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The RPG Files: Nightmarchers Aims to Make Hawaii an RPG Landmark

Previews By William Murphy on September 01, 2017

Nightmarchers Aims to Make Hawaii an RPG Landmark

Scott Brown should be familiar to you all – as the former founder of NetDevil, he’s responsible for some of my own favorite games: Auto Assault and Jumpgate. After NCSOFT’s partnership and the subsequent closure of NetDevil’s games, Scott Brown and some of his colleagues left to found their own indie studio and make their own games once more – Wyrmbyte was born. The five-man studio is now making the open world RPG Nightmarchers, and it’s sounding like a game to watch.

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In Nightmarchers, you play a fallen warrior living on the island of Oahu after the world has fallen to catastrophe and most (not all) technology is laid to waste. It’s a post apocalyptic tale, but think of it sort of like Mad Max meets Moana. It isn’t all dust, rust, and bullets. There’s a lot of magic in the world, thanks to the fact that a tear between the spirit world and our world is what caused the end to come to Hawaii. You, Kai, were killed by Kamapua’a, the Pig God, who saw the crack between worlds and used it to seize control of Hawaii. Now, able to die and rebirth between the worlds, you must take back Oahu from Kamapua’a and put the world back at peace.

Scott and the Wyrmbyte guys have been discussing how to make Nightmarchers a reality since they founded the studio, due to the team and Scott’s own love for Hawaii and its culture. (Editor’s Note: Our CTO and co-owner Ben Krueger lives in Hawaii too!) Nightmarchers is an RPG shooter at heart, with both third and first person perspectives. Think Fallout, but without the VATS system – there are no dice rolls, just your own aim, skills, and weapons.

Nightmarchers isn’t due out until next year, and when it launches it’s going to have a long main story, tons of side quests, collectibles, loot to craft, and a world (Oahu) that’s roughly the size of Skyrim at 8 square miles right now, but will be even more massive when complete. The final in-game Oahu will be around the real size of 560 square KM. The world Wyrmbyte is building is an approximation of a chunk of Oahu. They are just five guys, after all. They’ve built all the tools needed – procedural creation of buildings, ruined houses, flora and fauna. They’ve got the dialog system built, the skill system is in, and they’ve recently hosted a livestreamed creation of a side mission through their mission creator. Now the hard part of making all the rest of the content comes.

One of the main features of Nightmarchers, and a driving part of the core game loop, is the act of taking over and recapturing outposts. There are four main factions and you can work with any of them and help them all – one worships the old ways, one worships technology, another focuses on military might, etc. As you work with them, you’ll gain access to different story-driven missions, different items, and skills. When you take over outposts, they even change to represent the faction you put in its place.

Scattered across Oahu are the Tikis, and kind of like Zelda, you’ll collect these to unlock more mana to use for spells and skills. Even the scientific faction uses mana, as they twist it to make it fuel their tech. There will be old bunkers on Oahu from WW2, and these are the form of “fast travel” across the island. But early on you’ll get a horse from the main quest. As there is very little tech in Nightmarchers save for the archaic stuff used by the science faction, don’t expect to party around in a dune buggy.

Wishing there was a way to travel besides horse? So passé, right? Luckily, you’ll earn the powers of other gods in Nightmarchers, and unlock the ability to transform into a bird, even a shark, and make your way above and around the island.

Nightmarchers sounds like the kind of game I longed for after traveling to Hawaii on my honeymoon nearly a decade ago. Turns out that’s what originally made Scott want to create this game too. In the coming months, Nightmarchers will update progress on Brightlocker, and subscribers to the project can get access to special events, game testing, and more. In 2018, we should all expect to take a trip to Oahu for ourselves, though probably not a relaxing one with Kamapua’a running amuck. 

William Murphy / Bill is the Managing Editor of MMORPG.com, and lover of all things gaming. He''s been playing and writing about MMOs and geekery since 2002. Be sure to follow him on Twitter for all of his pointless rambling.