Greedfall: an RPG where spoken language is actually important

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The fantasy genre is replete with games with endless fetch quests, bizarre pursuits of pseudo-historical precision, and beautifully designed but painfully sterile maps. Greedfall, on the other hand, takes these fantasy standards and launches them into the sea where they belong.

I saw a Greedfall hands-on demo in Paris last week, and also spoke with Spiders CEO and co-founder Jehanne Rousseau about Greedfall’s history, politics, and language, because games fantastic are my jam.

Created by French studio Spiders – the team behind The Technomancer and Bound By Flame – Greedfall is the latest fantasy RPG in its catalog. Inspired by 18th century colonial Northern Europe, you play as one of the many individuals fleeing your homeland, Serene, due to a devastating plague, Malicor.

As you play through the colonial era, it’s only natural that the people of this nation would find a new island to settle on the aptly named New Serene, or as the natives call it, Teer Fradee.

The native islanders have their culture and language inspired by Gallic and Celtic nations, such as Scotland and Ireland. Rousseau explained that they hired a linguist for the project to help create a language that was a bit of a mix of Flemish, Breton, Gaelic and Irish, so all polyglots could hear a few phrases. familiar.

You can choose whether you want your character to be male or female and there are tons of customization options to create an accurate 18th century version of yourself. Skills, attributes, and talent trees allow for four or five different outlets for the same quest.

In the preview, we see our hero attempt to save his cousin and the Governor of Teer Fradee, Constantin D’Orsay, who is being held in a tower after becoming a bit drunk and disorderly.

There are several ways to save it. If you have enough charisma, you can try to seduce the guards into releasing him. You can sneak by using a hook or by stealing the key from the guard. There’s also the option to just punch a hole in the wall and pop it out that way, or you can just pay the man off and be done with it.

The cycle of day and night can influence which of these options is likely to be most effective and it’s important to remember that depending on how you want to build your character, not all of these options will be available.

Companions play an important role in Greedfall, and you can recruit five people into your party, although you can only take two with you at a time. While you can’t command your companions to attack with combat-specific moves, you can equip them with different gear and set up scenarios to help you out. For example, if you manage to stun an enemy, it will act as an automatic cue for your companions to focus on that particular enemy.

You can use Tactical Pause as many times as you want in combat, allowing you to plan your attack using specific moves or items. You can also shorten attacks and items if you prefer a smoother combat experience. There’s a diverse arsenal of potions, bombs, guns, and more that you can equip your party with, or you can just get out of almost any situation and avoid a fight at all.

At a time when many people lament that they want politics out of games, Greedfall is steeped in conflict over territory, ancestry, colonialism, and religion. The natives are fractured, torn between a desire to live by the old ways, warring factions and a sect open to moving forward with the new settlers. You will be able to recruit a native islander, Siora, who is as skilled a fighter as she is a linguist. Unlike many other games where everyone seems to be able to understand each other, you won’t be able to understand the native islanders unless Siora is in your party.

Then there’s the Inquisition who, both in-game and in real-life, made a career across Europe persecuting everyone in their path. They came to “enlighten” the natives in their pagan ways, despite Serene’s ignorant ruling class wishing to peacefully cohabit the island.

Rousseau firmly pointed out that the team behind Greedfall wasn’t trying to make a completely historically accurate game, like we saw with Warhorse and Kingdom Come: Deliverance. Instead, the team wanted to take the most interesting and factual truths of Europe’s vast feudal history, humor and fashion, and incorporate them to create an immersive fantasy RPG experience. .

Much like Fallout 4, party members will like or dislike various actions or acts of omission by your character. Greedfall goes one step further; if you annoy one of your companions for too long, for example by hitting the natives in front of Siora, she will leave your group forever and become your enemy.

Greedfall begins with a long prologue, a bit like a huge didactic island. There are all kinds of quests to do and for the finalists you will have to do all the available quests the first time around. You see, Greedfall isn’t a true open-world game – once you leave the Serene, you can’t go back.

You’ll earn Influence by completing quests, similar to the Dragon Age: Inquisition system, which will unlock new areas and quests as you go. Although there are various villages and areas to visit, Teer Fradee is an island, so once you arrive you are quite limited on where you can go. That being said, Rousseau said that every area and character has a purpose in Greedfall, so every quest and activity you do will contribute to the story.

It would be easy to compare Greedfall to fantasy RPG giants, but that clearly seems to be its thing. It takes the best elements of the genre such as branching dialogue, faction and combat mechanics, and even romance options to create a strong 35-hour adventure that could rival any triple-A production.

While it remains to be seen if it can close the fantasy gap in the market, Greedfall is an ambitious company with a development team of around 40 people, although you’d think it was developed by a much larger team.

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