Building Tactical RPG Inspired by H. P. Lovecraft
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Wow, the YouTube video was released in November. How have I never seen it before? I've probably watched it three times in the past hour. It's an absolutely amazing production. What was the budget for this?

Building Tactical RPG Inspired by H. P. Lovecraft
19 January, 2017
The developers of Rise of the Elders: Cthulhu talked about their tactical RPG set in a world inspired by H.P. Lovecraft.



Our studio is called Strange Matter. Our studio objective is to develop a game system that we can use to
develop several games. Right now we are working on Rise of the Elders: Cthulhu, but if we are successful then we would like to make some sequels with different alien gods like Rise of the Elders: Azathoth or Rise of the Elders: Nyarlathotep. Once we gained some credibility and self-confidence we also would like to contact some famous RPG licenses (Pathfinders, Vampire: The Masquerade, The Legend of the Five Rings, etc) to see if we could make a spin-off using their worlds as well. The game system we are currently developing is basically compatible with everything that’s RPG oriented.

In parallel we would also like to explore other indie game possibilities like figurine boardgames or VR gaming… but it’s a bit soon to talk about that since we literally have 0 plan regarding that for now. It’s just something in the air. For now, we want to focus 200% on ROTEC.





Rise of the Elders: Cthulhu

ROTEC is a tactical RPG set in a world inspired by HP Lovecraft. It’s somewhere at the crossroad between XCOM (video game), The Call of Cthulhu (Table-top RPG) and Eldritch Horror (boardgame). Here is the link to our game presskit for a detailed list of features.

In addition to the presskit info, I would like to emphasize that the game system for Rise of the Elders has been designed with 2 objectives in mind:

  1. Create a challenging turn-by-turn combat system that’s wrapped up in a dynamic world full of player choices. To us, a good game is made of an awesome action phase but also of a very deep meta game in which you can do a lot of stuff. The action phase provides instant fun and the meta game provides the long-term progression required to really immerse you into the game. You need both.
  2. Make a game that’s playable anytime, anywhere. We all love playing board games, table-top RPGs and console games but we have less and less time to do so. That’s why accessibility is paramount to us. We want to make games that you can play whenever your life permits it!


That led us to make following design choices:

  • 2D rather than 3D so the game loads faster
  • Top down view to offer a UI/UX that’s perfectly adapted to mobile
  • Use instinctive icons rather than loads of text. That way, even if you haven’t played the game for several weeks and load your progression, you immediately understand what to do next.
  • Cross-plateform saving. However, this feature is still TBC as we will only be able to develop it if we reach a minimum amount of users. Actually, cross-platform saving will be our highest stretched goal (somewhere around $100 000) for the KS campaign in January 2017 (exact date to be announced soon)



Well, fundamentally speaking the game is a turn-by-turn combat game with mechanics similar to XCOM, Banner Saga, Shadowun, Reknown Explorers, etc. Every character has some action points to spend on movement, attacks, abilities, spells, etc. If you want to use a weapon you have certain percentage of chance to miss or hit, etc.

So at the end the day, our gameplay is not very different. It’s the look & feel that’s really different.



Our main challenge so far was to make a satisfying UI/UX. What you see right now might seem simple, but we lost a lot of time achieving that result. Because again, we want this game to be super accessible which means no complicated menus, instinctive icons, and a gameplay that works on both PC and mobile!


Our next big challenge will be to handle the massive amount of data needed for this game (spells, abilities, skills, items, weapons, relics,etc.) We have our own editor of course, and creating the actual data will be the easy part. What’s going to be really time consuming will be the balancing of all this data (that requires hours of play testing) and to teach the AI to use some of this stuff. For instance, if you want the AI to use the rifle in an intelligent way then you need to add parameters so the AI always stays at a safe distance, uses covers, etc.

Francois Gerner, Strange Matter

Interview conducted by Kirill Tokarev

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