Vidar announced

Dean Razavi writes in to announce Vidar, which he describes as an “RPG puzzler” with a partially-randomized narrative that changes each time you play. Razavi, the project lead, has been developing Vidar in RPG Maker in collaboration with 2D pixel artist Becca Bair and musician Adrian Jakubiak.

The premise:

Once the capital of a thriving Kingdom, Vidar has fallen into ruin. Tensions between the remaining citizens are high as a terrible snow storm blocks the exits, supplies run low, and the Beast continues to strike.

Because NPCs will be chosen at random to die, each person will experience different cutscenes out of over a hundred possible interactions between the cast. If you’re lucky, you’ll learn the deepest secrets of a handful. If you’re not, Vidar will be forgotten.

As you journey through the mountain, you’ll find remnants of the old Kingdom; although buried, their legacy forever haunts Vidar. Depending on your actions – and the Beast’s appetite – you may even stir some old spirits.

Perhaps the best way to describe Vidar is as an “adventure game by way of Werewolf.” Vidar isn’t a proper RPG, as there isn’t any stat progression (or even combat) in the game. Challenges are mostly puzzle challenges; all advancement occurs by way of item collection. Most items, in turn, are received as quest rewards. Because the quests you receive differ with each playthrough, you will only collect a subset of the game’s items on any given run.

Perhaps this trailer will help explain:

Vidar’s main features are narrative in nature, although the way you progress through the quest changes from a mechanical perspective with each playthrough as well:

  • Random puzzle-driven exploration. In the depths of the Beast’s lair, you’ll encounter dozens of dungeon-exploring puzzles. The rooms a player is sent to, the path they take, and the actual puzzles displayed are all randomized. What this means is that a player can return to Vidar to see a new story and not be forced to solve the same puzzles they solved on their last playthrough.
  • Random NPC deaths. The 24 left in Vidar each have something (or things) to help you on your journey. A loaf of bread. A campfire. A pocket watch. But you’ll need to help them before the Beast takes them. Every night, an NPC chosen at random will die; playing through a second time, you’ll discover new stories, relationships, and items that you didn’t have the first.
  • Random Quests. Each of the 24 NPCs can have dramatically different story arcs, depending on who dies when and what quests you’re able to complete. Quests they give you are entirely dependent on their needs, with some quest-lines chaining from one NPC to the next – and that means that in every game, you’ll see a brand new set of quests.

Vidar is currently on Kickstarter, although Razavi assures me the game will be completed regardless of the campaign’s success. Still, if you want to help Vidar hit its goal, you can do so right here. There is also a Windows-only, pre-alpha demo here if you want to see what the game is aiming at.

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