness has taken hold of the country. Monsters, dark creatures, and foul men took over the land, fear is growing and it seems there is no hope for once beautiful Emerald Island.
Since the death of King Lir centuries ago, things were only becoming worse, but now it seems the human race is at its last stand. The King of Emerald Island called all brave men, women and children to stand together and fight against the magic that devours the land, and this is where our story begins.
Become a medieval hero, gather your allies and form a party to defend your home. Get immersed in the ancient magic and a hero’s journey from despair to salvation. Use your skills to defeat all of the enemies and help our heroes bring joy back to the Emerald Island. Follow the story, make choices and the hope might still return to our lands. Help our heroes save their world, you’re their only hope!
Children of Lir is developed for PC, and will be available on Mobile as well. It’s a single player turn and story based role-playing adventure where the main focus is on the story and players’ choices. Game art style is quite unique and original, as well as the sound design. The game aims to awake specific emotions at specific game points through the clever use of story, sound, and art elements.
Movement and battle mechanics are very intuitive and easy to master. The story of the game will be balanced in such a way so that every player can get immersed as soon as they start their adventure. The game should have around 10 to 12 hours of gameplay, filled with exciting encounters, battles, and unexpected story twists.
For this year, Mad Head’s team really worked hard, and with the help of SGA (Serbian Games Association), they’ve managed to get some of the most important companies in the gaming industry as partners, lecturers, and judges in this year’s Indie Prize competition.
As we’ve dug deeper, we realized there are some misconceptions that have no root in logic. We will be trying to break down those misconceptions and show you the real face of Celtic culture.
We’ve shared a lot about our game through our social media, as well as through our Kickstarter campaign, but we think that the time has come for us to show what we’ve done so far. Probably the best opportunity to do this is through gaming events.