How Cris Tales Designed Unique Characters Using Their Mechanics

The JRPG style has a storied historical past, acclaimed for its epic narratives, character designs, and often sturdy sense of development through level-ups and stat attributes. Franchises like Square Enix’s Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest have been round for many years and proceed to encourage untold numbers of individuals. Desires Integrated CEO and SYCK co-founder Carlos Andres Rocha Silva considers JRPGs to be his favourite style, and used it to floor the manufacturing of Cris Tales.

Silva mentioned he all the time tries to “discover distinctive methods of interacting” with video games, and for Cris Tales that got here within the type of seeing the previous, current, and future . Making the sport a JRPG provided the benefit of working with well-known style conventions to offset his group’s occassional battle to encapsulate its formidable targets. Recreation Rant spoke to Silva about utilizing this groundwork to let the time mechanics at Cris Tales‘ core flourish and inform how its most important characters had been designed. Minor character spoilers forward.

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Cris Tales’ Influences and Crisbell’s Energy

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Although JRPGs had been an enormous affect on Cris Tales‘ design and aesthetics, so too had been Japanese media like manga and anime, in addition to the works of the Walt Disney Firm and Cartoon Community reveals like Samurai Jack or Foster’s House for Imaginary Mates. Silva describes the sport as “a bit journey to Colombia in a romanticized and unbelievable approach,” with many areas primarily based on its builders’ homeland, and the primary protagonist Crisbell imagined as a Colombian Disney Princess.

Crisbell begins Cris Tales as an orphan within the city of Narim, and thru the speaking, prime hat-wearing frog Matias comes into contact with a stained-glass mural in Narim’s cathedral that unlocks her powers as a Time Mage. Her command over time crystals allow her to see into the past and future; the world divided into thirds with a triangle like on the murals Crisbell visits in settlements the world over. She will be able to manipulate issues in several instances with Matias’ assist, and through battle is ready to ship enemies to the previous or future with the Sword of Time.

Silva mentioned Crisbell is cliched by design, a personality who would not know tips on how to wrap her head round her powers with out coaching and steering. Nevertheless, these powers develop into the central pillar for the sport’s world design, puzzles, and fight. The time crystals are additionally a foundation for the sport’s dual-language title pun: Cris Tales could be learn as “crystals” in English, or as “cristales” in Spanish.

“That was a homage we wished to pay to the video games of outdated; beginning off in an orphanage, getting a sword, turning into a superheroine. On the identical time, we wished to provide you a way of shock.”

How Cris Tales’ Primary Forged Grew Out of Their Mechanics

If Crisbell is a character who represents time itself, her companions all through the journey characterize relationships to that central mechanic. Silva mentioned 4 intimately:

  • Christopher, a Area Mage who assaults with elemental spells, represents “the volatility of various components and the way they modify over time.”
  • Willhelm, a veteran Time Mage trapped in a boy’s physique, represents “the unimaginable progress of nature that takes very lengthy” by means of his command of Yucca-inspired Yucandragoras vegetation.
  • JKR-721, an android with immense bodily prowess who has lived 1000’s of years, is unaffected by time – and is the one social gathering member who can transfer by means of time crystals with out help.
  • Zas, an brisk lady with a magical bag full of varied gadgets to throw at enemies, represents randomness impressed by characters like Final Fantasy 6‘s Setzer Gabbiani. The group thought it could be attention-grabbing to have a gambler with the power to rewind time and take a look at once more.

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These characters had been constructed round their mechanics, as Silva mentioned he designs in an unusual approach “not solely about what they need and want.” For instance, Christopher’s angle is that of an explosive younger Shonen protagonist who feels he can deal with something earlier than going by means of traumatic occasions that make him notice the advantages of counting on others. Willhelm is impressed by the trope of “doom” spells in JRPGs, having used his powers to cease an imminent countdown towards loss of life however trapping himself in time to take action.

Cris Tales‘ most important mechanic, “Be taught from the previous, act within the current, create your future,” was used like an analogy for every characters’ journey, and Silva mentioned they wished gamers to expertise that sense of progress. Some character shaping was achieved with assist from people similar to Mark Nelson, who served as a designer at Bethesda from 2000 to 2007 on video games like Fallout 3 and The Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind.

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“All these characters interacting with this central pillar allowed for pure interactions. They had been already associated mechanically, and their personalities had been primarily based on these mechanics. So we allowed them to be, in a approach tried to provide voice to the character traits that outlined them.”

One of many solely actual difficulties in designing Cris Tales’ characters was giving all of them enough display screen time so gamers can get to know every member of their social gathering, based on Silva. Each member of the group talks throughout cutscenes, however solely three people can do battle without delay. An answer the group got here to was solely making sure characters out there at totally different elements of the sport so, “You get to essentially hear the voices of the characters you are with.”

The battle mechanics they delivered to the desk provided quite a bit to steadiness, together with altering time zones, standing results, enemies transferring between totally different elements of the display screen, and extra. Nevertheless, Silva mentioned balancing it was “extraordinarily enjoyable” in-part because of sturdy character ideas actually designed to work off each other. Focusing issues round Crisbell’s central pillar did result in “tough selections” like slicing out combos with greater than two characters, as seen in games like Chrono Trigger. Fortunately, Silva believes these overflowing concepts “most likely will” seem in future video games.

Cris Tales is on the market now on PC, PS4, PS5, Stadia, Change, Xbox One, and Xbox Sequence X/S.

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