Today I’ve got some more concept work from GREEN KNIGHT for you! The character above is a master swordsman, with a prominent role in GREEN KNIGHT. He’s a fun character to field, and a delight to watch. He’s a bit… chimp-looking, but in a lean, horrid way. Would you agree?
You know, time passes, and I often wonder where the idea for this game first sprung up. I don’t think there was a specific moment, really. I think it was more a slow realization that I eventually wanted to make a Strategy RPG and just… expand on the formula. Evolve it. Take it some place new, you know?
That’s a bold endeavor, I know. But, there you have it.
Today, I’ll be talking about one of my favorite things about GREEN KNIGHT: abilities. It’s a long read, as many of these entries will be, but it’s also a worthy reflection of the time and consideration I’ve put into crafting GREEN KNIGHT into it’s own spicy blend of chaos ad beauty.
I couldn’t tell you how many times through the years that I’ve read interviews with game developers where they mentioned the struggle of finding balance in gameplay. It’s a real challenge, I admit. But personally, I don’t *always* want over-arcing balance. I think there’s a great, profound joy in figuring out how to exploit a system, and then breaking it entirely. From the artist’s perspective, I want all my work to have it’s day in the sun, but as a developer, I want you to smile broadly when you figure out unique ways to win. If that means some units are used less, then that’s just fine by me.
I want you to giggle as you see your units wrecking havoc on enemies. That, right there, is success. That’s good stuff. If you’re scooting closer to the screen, and making lists of things to do, and ideas to try… then the magic has worked.
I noticed it myself, long ago, playing Final Fantasy Tactics for the PS1. There were so many classes to choose from, and each (seemingly) had their own strengths and weaknesses. It was rare to meet someone who’d played the game, and the few souls I encountered who did said they’d found it far too difficult, and quit within the first mission or two. Admittedly, the characters at your command *were* very weak: mainly chemists and pathetic little squires wearing leather armor and carrying daggers. Winning *was* hard. Rewarding, but hard. As I played, I experimented with different classes, and spent a considerable amount of time trying to judge which abilities, and secondary abilities, would improve my units and beef them up a bit. As with life itself, there were many ways to win. There were many paths to take.
One ability shined brightly above all the others: Double sword.
To learn Double sword you had to be a knight. To be a knight, you had to be a Lv2 Squire. Now, the fun part! Once you’d finally learned Double sword, you could carry a sword in each hand. It also meant you had, not one, but TWO turns to attack! Are you smiling yet? Do you see where this is going?
It was INCREDIBLY useful. The other benefit was that, as a secondary ability, you could be another class WHILE using double sword. So, if you wanted, you could be chemist and carry a dagger in each hand. Not that you would… want to… but, hey, you could!
I quickly found that double sword was winning battles for me faster than I could start them. Before that, battles had taken ages to win, and I’d needed multiple attempts before finally getting a lucky run and managing to keep everyone alive. Double sword had changed all that. At times, it was pretty brutal to watch, and I fucking loved that. The game had been structured a certain way, and this one simple ability was allowing me twice as many turns to attack when squaring off against other enemies. I can’t tell you the joy I felt seeing helms and shields break; it sounded like breaking glass, and it was music to my ears.
Before long, I was leveling other characters with the intent of having four of them using double sword. Do the math there, and you’ll realize that meant I was also buying eight swords for my units each time a shop had new upgrades. And yet, I did so willingly, smitten as I was.
I learned a lot about the joy of gameplay from that experience.
Win your own way!
Fun fact: that weird, semi-transparent strands of goo you occasionally see floating across your field of vision are chunks of protein in your cornea. Apparently it’s completely normal. Crazy, huh?