Celtic RPG The Waylanders shows off cinematic trailer and gameplay

The Waylanders
(Image credit: Gato Studio)

After last year's successful crowdfunding campaign, classic-style RPG The Waylanders returns with a new cinematic trailer. Although there's no new gameplay to be gleaned, the trailer contrasts the game's two time periods: the Celtic and Medieval eras of northwestern Spain and Ireland. 

The protagonist, detached from time after a meeting with the gods gone wrong, will transition between both periods in history, affecting both over the course of the game. Your party companions, however, cannot travel through time. You'll manage two separate parties: your original Celtic companions and their Medieval reincarnations. The new cinematic trailer hints at how attitudes towards magic and nature have changed over time, suggesting that one of the main themes of The Waylanders' story may be repairing that cultural rift.

Gato Studio also spoke with IGN at Gamesom today where we did get a new look at the combat system. The Waylanders claims to be inspired by RPG classics like Baldur's Gate and Dragon Age: Origins, which comes across clearly when looking at how combat works. Everything from the colorful ground rings marking characters to the obligatory enemy bears screams classic RPG.

Although fights happen in real time, you'll have the ability to use a tactical pause feature to queue up actions for party members. Project director Sergio Prieto shows this off in the demo with IGN where he begins a combat encounter by pausing to teleport his sorcerer from the middle of the fray and than queue up an area of effect attack against his enemies. 

Waylanders also includes the tactical ability to create formations with party members. Prieto demonstrates the "orb" formation where units gather together and create a protective dome of shields. At release, Prieto says that The Waylanders will feature twelve total battle formations. On its Kickstarter page, Waylanders specifically mentions the "arrowhead" and "phalanx" formations, each with their own benefits.

One other neat divergence is an ability that Prieto demonstrates for party members to join together and transform into a large magical creature for a period of time, a different kind of formation from the military-inspired orb. In fitting with the Celtic setting that Prieto is playing through, the party turns into what looks like an Ent crossed with a troll that has no trouble dispatching the angry group of grizzly bears. 

The Waylanders at Gamescom

(Image credit: IGN)

Though we didn't grab any new specifics about the companions, The Waylanders' Steam page calls companion characters an "integral" part of the RPG experience. Throughout the game, players will "talk to their companions in-depth, discover their past, play loyalty missions, and even experience romances with them."

Executive producer Fernando Prieto reiterated to IGN the three big names involved in creating The Waylanders' quests, characters, and world. Former Telltale writer Emily Grace Buck serves as the team's Lead Narrator. RPG veteran Chris Avellone has written a number of the game's quests. Lastly, in yet another element The Waylanders borrowed from Dragon Age: Origins, former Dragon Age creative director Mike Laidlaw helped to define The Waylanders' world. 

Although The Waylanders already looks colorful and polished, we don't have a confirmed release date, though it's expected to arrive in 2020. The combat system is interesting for cRPG fans, but given the writing team that Gato Studio is so eager to namedrop, I'm most interested to see what details about characters and quests we'll learn as development continues. 

You can wishlist The Waylanders on Steam while we await more details this year.

Lauren Morton
Associate Editor

Lauren started writing for PC Gamer as a freelancer in 2017 while chasing the Dark Souls fashion police and accepted her role as Associate Editor in 2021, now serving as the self-appointed chief cozy games enjoyer. She originally started her career in game development and is still fascinated by how games tick in the modding and speedrunning scenes. She likes long books, longer RPGs, has strong feelings about farmlife sims, and can't stop playing co-op crafting games.