Former BioWare and Beamdog designers David Gaider and Liam Esler have unveiled their new studio and its first game at PAX Australia, and unexpectedly it's not an RPG. Chorus (opens in new tab) is a musical adventure game whose closest relative is probably the exceptional Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode, Once More With Feeling.
As Grace, players will need to prove their innocence in the murder of a Muse, who also happened to give you her powers with her dying breath. It's a contemporary yarn, but with gods and mythological beasties hiding in plain sight, and some of them want to know why their pal is dead.
The Muse's power is to draw people into a song, which can be used to manipulate characters and alter reality. These songs play out like musical conversations or arguments, complete with dialogue choices that change both the song's lyrics and its outcome.
You'll have to occasionally swap your mic for a deerstalker as you hunt down information and help people with their own problems. There are investigations to do and people to pump for information, but for each problem there are different approaches, depending on your traits.
There are three to pick from, and they can be swapped out and levelled up, making Grace more adventurous, smarter or charming. These traits are also reflected in the lyrics you pick during songs, and everyone you'll be singing with has an affinity for one of them—if you find out what it is, you'll be able to pull a Jedi mind trick on them.
Composer Austin Wintory is working on both the score and the music for the songs, while Troy Baker is directing the voice actors, including Laura Bailey. It's an audio dream team, basically. You can watch a solo and a song battle with a minotaur in the Fig trailer below.
Summerfall Studios is looking to get $600,000 on Fig, and it's already 11 percent of the way to its goal. The project has already received start-up funding from Film Victoria, but to take it into production the studio needs more help. With additional funding beyond the goal, Summerfall can also add full voice acting—right now the plan is for key dialogue and songs to all be voiced—more songs, more romance options and generally make it larger.
It sounds the business, but I'm hesitant because the last time I was in a musical all I got was a sympathy clap and some unkind remarks from the drummer. I was 14, but I'll never escape the shame. And gods are probably even harsher critics! Thankfully, Laura Bailey has a much better voice.
Chorus is still quite far off, expected out in late 2021.