Tactical RPG Krater Begins Testing Signup

Top-down girl, she's been living in a top-down world

A top-down RPG with crafting, tactical combat, single player or cooperative squad control, and the possibility of permanent injury or death. That’s the early word on Krater, which we’ve learnt a little more about since first seeing evidence of its existence. Some thoughts on that below, along with a teeny snippet of in-game footage. There are also testing signups ongoing, which you can find out about here.

That doesn’t clarify a huge amount, although I do now know that numbers will fly out of peoples’ faces when they are shot. Among the things I’m still unsure about is the mission structure, as talk of rotating squad members and mission selection is suggestive of a menu-based system rather than discovery of tasks in-world.

Combat is being built around a Baldur’s Gate type system, with a slow-paced approach that makes skill and inventory management more important than clicks per second. At present, there’s no pausing although the devs have suggested that it may be added for single player.

More people should be invited to join the testing process next weekend. It seems to be primarily a check of online features, which are a focus, despite the single player campaign being the central component. Here’s that signup link again.


  1. Suits says:

    Pre-alpha testing should begin soon

    • Heliocentric says:

      The phrase pre alpha testing always makes me imagine a room full of people shouting what they are trying to do to the coders and them programming it in live.

      Surely if the core of the game is not there then you can’t test it?

    • paterah says:

      Pre-alpha testing does sound a bit absurd I guess but it depends from game to game. But yeah, the term alone gives the impression the game will be barely working.

    • Gnoupi says:

      The problem is that last years have seen demo (or even release) becoming “beta”, and beta becoming “alpha”.
      These words have been used so often recently, and for plenty of different meanings, that it doesn’t make sense anymore.

      Alpha should be the game engine mostly done, lacking content.
      Beta should be feature-complete, and the time of killing the bugs.
      Gold should be feature-complete, almost bug-free, and tested on several configurations, ready to burn on cds.

      But now, you have releases with countless bugs which make the game unplayable.
      You have “zero-day” patches, meaning that gold and actual release are not same anymore.
      You have “pay for beta to play already”, which is in fact “fund us while we develop and add stuff to our proof of concept”.

    • Suits says:

      I guess this is with a large amount of placeholders, testing certain processes instead of the game and the content itself.

  2. Lars Westergren says:

    Looks really nice, namedropping BG always a plus. I also realised today I’m working in the same building as Fatshark, a couple of floors up.

  3. Heliocentric says:

    The joke about tactical RPG’s is (there are fixes like level scaling etc) is that while a game could easily be both(alot of shared sensibilities) they are generally neither.

    If you can level up, then tactics are replaced by power all too easily, if the game bans you from losing (reloading) , or ignores any losses you take or perhaps has branching you are nearly always just plodding towards one ending.

    I know some RPG’s and tactical games fix these respective issues but the tactical RPG’S just stick there fingers in their ears and say “la la la la la”.
    I still love them as a whole, but a tactical RPG where you had no levelling and a freeform campaign (think mount & blade), that’s love you are feeling right there.

    • Malawi Frontier Guard says:

      You talk about tactical RPGs as if they were an everyday thing. I don’t even know what they are if the game in the trailer is one.

    • syndrome says:

      @Malawi Frontier Guard
      Baldur’s Gate (2)?
      Surely, it’s more RPGesque than really tactical, but tactical RPGs inherit the same rules from MMORPGs (or it’s the other way around, idk), so you basically have the tank, the healer, and the wizard, etc.
      Tactical RPGs obviously can’t implement real-world tactics, unfortunately, due to the reasons explained by Heliocentric.

    • InternetBatman says:

      Lack of permadeath makes every game less tactical, but it’s not something that the public at large is crying for. Also, think of it as a continuum, the games aren’t tactics games but they’re more tactical than fps RPGs like New Vegas or what have you. Finally, the post doesn’t give enough credit to the changing tactics of enemies as you progress. Sure you can faceroll orcs in a D&D game at higher levels, but you can’t faceroll mindflayers, beholders, or marileths.

