Feature

Battle Chasers Meets Final Fantasy In Ex-Darksider’s Developer Kickstarter

by Ben Reeves on Sep 08, 2015 at 06:00 AM

WildStorm originally started publishing Battle Chasers in 1998. It was a fantasy story about several unlikely allies who explored an arcanepunk world as they hunted down a group of powerful villains. The comic quickly became one of the most popular comics of the late ‘90s, but after only nine issue it came to an abrupt cliffhanger. Creator Joe Madureira soon transitioned into the world of game development and helped build the Darksiders series. Now, Joe Mad and a few fellow ex-Vigil Games developers have formed a new studio, Airship Syndicate, and the team just launched a Kickstarter project for Battle Chasers: Nightwar – a video game revival of the comic franchise that also looks to emulate the classic turn-based RPG action of classic Final Fantasy games.

In addition to the game’s Kickstarter, Joe Mad is planning a return to the Battle Chasers comics, which will pick up where it left off over 12 years ago. While the game will include many of the same characters and settings seen in the comics, it will also be its own standalone story that Madureira believes will be a perfect jumping-on point for people new to the franchise.

“We’re writing the game as if you’ve never seen these characters before,” says Madureira. “It takes place shortly after the events of the comic, but it’s sort of like a side story. Basically, the heroes arrive on this mysterious continent that’s shrouded in mist and they find this deserted village. The game really unfolds like a mystery where the heroes discover a new villain, who has not been introduced in the books, who rises to power and starts building an army on this continent.”

In terms of gameplay, Battle Chasers seeks to emulate the classic Final Fantasy formula, but this turn-based RPG formula sometimes doesn’t play as well today as it did back in 1994, so the team is updating it for a modern audience. For example, there are no random battles in Battle Chasers: Nightwar; players will be able to choose when they dive into combat by attacking enemies roaming around the screen.

“Combat looks familiar, because it’s presented like those old-school classics, but we’re really using 3D heroes superimposed over hand-painted backgrounds,” says Airship Syndicate co-founder Ryan Stefanelli. “The biggest combat difference is in how we handle attacking. Every move you do takes some kind of resource, and replenishing your mana pool isn’t always easy, so you’ll have to be strategic when picking which moves to perform. This encourages players to use a variety of attacks and makes the combat less boring.”

The Battle Chasers: Nightwar Kickstarter is now live, and the Airship Syndicate team is aiming to raise $500,000 in a bid to resurrect the Battle Chasers franchise on PC and Mac. Battle Chasers: Nightwar is also on Steam Greenlight. If successful, the team also hopes to bring the game to consoles. Thankfully, the Airship Syndicate team isn’t a group of unknown developers; the team has already cut its teeth on the Darksiders series, and its prototype for Nightwar already looks very promising. We’re excited to see where Joe Mad and friends go from here.