The Waylanders is a party-based RPG in the vein of Dragon Age and Pillars of Eternity that tells the tale of the first meeting between between the ancient Celts and their gods, the Tuatha de Danaan. Developer Gato Studio showed off the combat system last year (real-time with pause, as it should be) but the story is possibly an even bigger attraction: It’s being written by former Telltale designer Emily Grace Buck, Chris Avellone is also on the job (because of course he is), and former Dragon Age creative director Mike Laidlaw is a script consultant.
The studio released a new video today showcasing one of the early-game narrative interludes that will be used to push the story forward: Ith, the King of Brigantia, is about to lead the first delegation to the mythical home of the gods, but his hothead son, Lugaid, threatens to ruins decades of diplomacy with his youthful arrogance. Both characters will be quest-givers in the game, while the third NPC to appear in the video, the druid Amergin, will be available as a companion. The player-character can be seen in there, too—that’s their arm in the frame at around the 52-second mark.
“It’s a very narrative-driven game,” Gato Studio CEO Sergio Prieto said, adding that there will be several such interludes throughout the game.
The video also reveals the Vengeance, the sailing ship that will serve as a home base throughout the game—although it’s not just a sailing ship. It will also serve as a sort of portal between the Celtic and Medieval eras that make up The Waylanders’ time-traveling game world.
“We go deep into the Celtic myths to create the lore of our ship. The Vengeance is a magical ship that will navigate through a realm beyond reality,” Prieto said. “When you are on the ship, you are inside a magical mist that will help you to reach instantly any place with enough water to contain The Vengeance. It will be your base during all the game, and it’s there you will receive all the main missions and most of the loyalty missions. You will be able to travel to different locations and even travel in the timeline with it.”
The ship might bring to mind similar vessels in fantasy RPGs like Divinity: Original Sin 2 or Pillars of Eternity 2, but Prieto said it’s really more akin to the Normandy from Mass Effect.
“All the companions will have their rooms or areas decorated with their own personality. Similarly, you will begin every important mission from The Vengeance and you will have conversations that evolve in your relationship with your companions there as well. Apart from that, you will have an area to receive your ‘mail’ with mission-related and NPC letters. The correspondence will be received from Mourian crows that can cross a magical barrier surrounding The Vengeance and find your ship anywhere through space and time,” he explained.
“For us, the ship will be more like a narrative element. We will have missions and mechanics related to The Vengeance, but even though we thought during production to use it in combat mechanics or building a base, we decided to focus on new unique mechanics we have in the game, like Formations.”
Formations, as we noted last year, enable the party members to assemble in different arrangements, like Arrowhead or Phalanx, each offering unique advantages (and, presumably, disadvantages) in battle. Beyond that, though, party members can also join together in different formations to form giant magical beasts, kind of like a druidic Devastator, but hopefully more effective.
Gato Studio also recently released a “character creator preview” video, demonstrating some of the character customization options that will be available in the game—although half of the video is dedicated to combat.