Tactical JRPGs have been ranked among some of my favorite video games of all time. Stemming from 2003’s Final Fantasy Tactics Advance and its Nintendo DS sequel, Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift, these endearing titles paved the way to explore other games similar to it; the infamous Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions, Tactics Ogre, and Shining Force. These titles all share a common thread: I was able to complete them thoroughly at 100% collection and mission completion.
Now that the masterminds of these titles have come together for a new tactical RPG through Kickstarter, it feels good to know that this long-lost genre is making waves again. At the time of post completion, the game has already received enough funding. The title is Children of Zodiarcs, a tactical JRPG that introduces new elements of gameplay to enhance the experience: cards and dice rolling.
The story synopsis is as follows, straight from their Kickstarter:
“At the heart of an evil empire, a group of young outcasts rebel against the corrupt system that holds them down…”
Infiltrating the chambers of a decadent noble, they intend to steal a priceless relic, but what awaits them is more than anyone bargained for. Relentlessly pursued by the authorities, they make a desperate escape, seeking refuge in the city’s seamy slums and sunless underground catacombs. On their trail are heavily armed city guards, rival bandit gangs, and a clan of psychotic subterranean cannibals. Can a motley crew of outsiders survive this vicious world without sacrificing their own humanity?
The turn-based system, according to Kickstarter, defines actions through the drawing of cards from a custom deck brought into battle. The team states that the title would not rely on luck, but would instead open an infinite number of combinations for strategy. Certain cards can be chained together for synergistic effects. Classic elements of the JRPG turn-based strategy return, such as attack positioning and height. Customization of characters returns in many forms: equipment, deck building, and even the dice outcomes themselves can be modified.
Children of Zodiarcs has a strong development team behind it; having helmed titles such as Assassin’s Creed, Eternal Darkness, or Far Cry, this does not appear to be their first rodeo in development. Partnering behind Square Enix Collective (an independent title group, essentially), this title looks to make waves and revive a genre that is fading out in favor of more cinematic gameplay. It’s a bold move on this team’s part, one that I certainly hope pays off. Zodiarcs looks like it can be the successor to the gameplay that I grew up playing and loving. I’ll be observing this project with great interest and post about significant developments.