What the heck is Guildlings?
Guildlings is a single-player episodic adventure for mobile, set in a world of wizards and wifi.
You play as Coda, a homeschooled teen who's had the unfortunate luck of activating a smartphone that was cursed by an ancient Guild. Now you must recruit your friends to become Guildlings, using their magical powers to free yourself from the curse - and save the world along the way.
What game genre is Guildlings?
Guildlings is basically a JRPG built for mobile, though it has elements of classic adventure and choose-your-own-adventure games as well. Unlike most mobile RPGs, our focus is firmly on story… you won’t spend a lot of time grinding or crafting gear. It’s designed for slightly longer play sessions, the sort of game you’ll play curled up on the couch or on a long coffee break as opposed to standing in a checkout line.
So what do you do in the game?
Here are some things you’ll do in the first chapter of Guildlings:
Embark on a grand Quest to Save the World
Reunite with long-lost friends
Duel with a grumpy kitchen appliance
Navigate a maze of trashbag-crabs
Annoy your big sister by insulting her love life
Collect tons of gold then spend it all on snacks
Snap selfies at the mysterious Makeout Temple
Narrowly avoid being crushed by a giant apocalyptic bird
No, tell me about the actual GAMEPLAY!
Ok, calm down! We'll do our best.
Gameplay is a mix of exploration, conversation and non-traditional combat, all connected by a mood-based character system. Each of your Guildlings has magic powers that can support you in the challenges ahead, but in the realm of Worldaria, magic is driven by emotions.
The easiest way to explain our mood-driven challenges is through an example. Imagine your Guild is trying to make its way through a forest, but a huge log has fallen across the path. One of your Guildlings, Syb, has a spell that can animate objects; she can bring the log to life and ask it to move over, but she can only manage this magical feat if she is feeling Confident. Right now, she’s not Confident, she’s Afraid (because of that recent run-in with a ghost, of course). As the player character, the Guildmaster, you have to figure out how to get Syb from freaked out to Confident before she can clear the path.
Along the way, Syb asks you a question about your quest. Can you answer in a way that inspires Confidence?
Syb and another Guildling, Prisma, get into an encounter with a giant slug. Can Prisma take a moment during the fight to cast some Confidence-building magic on Syb?
Using gold you acquired from treasure chests throughout the game, you bought a Confidence-building self-help scroll (single-use, dissolves after reading). Is this the right time to use that item?
Ultimately, there are multiple ways to achieve your goal. It’s up to you… and your Guildling teammates, who will remember and react to your choices.
So how does combat work in Guildlings?
Guildlings has its own take on the classic combat of RPGs. It shares a lot of the DNA of other turn-based battle systems, but we decided to do some things differently because we wanted to challenge the “kill everything” incentive structure of classic fantasy games. Those systems work well, of course… but we wanted our challenges to feel more appropriate for a group of magical kids getting in and out of dangerous (or absurd) situations. Like Undertale before us, we wanted to build a system where you didn’t have to resort to violence just to get by.
Instead of a fight to the death, each of our encounters take place over a set number of rounds. On each round, the Guild and their opponent each take an action, represented by written pages. Your team’s actions can be used to defend your characters against harm, shorten the encounter, or even change the final outcome of the conflict. This system freed us up to make physical dangers, but also to pit our guildlings against different sorts of challenges… insult duels, terrible smells, screamo music, boring anecdotes, you name it.
We’re still tweaking these encounters in our development build, but soon we’ll share some concrete examples so you can better understand how it all works.
What inspired the story of Guildlings?
One of the first things we ever made for Guildlings was an atlas of a magical-modern land, marked with scores of dreamlike road trip destinations. We imagined a car full of teenage wizards, knights and rogues hopping from state to state, discovering new things about their world as they crossed their continent. While our story evolved over time, the basic idea of that journey is still very much at the core of Guildlings.
In addition to JRPGs like EarthBound and interactive narratives like 80 Days, we were inspired by our love of great coming-of-age fiction (Harry Potter) and wonder-filled anime (Spirited Away) to tell a story that gets at the heart of being a young person making their way out into the world for the first time.
When can I play Guildlings?
Another great question! We know better than to drop specific dates, but we are VERY COMMITTED to getting this in player's hands on at least one platform by the end of the summer (that's summer 2018, in case someone in the future is reading this and laughing at our hubris).
What makes Guildlings special?
When we set out to make Guildlings, we had two major goals.
To build a fun, inspiring coming-of-age adventure for mobile.
To make the phone feel like a small portal into a large fantasy world.
It was a LONG road from here to there. It took us a while to figure out what our game WAS and WASN’T. We ended up making a game that celebrates empathy, a game that makes narrative choices into problem-solving tools, a game whose world and character were crafted with a huge amount of love and care from art, writing and design alike.
But in the end, those are just the things WE think make the game special. We’re hoping you’ll find other things to love, and tell us about them.