Former Helldivers 2 lead writer’s next game is “Fire Emblem if it were published by Annapurna”

By admin May14,2024


The former lead writer of charming super-fascist simulator Helldivers 2 is working on a strategy and tactics RPG in the vein of Nintendo and Intelligent System’s Fire Emblem games, which aren’t available on PC and as such, are a complete mystery to you, a lifelong desktop warrior who would sooner cut their hand off than suffer it to brush against one of those filthy Nintendo witches, I mean Switches.


To fill you in, Fire Emblem is known and sort of celebrated for being a rich ensemble fantasy story with character permadeath. Helldivers 2, meanwhile, is a game in which people are as expendable as bullets, and the storytelling is deliberately brittle because it consists largely of clownish propaganda. Put the two sets of inspirations together, and what do you get? You get a headline, that’s what. Beyond that, we can only dream.


“We just decided to spin off into our own company and we’re making a tactics strategy RPG like Fire Emblem,” the aforesaid lead writer, Russ Nickel, comments in a recent chat with the Inverse. “But it’s very narrative-heavy, so Fire Emblem if it were published by Annapurna. So a deeply indie, emotionally poignant tactics game, that’s also of course very funny with character-based comedy.”


Nickel didn’t go into huge depth about the game, which seemingly isn’t yet titled and doesn’t have a publisher, but he did add that it’s important that the story and mechanics support each other – and that the resulting mixture owes something to his own struggles with OCD.


“The idea was the medium has to reflect the narrative and vice versa,” he went on. “Helldivers 2 does a really good job of that. But for a tactics game, what does that really entail? It’s so much thinking, so much moving the pieces to be this master chess player.”


“I’m someone who has OCD that I’m very medicated for, so I’m like an extreme perfectionist, and I’m constantly fighting against my perfectionism. So I thought a tactics game could be really cool because you’re constantly trying to do the exact right formulating with all your pieces. So just like a silly little example, in the game when you replay a battle you can’t just hit replay battle, because what does that even mean? Those people are already dead. That doesn’t make any sense.


“So what replaying a battle actually is, after the battle, it’s the main character just sitting at camp being like ‘Oh my God, what did I do wrong? I messed that up so bad, can I do better?’ The whole thing is about perfectionism, OCD, and overthinking, and maybe learning that that’s not quite so good.”


I look forward to laying eyes on the game – it certainly sounds like it’s trying to do a lot of different things at once. It’s of course worth noting here that while Helldivers 2 isn’t an RPG, its approach to live-service programming takes hefty inspiration from table-top roleplaying.

By admin

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