Story-based RPG Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical turned up at the Humble Games showcase today to share a deeper look at its choice-driven narrative and some words from studio co-founders David Gaider, Dragon Age’s former lead writer, and Liam Esler about how choices also affect the music in the moment.
Stray Gods is an urban fantasy in which college dropout Grace has been granted the powers of the Muse but has to help solve the mystery of her predecessor’s death while surrounded by hot, meddling gods.
“While everyone’s familiar with games where you make choices during the story—you do that here as well—but the big star of the show is: you’ll be making choices in the songs,” Gaider says. “They change the music and at the end of the song that will determine where the story goes next.”
In the quick new gameplay clip from today’s presentation you can see a player choosing between the traits “charming” where main character Grace is full of “soul and charisma” or “kickass” which is more punk rock and “clever.” There are also portions where you’re choosing Grace’s dialogue during a song, which looks like it will actually change the words she’s singing to the melody.
All that choice in song tone is also backed up with music composed by Austin Wintory of Journey fame and voice talent like Laura Bailey, Felicia Day, and Troy Baker.
“My rule was: I’m not interested in writing songs that take place between seminal moments of gameplay,” Wintory said during the live music night with Stray Gods last month. “The songs need to be the seminal moments of gameplay. The player needs to be tasked with navigating a song that is unfolding in real time.”
As Gaider and Wintory both express, it’s a pretty novel concept, getting a choice-driven modular songs into a videogame. And as Wintory put it last month, it’s not been done before because, “we found out it’s fucking hard to do!”
With any luck, it won’t be nearly as hard to play as it was to orchestrate and develop, which you’ll be able to experience for yourself when it launches on August 3 over on Steam.