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RPG Celestian Tales: Old North Developer Interview

The moral-driven, JRPG styled Celestian Tales: Old North developed by Ekuator Games will be coming out August 11th for PC, Mac and Linux. The following interview with EG should shed some light on what you can expect from this game.

ZF: The game seems to draw very heavily on influences from RPGs of the SNES and PlayStation era. I’m reminded of some Final Fantasies, SaGa Frontiers, and a few others watching the videos and looking at screenshots. Were there any games that had a direct impact on this one?

3qGZ_cIaiD4ZCXVgXDF1BE83S707J8QARr_pE4D2ZzUEG: There are so many games from that era which inspired Celestian Tales: Old North. The major one [is] the Suikoden Series for [its] politics-heavy approach to storytelling and Legend of Mana for its incredibly beautiful painterly aesthetics. In terms of animation, though, we drew a lot of inspiration from Ragnarok Online. The resemblance is so uncanny that people often say we ripped them off when in fact we made all of our animations ourselves.

ZF: The concept of unique points of view seems very interesting. I know other games have done it, but SaGa Frontiers sticks in my mind for some reason. What inspired you to go that route of storytelling, rather than focusing on a few main protagonists in a party?

EG: The story was actually derived from the developers’ personal Dungeons & Dragons campaign. Being played by a person behind the character sheets, each character is a unique, deep, and complex creature instead of merely being fillers. It gave the campaign a sense that it’s really in a living, breathing world… and that’s what we’re trying to do in Celestian Tales.

ZF: The website seems to be playing a bit coy with the details of the wider world – will the game be smaller in scale or will it be a “travel around the globe” sort of adventure by the end?

EG: Old North is set in a small realm, merely a small province in one of the many nations in the world.

ZF: Since the game has a somewhat-retro look to it, will it support scaling to large resolutions and ultra-wide display ratios (e.g. 21:9 ultra-wide)?

ie8r2Y5FgpPHRMkKSxvdXVluEQLZVl1cFvimxcMqR0oEG: It’s made in 16:9 ratio, which is already a different beast than the true-retro 4:3. For other ratios the game will remain in 16:9 and fill the rest with black.

ZF: Are there any plans for an eventual sequel, prequel, or in-universe story, or will this be a one-off tale?

EG: We hope Old North can become the starting point for other Celestian Tales to come in the future. As previously stated, the game’s story was drawn from the developers’ personal Dungeons & Dragons campaign. We’ve been playing it for over ten years, with numerous campaigns and settings. We definitely have many other quality stories [up] our sleeves.

ZF: There has been a retro RPG reneassaince in recent years due to software like RPG Maker and Steam’s more liberal policies on green light. How do you guys feel about it?

EG: It’s great to see that people’s cravings for retro-style RPGs get answered. Modern tools and Steam’s policies definitely helped smaller developers, and more competitors are always better for the market. Some people instantly stamped our game as ‘another RPG-Maker Game’ even though we don’t use that tool at all – it’s our challenge to prove [to] them that Celestian Tales is different.

ZF: Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions.

We look forward to bringing you more about this game as it gets closer to the August 11th release date.

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Jeremy Stratton

Jeremy Stratton

Jeremy's lived long enough to see his favorite games making a comeback in High Definition and Indie games with old-school ideals. He also loves cooking and photography.