Coromon, developed by Netherlands-based TRAGsoft and published by Freedom Games, is highly anticipated by monster-battling fans. The game’s been in the works for seven years, and the game’s demo has been played 1.2 million times. The subgenre has become increasingly crowded in recent years, but co-creators Jochem Pouwels and Marcel van der Made believe Coromon’s narrative will set it apart.
“We really like to focus on a compelling story with a lot of twists and unexpected things you’ll encounter,” Pouwels said. “But also a really different kind of story than you’re used to. You’re really kind of investigating the cornerstones of the planet, and even intergalactic stuff in the end.”
Pouwels said that it’s the small touches, like detailed character creation and interesting NPC interactions, that really immerses players in Coromon’s world.
“Being able to create yourself in the game really helps with the aspect of role-playing,” Pouwels said. “We tried to keep to the middle what age you are. We tried to not use these words, and the player can really decide for themselves how old they want to be. The only restriction here is that they live at home. [laughs] But that can be any age!”
“We also try to pay attention to details, such as small mini-games or things to find in your rooms or interacting with characters in certain ways. We really love adding those kinds of details. For example, standing in front of your brother makes him shout to Mom.”
Coromon also leans into mechanical innovation. Like its multi-phase boss battles against super-powerful Titans, and its focus on giving players opportunities for more challenging fights early on. In our preview, we were able to check out an area about 10 or 20 hours into the game’s 40-hour campaign. Your player character is a researcher for a company called Lux Solis. That job takes you, conveniently, right to all the super-powerful Titans.
“Those Titan battles force you to have a really long battle. You need all of your Coromon to defeat it in a strategic way,” Pouwels said.
Other than Titan battles, the driving force of Coromon builds around, well, what you’d expect! Collecting monsters. Each Coromon comes in three color schemes, indicating different levels of “potential.” Rarer variants let you customize a portion of the stat points to your liking, letting you build them in the way you’d like. But what if you like the “common” color better? How did the team decide what colors were best?
“We have a certain logic behind it: the more vibrant color is the rarer Coromon,” Pouwels said. “We also have a solution for this. There’s a high-tech device from Lux Solis which you can use to project your own preferred color on your Coromon, if you’ve encountered it with a different potential.”
Does the team think players may use this function strategically?
“Absolutely, yeah,” Pouwels replied. “I think it will be used in PVP, letting your opponent be relieved that your Coromon is weaker. But ultimately it’s a subtle difference. You can use the customizable stats to be a glass cannon or more defensive.”
Outside of battle, Coromon has a different feel for its environments and puzzles than its genre brethren. There are chests and buttons, sure. But players also unlock equippable abilities like Push and Burn. Pouwels cites The Legend of Zelda and Golden Sun as the biggest influences on these elements.
“We love those games and we really tried to make a game with the elements that we loved the most in the old GBA area, but also give them a twist,” Pouwels said. “I’ve spent thousands of hours exploring the worlds of Golden Sun or the Tales Of series or Final Fantasy or Chrono Trigger. They all have so much charm in the game. And we think that should also be a thing nowadays! A game put together with passion and really loving those details.”
The most difficult sections will be optional, so players shouldn’t worry about them too much. And difficulty settings make some puzzles easier, adjusting the world while also giving you some combat advantages. Pouwels said that, while the team hasn’t implemented this now, he’s looking into the possibility of decoupling environmental and battle difficulty settings. This would allow those who want tough battles but find action sequences frustrating to adjust each separately.
The game’s already mostly complete. The TRAGsoft team still has to implement some late-game cutscenes. Most of the remaining work lies with the just-announced online multiplayer functionality.
With such a long development cycle, does the Coromon team feel like other games (like Temtem, Nexomon and Monster Crown) have beaten them to market with some of their gameplay innovations? Not really.
“We once had an idea of fusion years ago,” said van der Made.
“We intentionally removed that feature because it wasn’t pleasing enough,” Pouwels added.
Coromon, developed by TRAGsoft and published by Freedom Games, will release on PC and Switch in the first quarter of 2022. It’ll then head to iOS and Android devices. Once it’s out, the team plans to move on to developing a sequel to continue the game’s narrative.