A path of art and design to create Reverie Knights Tactics

Hello! I am EdH Müller, producer, director and illustrator of Reverie Knights Tactics. On behalf of the entire 40 Giants team, we want to thank you for exploring our game! Find it in the Microsoft Store (Argentina, chili, Colombia Y Mexico).

40 Giants Entertainment is an independent game developer from southern Brazil. To achieve this game, we worked in co-production with Hype Animation and Jambo Editora. Music and sound design is by Yo-Ho Musik Arsenal. The game is published by 1C Entertainment. Our development journey began in 2017, and now here we are, publishing our baby on Xbox!

It’s a special occasion for all of us, considering all the years Xbox has been in our lives and the incredible tactical and RPG games we’ve played on consoles. Many memories! We have always been passionate about the genre and when we decided to develop our own game, we knew we would face many challenges during the process that I would like to talk about in this post. But first, I’d like to tell you what it’s all about Reverie Knights Tactics.

Reverie Knights Tactics is a tactical turn-based RPG with strategic battles on isometric grids where every decision can alter the story, as well as the reactions of the NPCs and the way you customize the characters. Here you can craft new items and equipment from the treasures you collect on your travels through a fantasy world in an epic adventure based on the Storm RPG campaign setting. In battle, each character will have a large number of unique abilities to choose from, and depending on the situation, they will be able to perform special attacks as a team. You’ll also be able to use a wide variety of interactive elements on each map and consumable items that you can prepare to change the flow and outcome of any encounter!

game design

Creating and balancing the core systems (battles, character progression, and abilities) was the hardest part. The game needed to favor strategy, without losing accessibility and without becoming too difficult. Also, due to the number of customization options, side quests, and decision-driven branching story, the difficulty of each battle can vary considerably. The abilities available at each character level needed to be interesting and useful so that players could create different strategic approaches, depending on their preferred play style.

In addition to that, each battle has extra objectives and each of them offers additional experiences. Managing the progress and final level to suit the game’s difficulty was difficult and required a lot of testing and spreadsheets. Talking about optional objectives brings us to level design. We always first outlined each battle on a blank grid, then integrated it into the game engine, putting in a lot of interactive elements that allowed the player (and enemies) to block paths or create new openings or damage and control their opponents, to make sure each stage not only looks different, but also plays and feels different.

There is an awareness system that will allow the player to walk unseen through the grid, as long as the character stays far enough out of the enemy’s line of sight. Each battle has a different set of additional objectives that will encourage players to go further to explore the setting and perform specific tasks that will give you more experiences to discover.

An early stage in the level design process

The game also features a special alignment system based on central story decisions that bring your character closer to chaos or order. Based on this, the story branches out and other characters’ reactions to you will change, which will affect battles and dialogue. These decisions will also affect the abilities available to each playable character, which in turn will influence strategy choices.

However, there are many elements other than design that distinguish this game from other titles:

Graphic material

As the illustrator of the game, this is a subject that I hold dear. All illustrations in the game were drawn by hand. It took nearly 400 sheets of paper to cover the entire set and I did each drawing with an HB mechanical pencil.

I’ve been working in illustration for over 20 years: comics, advertising, CD covers, band case designs, drinks, anything that needs good drawing and of course games! Work in Reverie Knights Tactics It was a true delight, definitely one of the best experiences to date.

Lookout in its early stages. Quite a complicated job by hand!

Drawing battle scenarios was the most challenging part of this project due to the sheer amount of detail that each of them has, as well as the multi-layered nature. This involved hours of sitting at my drawing table, both weekdays and countless weekends. My wife and cats were not happy to see me so busy, but I hope you enjoy the result while playing. All this without forgetting that I had three incredible helpers during the trip: Marcel Budde and Leonardo Tomazi, who helped me with the sketches of the stage assets, along with Carolina Mylius, the colorist who did the incredible job of coloring my drawings.

As for the characters, it was great to create new individuals for the Storm universe, which is very popular here in Brazil. It took me a long time to decipher their silhouettes as well as the distinctive features to make each one unique.

Original sketch by Mr. Garlos. Have you cooked today?

I hope you enjoyed this little story about the creation process of our design and development journey. Likewise, we hope you enjoy Reverie Knights Tactics. Find it on Xbox One (and backward compatible for Xbox Series X|S) and Windows PC (Argentina, chili, Colombia Y Mexico).