Set in an open world RPG Gyre: Nova State combines the popular gameplay style of games such as Witcher 3, Deux Ex: Mankind Divided and Middle: Earth Shadow of War but offsets it in a steampunk-esque universe. The developer Evodant Interactive have an acclaimed team that includes the ex-Bioware Producer/Designer who has worked on such titles as the Dragon Age series, Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2. The game aims to take elements of a table top game into a digital form, letting players have open ended storylines rather than being forced into a fixed number of story endings. The project is currently on Kickstarter with 193 backers with a goal of $150,000 CA ($115,500 USD) with 18 days to go at time this article was written. Let’s have look at how this steam punk action RPG tackles adaptive gameplay with none pre-determined story.
Gyre: Nova State Preview
Genre: action RPG
Developed by: Evodant Interactive
Published by: TBA
Release date: 2018
Platforms: PC, Mac, Playstation 4 and Xbox One
Gyre: Nova State Features
- Create your very own customized android
- Choices will influence you story, an adaptive story
- A game full of influence from factions/gangs
- Choose from different playstyles of combat, stealth, intrigue or diplomacy options.
- A large open world with roughly 150 square km to explore, full of thriving mechanical cities that change over time and a vast wilderness.
- A complex NPC character generation, their “real psychology” can determine if they are friend or foe, form groups/factions that have their own priorties.
- Crafting system with the ability to devise thousands of combinations of weapons, items and clothing.
- No filler quests but ones that have consequences that will not force the player to choose the role of hero or villain.
Story & Setting
In a world that is based on an alternate history, beginning in 1884, where over a dozen revolutions across continents Europe and Asia had a different outcome to the ones we know. What happens follows the mass, unrestricted technological experiment that results in new scientific discoveries enabling mankind to adopt android bodies as their own. Cities that became mechanized began to grow, these “gyres” as their known became the main focus of a new society full of androids.
As you make new discoveries, your actions will impact your story. Those you decide to make friends with or who become your enemies will change the way the story plays out. Factions or gang disputes can play out into actual wars. Missions with other cities may start out diplomatic in nature but eventually lead to conflict or unearthing a political plot. You may become the hero to your people or leader, but your support in a coup could have either good or bad implications.
Players will get an option to choose from a variety of avenues in which to start their story. These choices include visiting your “parents” who are actually people who have contributed materials and mind fragments to your so called “birth”, by joining them you may receive some advice to help you in your journey. Another option is to join factions and gangs who are in need of androids to join their cause. You can be hired by citizens to carry out certain deeds or merchants that are looking for runners/collectors. Join the city military as a scout or soldier; or join the city Corpus for a more diplomatic approach. You could ignore all these options and simply explore the world of the androids, but be warned as the more you discover the more you may fall into a much bigger plot…
Gyre: Nova State is an adaptive game, one that adheres to your play style. At times you choose paths to follow much like story driven games but you are never trapped in certain play style. You will still have the open options to try new avenues and adventures. Just because you can punch your way out of a fight doesn’t mean you can’t try talking your way out of one now and again. Rather than sticking to a pre-determine storyline, the game will generate a chain of events based on your actions alone, such as how you interact with NPCs. NPCs have the capability to respond based on “emotional reactions” that they face during certain events, creating complex behaviors.
What’s different about this game is that even death isn’t quite the same as other action RPGs. Instead of dying and respawning, androids never truly die. Droids can be restored to a new body with a backup, but with every death means restoring the mind, which can in-turn cause “fragmentation” if done too often, causing problems in future.
A big part of the Gyre: Nova State world is the number of factions that it contains, each faction has their own set of beliefs and could lead to unlocking new resources. There are five key factions which players can join and they can join more than one. However, certain factions have known rivalries meaning joining two rival factions can cause problems:
Association of Spiritual Recovery
Often labeled the “Nostalgics”, they believe they have left their souls behind. Most are ashamed of their beliefs they alternate between self-denial or ridding themselves of their unwanted thoughts.
One of the largest network of criminals, they are gangs that stem throughout the cities of lower France. With no HQ like most factions they are rumored to reside in the Undercity areas.
People’s Mechanical Alliance
Believing that humanity’s Great Leap Forward was just the beginning and the next leap is not far away.
