E3 2017: First Look At GreedFall Promises a New World of Conflict

I always love getting to cover games made by Spiders. Unfailingly janky and riddled with bugs, I still can’t help but spend days trapped in their narrative webs. I’ve come to describe them as the Cannon Films of massive open-world companion based RPGs: full of heart, a fraction of the budget. The scale of what they manage to create has always been the biggest selling point. Even the relatively constrained Of Orcs and Men painted a picture of a much larger and more interesting world (still crossing my fingers for a sequel). They’ve gotten progressively more bold and expansive with every game, with The Technomancer my 2016 guilty pleasure. If you need a better sense of how I feel, go ahead and read the last paragraph of that review.

Spiders is looking to once again up the ante with GreedFall, a new IP set amidst the struggle of a colonial expansion. Familiarize yourself with the trailer, because it has guns and and monsters and is awesome:

So I’ve seen all kinds of comments like, “Bloodborne and Witcher mashup!” Where my mind jumped immediately was Risen 2, my all-time favorite grand champion guilty pleasure open-world companion based RPG (check out my ELEX coverage soon!). So in the realm of guilty pleasure RPGs, GreedFall is already starting at a high bar.

I usually like to be more prepared going into an interview, but in this case the trailer and a few sparse articles were really all I had to go on. Luckily the people over at Focus Home Interactive were able to set me up with two of the devs, Sébastien Di Ruzza and Marie-Cécile Jacq, to fill in the holes in my knowledge. I had the sense that the game was colonialists vs. natives, but the game actually has five different factions to align yourself with. Ranging from merchants to mercenaries to natives, each of the teams has their own morals, motivations, goals, and special companion to join you on your quest.

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What quest is that exactly? Well the world of GreedFall has a bit of a plague problem. All along the mainland people are dying in droves, while the native and wild inhabitants of this uncivilized island are seemingly immune. The dominant church, longtime healers and practitioners of light magic, are none too fond of this. With a promise of reward and the looming specter of painful plague death, the various factions head to the island in search of a cure. Starting as a neutral party, it’s up to you to decide how to go about working with everyone to reach that end.

So standard RPG fair, but the people at Spiders are striving to make that experience feel meaningful. They stressed that they don’t want there to just be a best ending where everyone works together. Get everyone to work together? Good for you! There’s an ending for that. Want to be a murderous colonialist? Glory to the empire, death to the savages, good for you! Want to become a radical native and push back civilization in favor of the spirits of nature? Burn their cities, smash the relics of their church, good for you! They don’t want choices to be just right or wrong, but reflections of how you want to build your story.

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It’s a lofty promise, and those that remember The Technomancer will regard this with much scrutiny. The Technomancer‘s greatest shortcoming was how constrained and linear it felt. You spent so much time locked into the main hubs, you didn’t get enough time to learn about the various factions outside of brief snippets in some of the quests. How the heck am I supposed to make an informed decision about the resistance vs the army if I don’t get to talk to their leader until way after I decide whether or not to defuse the bomb?

GreedFall seeks to remedy that by opening up your options both in and out of combat. First off, equipment will no longer be locked to certain characters. According to the devs, the only combat avenue blocked off to you is the native magic, which will still be available through use of their companion. You’ll be able to swap between two different weapons, giving you a choice in how you want to approach a combat situation. Do you want to equip an armor rending two-handed hammer, then switch to a dagger for some bleed effects? Or do you want to use two different firearms, allowing you to dish out more damage before reloading? Coupled with more easily readable and consistent indicators for status effects, it promises to bring the combat a level of choice and complexity unattainable in previous titles.

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Combat, however, is more than ever a choice in GreedFall. While they are dedicated to creating a complex combat system for those that want to delve into it, they were adamant that players who want to focus on the diplomacy would find just as much to experience. Make deals between factions, help out various NPCs, wheel and deal your way into advantageous positions. Become a paragon for truth, or lie cheat and steal your way to victory. Once again, how you play is up to you.

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GreedFall is an ambitious concept, made even more intriguing by the unique setting. On the border between magic and science, the era is one where schools of alchemy and medicine exist side by side. Industry and firearms are quickly pushing back the wilds and superstition, but very real magical monsters lurk just beyond the treeline. With the expansive world, unrestricted exploration, and multiple factions, the people at Spiders promise an experience that can keep you entertained for weeks.

So check back in for more about GreedFall as it develops. It won’t be out until 2018 (PC, PS4, Xbox One), giving plenty of time to learn more about this ambitious title. I’m curious, what do you all think? Fan of previous Spiders games? Do you think they will live up to all of their promises? Let me know below, and once again enjoy another art gallery!

Written by Ted Hentschke

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