Realms Beyond Announced

Remember when bitComposer and Coreplay announced Chaos Chronicles back in 2012 and then had a falling out that ultimately resulted in the RPG being cancelled? Well, last month, Bavarian-based developer Ceres Games revealed Realms Beyond, a new fantasy CRPG that has risen from the ashes of the original, ill-fated game, thanks to the involvement of some of its core developers.

The game is inspired by classics such as the Gold Box, Ultima, Wizardry, and Baldur's Gate series, will take a turn-based/RTwP approach to combat, and will leverage Wizards of the Coast's 3.5 Edition Open Gaming License, so it's certainly worth keeping your eyes on. And you can do so by following the blog on the official website, where I'll pull from a post on the combat system:
Do you remember a very influential RPG that was released during the late 90s? One that actually pretty much single-handedly revived complex RPGs as a genre? Naturally, we’re hinting at Baldur’s Gate here. The game introduced the world to the concept of real-time combat with a pause button. It played very similar to what was already a very popular genre on the PC at the time, Real-time Strategy Games.

When “Baldur’s Gate” arrived, RTwP was a new and exciting way of implementing combat and it was instantly embraced by fans. It felt fresh and ripe with opportunities. And maybe that’s what it took to revive the genre. In today’s market, however, both real-time and turn-based combat systems are pretty much on the table. Players have experienced both. Some players prefer one system, some prefer the other. Both have their advantages and disadvantages but for the vision that we had for Realms Beyond, we always felt that a turn-based system is much closer to what we’re aiming at—bringing back some of the elements of the old-school games we enjoyed in our youth.

So, sure, nostalgia played a large part in our decision. Although at the same time, a turn-based system offers some distinct advantages over real-time combat. Foremost the fact that it pretty much eliminates the element of hand-eye-coordination and puts the focus squarely on strategy and tactics. Clicking and hitting pause fast enough is no longer important, and while that may sacrifice the adrenaline rush that comes with the more action-oriented real-time approach, it enlarges the intellectual scope of combat, makes it more transparent and centres it around the decisions you make. You can take all the time you want to make your decisions. Like a chess player, you can go through a deep-thought process and evaluate different solutions and approaches for the problem at hand. In the end, instead of the speed of your fingers, your personal analysis of and reaction to the situation will be the key factor that determines the outcome of combat.

If ever there was any doubt in our minds, it was completely eradicated the moment we started playing the pen&paper version of D&D in our spare time again. The fun we had when all the players at the table chimed in with their opinions what each, single character should do during their turn was priceless. When you’re dealing with several, vastly diverging opinions as to what the right move is, you just feel the incredible potential that such a free-reeling approach has to offer. “Don’t waste your healing word on me! Save it for the Fighter!”, “If you don’t cast your Wall of Fire now, we will all be in trouble!” Sound familiar? these are the kind of thought processes we want to evoke in a battle in Realms Beyond. It’s fun and it is immensely satisfying, even if you have to do some of the arguments with yourself.

The majority of cRPGS over the past decade or so have used some kind of real-time combat system, both tactical and some more action-orientated. There have been, however, two notable exceptions that have been quite relevant to the genre, providing turn-based fantasy combat: The Temple of Elemental Evil developed by the development studio Troika Games (you are being missed) and Divinity: Original Sin by Larian Studios.

And then I'll leave you with the four gameplay videos released to date: