In tactical RPG Regalia: Of Men and Monarchs, players will be gifted a kingdom, but it’s unfortunately in horrible debt. As such, players will have to do whatever their debt collectors demands they do each month, getting what money they can while trying to rule the kingdom, deal with monster threats, and keep up with friendships.
Siliconera spoke with Tomasz Niezgoda, Designer on Regalia, to learn more about how they combined a tactical RPG with a ruling sim, and what inspired the various friendships and relationships the players can forge with their party members and townsfolk.
What drew you to connect RPG combat and kingdom management? Why rulership as well as grunt combat work?
Tomasz Niezgoda, Designer of Regalia: Of Men and Monarchs: When we initially set out to make Regalia, we had decided on making something that would offer a blend of gameplay from Final Fantasy Tactics, Disgaea, and the Persona series. The management element, meanwhile, came from our love for old sim games and modern RPG genre-blenders such as Recettear. In the end, we settled on the kingdom angle because we believed it would allow us to connect all the core features (battles, calendar system, building, character relationships) with the least amount of friction.
What sort of activities will players be taking up to get their kingdom on its feet? How do they work in the game?
A large part of the plot revolves around a debt left behind by the protagonist’s ancestors, a debt way too substantial to be repayable through traditional means. This, in turn, leads to the player receiving bimonthly objectives from a dastardly debt collector, thus introducing a calendar-based time limit to every chapter of the game. Aside from idling in their home base, the player can spend that time fighting, exploring dungeons, completing old school text-based adventures, constructing and/or upgrading buildings, settling villagers, pursuing relationships with their subjects and confidantes, crafting items, and – last but not least, the undying staple of the genre – fishing.
What are some of the repercussions if the players aren’t good rulers? The benefits if they are?
The players don’t really have the luxury of allowing themselves to be bad rulers. Failure to meet the debt collector’s quotas results in a game over, no ifs, and, or buts. However, while you can scrape by the minimum chapter requirements, there’s a lot to be gained by going the extra mile – as these quotas are tied to in-game kingdom activities, with fulfilling them leading to stronger characters, more diverse customization perks, and enhanced crafting options.
You mention that there are over twenty characters to meet. What will these characters bring to a game of Regalia? In what ways are they unique, and how will they help the player out?
The characters can be broadly divided into two categories: the combatants and the non-combatants. The combatants are your classic RPG party members, each representing a different take on an archetype with a matching set of completely unique abilities. These abilities can then be further augmented by perk choices and equipment. Although there are no classes like in, say, Final Fantasy Tactics, we believe this system allows the player to tweak the specifics to their liking while retaining the individual feel of each character.
On the opposite end of the spectrum are the non-combatants, who instead provide various town-only services like crafting, shopping, and so on – however, the quality of those is largely dependent on the player’s current relationship level with the given NPC. Some of them, should the player decide to settle and befriend them, may also grant broader out-of-combat benefits, like improved loot chances or better fishing odds. Though they do not participate in battles, we wanted to avoid turning them into simple faceless mooks; as mentioned above, every single one of these guys is a fully fleshed out character with an individual relationship meter and a personal storyline.
Can you tell us a little bit about the unique characters and races who will join the player in Regalia?
The world of Regalia is largely inspired by the likes of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld, and so it was created as something of a loving parody of other worlds and a conscious spoof of fantasy cliches. Much like in Sir Terry’s series, these traditional associations were treated as absurd fodder for humor. For instance, one of the party members is a young man who dreams of becoming a hairdresser, but his plans are constantly hampered by the fact that he’s also a vampire, making a job involving exposed necks and large mirrors rather impossible to perform.
As for races, they were also largely designed with that approach in mind. On the surface, it’s standard fantasy fare: dwarves, elves, and gnomes. However, we didn’t want to make them boring Tolkienesque transplants, and so, each race was treated rather as a template to play with, with their stock traits subverted or taken to ridiculous extremes. As such, you’ll encounter samurai dwarves, monstrous Nordic elves, Arabian gnomes, educated trolls…well, you get the picture.
Players can bond with these other characters. How does that work? Will that have an effect on them in combat or story, and how so?
Each of the characters, be it your bodyguard Griffith or Shichiroji the hobo, has five relationship levels, representing the states from indifference to ultimate dedication. Spending a day with a given character will increase the player’s standing with them, in turn triggering key relationship events. During these events, the player can make choices that will either boost or hamper the progress toward the relationship’s next level. Additionally, at certain points, the player may be tasked with completing a quest for that character. It’s a system largely inspired by the newer entries of the Persona series, so we imagine fans of these games will feel right at home.
What drew you to add different victory conditions for players to strive for in the grid-based combat?
We think that in every game, there comes that unfortunate point where, for one reason or another, the player ends up defaulting to one preferred playstyle or strategy – a comfort zone, so to speak. Exotic status effects and attributes often end up brushed aside in favor of simple damage boosts or tedium-reducing solutions. With that in mind, we believe that introducing many varying victory conditions is a good way of keeping players on their toes.
What thoughts go into creating grid-based combat where positioning is important? What do you have to consider that you might not in another style of turn-based RPG?
In our case, it was a long and arduous exercise in balancing the consequences of differing unit sizes and line of sight limitations. We wanted every combatant and every map obstacle to have a tangible physical presence, hence the numerous restrictions and the necessity for constant movement. For instance, it quickly turned out that 2×2 unit size proved more of a curse than a blessing, but that’s a story for another time.