NeocoreGames has announced King Arthur: Knight’s Tale; a tactical RPG for PC and next-generation consoles that reimagines the Arthurian legend as a dark, gothic fantasy. Launching first on Steam in early 2021, the game is also planned for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X.
King Arthur: Knights Tale mixes an XCOM-style turn-based battle system with traditional RPG mechanics, including character development, choices that impact the direction of your campaign, and upgrading your home base of Camelot. The story follows Sir Mordred, who travels with a band of knights across Avalon in search of King Arthur. This is already an interesting twist on the classic legend, as Sir Mordred is King Arthur’s nemesis, traditionally shown as the king’s traitorous nephew. In this version of the tale, Mordred has actually mortally wounded Arthur, and is now stalking him through the isle of Avalon to finish the job on command of The Lady of the Lake.
The band of knights he travels with is, naturally, Neocore’s dark reimagining of The Round Table. Each of the 30 knights has a “traditional” RPG progression system, and can be permanently killed if they succumb to disease, curses, or straight-up battle wounds. Neocore notes that the game has roguelite elements, but told IGN that constant replays of the campaign are not necessarily part of that, and so it seems like permadeath characters may be where those elements come into play.
Sir Mordred and his knights will act as your troops in the XCOM-style turn-based tactical battles, which take place on battlefields that have been rendered using photoscanned environments and a physics-based rendering engine. The heroes you can recruit are assigned one of five different classes – including fighters and magic casters – and are able to make use of “hundreds” of skills and artefacts. You can also use traps and lures, as well as tactical use of cover and terrain, to put the enemy at a disadvantage.
Those enemies won’t just be men in plate armour. Thanks to that dark fantasy setting, this is an Arthurian tale filled with monsters that look like they take fashion advice from Dark Souls. There are seven enemy factions to clash with, made up from over fifty different enemy units, including bosses.
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As leader of the kingdom, it will be your job to oversee the issue of these terrors haunting Britannia, and manage and expand your Camelot stronghold. A campaign map, showing Camelot and the various locations across the kingdom, will allow you to choose which quest you take on next. As you make decisions, the consequences of your actions will be plotted out on a ‘Morality Chart’. Your position as ruled goes beyond the campaign, too, with a promised endgame mode.
NeocoreGames plans to release King Arthur: Knight’s Tale on Steam sometime in the first quarter of 2021, with console releases coming later. Ahead of that, though, there will be a Kickstarter campaign that launches today, October 13. Neocore notes regardless of if the crowdfunding goal is met or not, King Arthur: Knight’s Tale will release. The use of Kickstarter is to gather funds for additional features that the studio would like to implement, rather than actually making the core game.
Before the 2021 release, Neocore plans to release a beta in November. Hopefully this will provide a good insight into the kind of game Neocore has put together without the use of any Kickstarter funding.
Knight’s Tale won’t be NeocoreGames’ first experience with the Arthurian legends; the studio also created King Arthur: The Role-Playing Wargame, which mixed RPG elements with real-time tactics. Read our review of King Arthur 2 to find out more, as well as our review of the studio’s latest game, Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr.
Matt Purslow is IGN’s UK News and Entertainment Writer.