Long Gone Days follows Rourke, a soldier that tried to abandon a war, only to find its influences spreading all over the place. While not wanting to use his combat abilities to do harm, it isn’t long before Rourke is forced back into the fray to stop the spread of destruction in this military RPG.
Camila Gormaz of Bura, developers of Long Gone Days (which is available now on Steam Early Access), spoke with Siliconera about looking at warfare from this emotional standpoint, and why they chose to make morale just as important as a well-placed shot in this game about personal bonds and the horrors of combat.
Long Gone Days is a modern military RPG. What drew you to marry RPG mechanics to gunplay?
Camila Gormaz of Bura, developers of Long Gone Days – When I was researching about soldiers and sniper techniques, I thought it would be a nice touch to put some of those elements into the gameplay to add a dose of realism, having soldiers who miss more often and offering different spots to shoot at.
What other aspects of military combat/life seemed well-suited to an RPG? How did you bring those to the world of Long Gone Days?
From all the topics we researched, articles about the psychology of soldiers are the ones that stood out the most. Their fears, their personal beliefs, and mostly their motivation. That’s why we used Morale as a central mechanic, and it even defines the outcome of several things in the game.
Long Gone Days features no random battles. Why did you do this, and what challenges did it add (or remove) in creating the game?
One of the first things the player learns about Rourke (the protagonist) is that he doesn’t want to kill. Since Long Gone Days is set in the real world without any kind of fantasy elements, enemies are narrowed down to humans and machines, so it would be inconsistent if we had this character who doesn’t want to kill while also giving the player the option to grind and kill enemies left and right. Every battle has an emotional impact on him and the rest of his teammates.
It did bring a lot of challenges in terms of balance because instead of grinding, players will have to get better equipment, skills, and items through sidequests, exploration, and dialogue options.
The game’s combat system features body part targeting and other interesting battle techniques. Can you walk us through how the game’s unique battle system works? What can players expect to do in a fight?
Long Gone Days has a front-view, turn-based combat system, one where the player can choose a specific part of their targets to shoot at. Each part has its own stats. For example, the center of mass of an enemy is the spot with the least evasion rate, but it usually has the highest defense rate to compensate. Other spots like the head are easy to miss, but if they do get hit, it’ll heavily damage the enemy, while other spots can even temporarily stun the enemy.
Besides the body targeting system, there are dialogue options during the fights which allow the player to raise their party members’ morale.
There are many instances where the player will find they don’t speak the language, requiring an interpreter. Why did you include this? What do you feel it added to the game?
Being non-native English speakers ourselves, language barriers are a big part of our daily lives, and it’s incredible how isolating it can be whenever you want or need to communicate something, but you just can’t. Also, as the game is set in the real world, we didn’t want to have characters speaking with "funny accents" or spouting random foreign words, we wanted to show them speaking real languages (which is a bonus for bilingual players). That’s one of the things we wanted to show, to add onto this feeling of solitude.
Long Gone Days‘ isn’t just focused on combat, but also visual novel style storytelling and character interactions. Why did you feel this was important to add in your military RPG? What is important about that connection between soldiers?
While it’s only logical that most military games are focused on battles, the main aspect we want to show is the importance of communication. It’s pretty common to see soldiers being depicted as selfless killing-machines, when in reality people are people, with their own needs and dreams. They might be introverts who just don’t click with their peers, maybe they lost their vocation long ago, maybe they are really proud to be part of something, etc.
Morale is a large factor in the game. How will it work, and how can players keep their companions’ spirits up?
Morale is a central element in the game, and it can define how your party members perform during battles (having high morale greatly boosts their attacks, and having low morale makes them lose their will to fight). Besides that, it can also define the outcome of certain points in the story and fights.
Your party members’ morale will be affected by the choices you make during dialogue options and the skills you use. Also, after battles, you are asked to choose between Morale or items you’d loot from your enemies.
What do you hope players get out of the emotional story of Long Gone Days?
Well, I think it would be better to know their own conclusions instead of explaining it, but to question themselves is what we are aiming for. To show that there’s no black and white, but rather complex people with their own stories.