Upcoming strategy-RPG City of The Shroud looks notable enough on a purely mechanical level, but studio Abyssal Arts's unusual release plans for it are especially interesting. While a concrete 'definitive' edition of the game will be launching next year, the initial release this August will be episodic, and the cumulative, democratic choices of all players will determine how the plot of each successive episode will play out, and how a city-wide power struggle will be resolved.
All the story branching in the world wouldn't matter if the game wasn't interesting, but I do quite like the look of City of the Shroud's offbeat fantasy setting. Roughly turn-of-the-century, interdimensional magic and a little bit of steampunk-ish tech, all glued together with a Latin American aesthetic - it reminds me of Dishonored, but a little weirder. Despite being a grid-based strategy RPG, battles also play out in real-time, although there is an optional time-pausing mode that lets you take your time choosing attacks, at least in single-player battles.
As an aside, the music on that trailer just a bit on the Guilty Gear side, no? Not that I'm complaining, and I hope there's more of that in the game itself. That, plus the non-traditional setting, diverse cast and mechanical weirdness all adds up to an intriguing bundle of ideas.
While the story side of the game does seem to be mostly single-player focused (albeit with the larger meta-plot being driven by the entire player community), there will also be structured PvP. Given that battles appear to be quite close and personal 4v4 brawls, it'll be interesting to see how this one shakes out as a competitive game, assuming it draws enough of a crowd when the first episode launches. I'm eager to see how it all works on a mechanical level when it launches this August.
City of the Shroud's first episode hit via Steam on August 9th, with a multi-platform 'definitive edition' set to launch in 2019. You can wishlist it here.