Rogue Academy

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4 years 5 months
Submitted by SuperSayu on Sat, 02/27/2016 - 16:38

There are a number of interesting video game conceits and it can be absolutely delightful to mash a few together. Rogue Academy is a game concept involving roguelike elements, relationship building and time management vis a vis the Persona series of video games, and team management vis a vis the Disgaea series of video games. Out of the mess that comes to mind, the most important, and potentially the most divisive, part of the design is the idea of mixing permadeath with a setting where you genuinely do not want characters to die.

Rogue Academy is in principle mixing a magician's or adventurer's academy such as what you would expect after reading or watching Harry Potter, with throwing the characters into situations that test their skills. The few existing games that fall generally into this category (Mana Khemia is the first that comes to mind; there is also Academagia: The Making of Mages which is a cute little game that never went anywhere) have a very soft hand here, with good reason; these sorts of games are usually very pre-scripted, and so it is almost anathema for characters to die, permanently.

One of the driving factors behind the roguelike genre and roguelike elements in other genres is that when you are always treated with kid gloves, you don't respect the game. As a genre, adventure-hero-fantasy types all gloss over the chance of death of main characters; this makes some limited sense for experienced adventurers, but consequently there is an idea that adventuring is harmless and profitable fun for all ages, and the weakest babe armed with foam pool noodles can eventually beat enough squirrels to death to gain a level.

I imagine the point is getting clearer; I would like to create this game not only to make a fun, interesting, difficult game, but also as a counterpoint to the idea that adventuring, or indeed any part of life, is guaranteed success. An academy full of prototypical heroes existing in a world full of danger means that you, the player, must be very careful which battles to pick; you may have spent months in-character and hours in person making friends with someone who could die, or who could just never be the same again.

And friendships should be important, even if characters may be randomly created--or just given random characteristics. This fits into Project Histrionic very specifically; I imagine the latter creates a system where you can dynamically create a script depending on whether or not, for instance, you have a brainiac among your close circle of friends, or someone with a particular background, or none of the above; ideally the script created would allow a fairly natural flow of dialog, but Histrionic, like so many of my ideas, is a concept only, and it would take an enormous amount of work.

To finally get around to summarizing Rogue Academy, you will randomly create your own character, and optionally fill your class with random or predetermined characters, and are then set loose into a structured sandbox. You split up your daily actions between classes and other activities, have random events, get the chance to respond to the needs and wonts of your friends, study, test, and when the story calls for it--or when you're daring enough--go adventure in a number of semi- to highly-dangerous locales. Along the way, your skills tick up, allowing you different options in various situations.

Also along the way, friendships and love can bloom and fade; part of this is only for the benefit of the player, but it also helps to have people to rely on when bad situations appear, because you do not have a "party" in any hard sense of the word; your friends may be busy, or hurt, or dead, and so you cannot be certain that they will be available next Tuesday when a goblin kidnaps your sister for a two-day romp in the woods.

If you and your friends survive your entire tenure in the school, you'll see your end game--and be told what you and notable friends and enemies made of themselves. A bittersweet ending, as not all ever afters are happy, but it is, at least, closure, and there's an option to start a new game with the next generation of kids.