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New Arc Line is a party-based steampunk RPG with notes of Bioshock and Dishonored

Story trailer introduces a gilded, rotten New World

A smoky coastal city with a docks, factorys spewing smoke, and a zeppelin in the background
Image credit: Fulqrum Publishing

Fulqrum Publishing have just released a story trailer for New Arc Line, a new steampunk fantasy RPG in which dragons rub shoulders with zeppelins, and dwarves are as abundant as air pollution. I hadn't heard of it before and am quite interested, partly because the game sports some wonderfully mangled and colourful dystopian maps, and partly because it's a story of immigrants trying to find their way to an inevitably deceptive "shining city of progress", rather than the typical Chosen One fare.

Your family specifically are afflicted by a fatal disease. Your initial and perhaps overall goal in New Arc Line is to find a cure, of course, but who knows, along the way you might have to "get your hands dirty", "rise from the bottom" and become some sort of absolute bastard. Take us away, trailer!

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"Craft technopunk gear or master the arcane arts, fight, steal or smooth-talk your way to the top and become the hero or villain you want to be," reads the Steam page. "You will not have to face the trials of this world alone, however; find your companions and gather your party, make foes and allies, fall in love, get involved in a massive conspiracy, and change the course of history forever."

There are four races - elf, dwarf, human and giant - six character classes and 12 subclasses which span the industrial-magical spectrum. If you hate dipping science in your sorcery, you can keep it fantastical and roll an elemental DPS in the shape of a Hellfire occultist, debuff people with Voodoo, or boost your allies as a Celestial sage. Or you can turn your nose up at such wishy-washy superstitious nonsense and get techy as a Steampunk mechanic, Dieselpunk engineer or Teslapunk scientist. I like a game with a selection of Punks. Combat is turn-based and appears to unfold on digestible, arena-sized maps, rather than slopping across whole levels as in Baldur's Gate.

Going by screens, the world itself is a wonderful spread of areas - there are gilded streets with bunting and wrought iron fixtures that suggest a table-top Bioshock Infinite, smoky factory docks with shipwrecks just off-shore that put me in mind of Dishonored, and some kind of crumbling temple that reminds me of... erm, well, a temple in some kind of RPG. Look, they can't all be evocative.

New Arc Line is out this year. I'm not entirely convinced by the cinematic direction on show in the trailer - or at least, I'm not sure the game's character models are at their best from those angles - but I think this might be worth your time regardless.

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