      @Syndrome. That’s just what it means to be an RPG. Each party member has a role to play and can’t do everything. MMOs are just an extreme distillation of this.

    • Wizardry says:

      @Heliocentric: A game doesn’t need levelling up to be an RPG.

      @syndrome: Tank, Wizard and Healer? So do non-tactical RPGs. I don’t know what you’re saying here.

      @Malawi Frontier Guard: Temple of Elemental Evil. Every Gold Box game. Wizard’s Crown and Eternal Dagger. Disciples of Steel.

    • Dariune says:

      Actually, one of the things which bothers be about modern “RPG’s” is the fact that classes can be broken down into healer, tank and Wizard.

      Its much more fun, if you have a party, to have a diverse amount of options which genuinly allow you to create a party of your choosing.

      Take the D&D ruleset. Yes you have your warriors, wizards and healers but there are so many more classes and upgrades/ abilities that one party is very different from the next.

      MMORPG’s just give you a very simplified version of that.

    • Malawi Frontier Guard says:

      @Wizardry: Well yes.

      I should have elaborated.

      My point is that because both Krater and these games could be reasonably called “tactical” and “RPGs” when they obviously won’t play alike, the term is too imprecise in context of Heliocentrics post, which assumes certain tropes to be present in these types of games (like level grinding), which are not at all universal when you actually extend the term to include all the games that meet both of these criteria.

    • feoinc says:

      UFO games? Aftermath, aftershock, afterlight….

  4. Raiyne says:

    Looks really cool! I like how old-ish game designs are being brought back fresh into modern games. Love tactics-oriented games. Can’t wait to try it.

  5. Syra says:

    Had my eye on this title, I’m a sucker for top down.

  6. wodin says:

    Nice (said in Jazz club style)..

    Actually scrap that, just watched the vid..how do you do tactics in realtime?

    Not Nice

  7. InternetBatman says:

    It looks cool, but I hope the writing’s good and it has large towns. An RPG can have a bad system and still be enjoyable with good writing (Arcanum), but bad writing can ruin a good system. It would be really neat if they let the system open to mods so people could put their PnP campaigns in the game, like they did in NWN.

  8. Wizardry says:

    I was all excited until I played the video. What? It looks like Warcraft III or something. A real-time tactical RPG? Yeah right.

  9. RegisteredUser says:

    Please singleplayer ALL the tactical squad battles/games.
    Thank you.

    This whole “oooh, let’s also add options for co-op”..and thus ruin the singleplayer experience(hello Borderlands) is such a miserable modern development.
    I am all for games like Counterstrike and L4D2(own both), and I can even understand that co-op in things like Serious Sam can make sense and be ultra fun.

    But there it is added on TOP of a sophisticated singleplayer game as an option, not basically a torn apart game if you dare to play alone like Borderlands is.

    I have a deep and strong worry that it is this kind of thing that could threaten this game.
    Basically: Don’t let me notice that there is also an option for multiple players during anything singleplayer, ever.

    • Ruffian says:

      While i understand your point, I don’t really get the example of borderlands on the grounds that I’m fairly sure it was always a co-op centric project. Expecting so much from the single player of a co-op game is a little over-optimistic. Also L4D is just as bad singleplayer. probably worse considering you can’t play it on anything other than easy on account of the semi-retarded companion AI. Whereas Borderlands you can at least finish on your own, even if it is a hollow trudge through a deserted boring wasteland. What they shoulda done with both L4Ds is let you take control of one of the other survivors when you go down so you can walk over and get yourself up again, instead of lying there in vain watching your teammates chase down all the remaining zombies before finally turning to find you half eaten and long dead.

  10. fatshark_mwd says:

    There is permadeath and permanent injuries in the game.

    We use pre-alpha as a term as alpha means every feature is in the game, which is not true here.

    The tactical part of the game is that you decide when to engage in battle. The fights most of the time consist of a few enemies so you need to think how you will break the group, if you want to kite them or if you want to lure them into traps.

    Even though it is real time, what defines the outcome of each encounter is when you use the special skills and in what order and also how you engage them. If you run straight into enemies further into the game you will die if yu havent planned how to engage.