Handling the city’s police duties and are identified by their blue arm bands. Mostly made up of Imperiants, but do not exclude the Couriants or Polariants as they also have a stake in keeping law and order.
They mainly believe in harmony amongst all creatures which not only includes Polariants, Couriants and Imperiants but all natural and hostile forces. Although not always fully abiding by the law, they do see it’s importance when chaotic events happen. They are one of the most rebellious forces that inhabit the city.
Gyre: Nova State has 3 character classes to choose from, each with own unique features:
Enjoying the ability to manipulate mechanical aspects with near-mystical abilities. Polariants are masters of strategy and are objective in nature.
The Imperiants are a force to be reckoned with as they have both strength in mind as they do physically. They pride themselves in conviction and do not take the path of apology easily.
Couriants are runners that can effortlessly navigate obstacles and paths without slowing down. They move freely and flow like water.
Characters also have unique personality related traits which include Awareness, Engineering, Memory and Willpower. These are traits that can be purchased using XP and will affect the way you interact with NPCs.
There are four dominant play styles in this game, they include Combat, Stealth, Diplomacy and Intrigue:
Taking the usual route of action RPGs, combat is based on the weapons you choose and there are a wide variety to choose from. Gyre: Nova State boasts that there is currently 4,350 variations in terms of weapon combinations, that does leave a vast choice when it comes to customization. Crafting is way to achieve different weapons but purchasing from Merchants is always an option. Weapons include melee, psionic (meaning psychic powers) and ranged which are crafted from different parts which plays into customization. Psionic weapons and items have the ability to target the core systems of another android without damaging them permanently.
Giving the player the option to stay hidden, gather vital clues and attack without warning. Stealth is enabled by gathering crafting materials, dampeners and magnetic technologies. By using stealth you can hack into other androids by hindering their senses.
The art of diplomacy is by taking a non-violent route, meaning talking your way out of situations. NPCs and groups will all behave and act differently depending on your treatment of them. Sharing vital information with someone, being truthful or dishonest will all affect the relationship you form with them. This also affects how they act towards you, which could be favorable or otherwise.
This involves revealing secret plots by using your characters abilities to convince those around them, to argue or bluff your way through certain situations. Investigate by use of overt or covert abilities to discover the machinations power.
Audio & Visuals
Sticking to a steam punk aesthetic, Gyre: Nova State combines the elements of machines with human like cities. The visuals are reminiscent to that of the Bioshock series but with a more dark sci-fi edge. The characters are incredibly detailed, and each have a unique look according to their character type. Weapons are also styled in steam punk style, adding to the full experience of this android inhabited universe. Even crafting uses punchcards, which is an older method of programming, it’s the little details that show the amount of passion put into this project.
The cities appear to be quite close quarters, but it seems to be to the advantage for the stealth gameplay style, allowing players to sneak from rooftop to rooftop if needed. The wilderness is a completely different feel/backdrop to the cityscape, offering a wide landscape to explore with watchtowers and underground mines.
The soundtrack is a mixture of futuristic elements with classical instruments, suiting different moods that are a part of the story. The composer does well to suit the industrialized android city, adding dramatic compositions that mirror the aesthetic of the steam punk world.
This steam punk inspired action game is a unique twist on the RPG genre. They set to bring a more table top feel to the game by offering players open ended story lines which is suitable for those who don’t necessarily want to choose the life of the hero or vigilante. It is often in story driven games, it dictates the gameplay and where the character has to go. But Gyre: Nova State sets to give players more control on the quests they undertake. While the game does take a risk in choosing not to have a dedicated main quest storyline, it could prove fruitful for those players who prefer to take control of their game.
Gyre: Nova State looks promising and I look forward to having a more indepth look into the combat systems, as this is usually something that can make or break a RPG. So far from what we can see in the trailer it’s extremely weapons based, which is ideal for those who love to customize gear and weapons. The idea of NPCs that react to events develop depending on interactions is quite something if it can be pulled off well, it will be interesting as it sounds like something close to AI development.
Gyre: Nova State is currently looking for funding on Kickstarter with a $150,000 CA ($115,500 USD) goal with 18 days to go at time this article was written. Evodant Interactive aim to bring this action RPG to PC, Mac, Playstation 4 and Xbox One.
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