I don’t think I’ve given too much information on For Fate yet, so I wanted to give a higher level overview of the various things I’m planning for the game. I’ve been working on various systems, planning things out and so forth, so now is as good a time as any to talk about it. A lot of this is subject to change, and perhaps I’ll do more overview posts as I get more things locked down, change my mind about features, etc. So here goes!
Kal and Elle have long waited for the day they can visit the Temple of the Makers and read their destinies from the Book of Fate. The book, granted to the citizens of the world by its Makers, contains a destiny page of every person to be born into the world. High Law states that upon a citizen’s 16th birthday, he or she may travel to the temple to read their fate. As Kal and Elle reach their 16th birthdays, they travel to the Temple to read what the Makers have in store for them. While Elle finds her fate to be more frightening than her worst nightmare, Kal finds his fate blank. Circumstances set them out, each with a mission: Kal to discover his unwritten destiny, and Elle to protect herself from her unwanted Fate. Their paths lead them through war, death, and a secret of the Royal Family. Only together can they conquer their fates and uncover the secrets of Project 4f7.
[Disclaimer: This is a brief introduction as the story currently stands. There is an incredible amount of flesh out before anything is written in stone.]
The battle system will consist of a typical turn based battle system with a party of up to four characters at once. As you explore the world you’ll see enemies wandering the map, and upon touching them you’ll engage in combat. A lot of monsters will be avoidable, some will wander aimlessly, while others will attempt to engage you if you get to close. This allows you to attempt to avoid monsters if you choose. However, the battle system is intended to be a fundamental part of the game, and attempting to avoid all monsters will result in your party getting crushed from lack of power.
Casting an Icicle spell
Moves are based on a modified version of an ATB system. Each character has an active time bar that fills. Once full, your character will be eligible to attack. However, rather than waiting until your bar is full, pausing all ATB bars, choosing moves, and then continuing, you can immediately choose the attacks for your character before the ATB bar is full. This allows you to queue up all the moves for your characters ahead of time, so they are ready to unleash the attacks as soon as the bar is filled. This drastically speeds up the pace of combat, making it feel more faster paced. If a character reaches a full ATB and has not yet chosen moves, then the ATB bars will pause. This allows you take all the time in the world to plan out your attacks without penalizing you for not being able to decide on moves fast enough, but still gives you the freedom to queue ahead of time if you know what you want to do.
Each turn you will choose multiple attacks for your characters. This system is heavily influenced by the battle system found in Final Fantasy XIII. Each character begins the game with 2 command slots which you can fill with moves. Basic moves will use only 1 slot, while other moves will use multiple slots. An example of this is early on you might choose to fill your bar with 2x slash attacks (each using 1 command slot) or 1x icicle spell (which does aoe damage, but takes both slots for the turn). As you progress through the game, characters will gain more slots (the current planned maximum is 6 slots, and I expect skills to take between 1 and 3 slots each).
For each character you’ll be able to define 3 command sets. This is a preset of commands that you can use to quickly fill your command bar. This allows you to define a set of moves that you use often, and choose that set for the turn with 1 click, rather than choosing all the spells every time.
Skills will range from single target magic damage, to heavy aoe attacks, to buffs to your characters, to heals, to attacks that deal damage over X number of turns. See the character system for more information on skills.
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As you progress through the world you’ll visit various areas. You’ll encounter towns, forests, caves, mountains, and more along the way. While there will be a main storyline that you follow as you progress, you’ll encounter hundreds of side quests to complete. Some of them will be incredibly simple, such as exploring a mountain searching for a flower to help cure a character’s illness. Others will be much more in depth, and may span a large course of the game. While these are completely optional, you’ll find tons of story, powerful items, and special bosses as you do these quests.
An example of one of the many detailed maps you'll explore
At any time in the game you can have up to 4 characters in your party, but you’ll find other characters to join you as you complete both the main storyline and side quests. You’ll be able to swap these characters in and out of your party whenever you are not in combat.
There will be 5 classes in the game (Knight, Archer, Cleric, Wizard, and Rogue). All characters will have a class, and you’ll be able to change your class at any time. When you win battles as a specific class, you’ll gain experience for that class. All 5 classes will have a separate level. For example, you might have a character that is a level 7 wizard and level 3 cleric. Each time you level up a class, you gain access to choose 1 of 2 skills for that class. One example of this is that when you hit cleric level 4 you can choose between a spell that does shadow damage over time to a target enemy or a spell that slightly heals each member of your party. This allows you to customize how your characters play, even if you want multiple characters of the same class.
When a character is currently in a specific class, they gain a bonus. A character who is currently a Wizard might gain +40% wisdom stat, -20% magic damage taken, but also -30% defense stat. You can level up characters as a single class (up to level 10), or level them up in multiple classes in order to mix and match spells. However, your character level (which defines how much stats you have) is separate. So even if you are constantly leveling up different classes you get different skills, your main combat level will continue to rise, and you’ll still become more powerful as you level. That way you aren’t forced into a single class until you max it out.
In addition to class stats, some characters will be tailored towards certain classes. Each character will have a trait which defines a permanent bonus they have. One optional character, might, for example, have a “Wise” trait that increases their wisdom by 10% and mana by 10%. While it won’t shoehole them into a single class, you might find the bonus worth it to focus on classes that rely a lot on spells (wizard and cleric, for example). The main characters will likely have more general traits that will apply to all 5 classes.
Rather than a typical JRPG item system, I expect to have a very customizable item system. Items that drop will have randomized enchantments (possible in the form of affixes). That way, if you’re fighting in an area and you get 3 Short Swords, you might find that one of them comes with +strength, one with +agility, and the other with +gold find and +haste. I’m also debating other forms to further customize items that you get, such as an enchantment system, to add additional bonuses to items, along with a socketing system, in order to place gems in items to give them further effects.
Not all items will be randomized though. Special items (in particular, very powerful items) will have set stats, though you may be able to customize them through gemming and enchanting. The game will include many dungeons for you to search for these items, some dropping from powerful bosses, others hidden through treasure chests scattered throughout the land.
I’m also playing with the idea of a crafting system. The idea I’m currently playing around with is that you don’t need to spend time leveling up your crafting skill to craft anything, but if you do level it up, you are likely to get better bonuses to the items that you make. This way if you ignore crafting through the game, but want to craft some powerful weapons towards the end, you’ll be able to. But if you invest the time into leveling up crafting, you’ll be able to get those extra little bonuses that may help you defeat the extra powerful boss.
The game will include a large number of goals. There will be a giant collections of achievements to go after, minigames (currently setting my sights on also included a card game that you will discover cards for as you explore the world), side quests, dungeons, and much more.
A house with test dialog/test avatar
While I am actively working on the game, I expect that this will take quite a long time to finish. I’ll probably be taking weekends off to participate in Ludum Dare, and maybe even putting it on hold for other projects (for example, if I feel the urge to work on Diamond Hollow 3 or Trisphere 4.0). However, feel free to ask any questions you have about the game, and I’ll do my best to answer them!