Chained Echoes is an upcoming retro-inspired RPG that I personally can't wait to get my hands on so I'm happy to say that I had the opportunity to interview its solo developer Matthias Linda about this epic role-playing adventure.
│ A.J. has been obsessively gaming since the late '80s and is just as passionate about video games in 2022. 🐻
A.J. ▸ Hello, Matthias. Seeing how your party members engage in battle via seamless transitions reminded me of Chrono Trigger and the fact that they can fight in mechs is quite reminiscent of Xenogears. Were you inspired by these games when developing Chained Echoes? Were there any other notable sources of inspiration? v1d30chumz 44-210-77-106
Matthias ▸ Oh yes. See, I grew up with games such as Xenogears and Chrono Trigger. I am super happy that you saw the influences right away. They are among my most beloved games of all times and I took tons of inspirations from them. But also Suikoden 2, Terranigma and Final Fantasy VI. And quite a few more for sure. While I mainly focused on that era of RPGs while shaping Chained Echoes, I obviously played more games from modern times which probably also had their influence after all. But at its core, Chained Echoes was meant to be a love letter to the games I grew up with.
A.J. ▸ Those are some of my favourite RPGs as well but inspirations aside, which unique aspects do you feel help Chained Echoes forge its own identity the most?
Matthias ▸ On the one hand there is the setting which mixes fantasy with steampunk and science fiction elements. I am pretty proud of the world I've managed to create here. My publisher would probably also mention the story. My product manager told me that, when he finished the game for the first time, he thought about it for two more weeks and couldn't let go and that had never happened to him. Not sure if that counts as own identity though. So I'm going to mention the combat system which is very traditional, yet fast paced and still offers lots of tactical depth due to the overdrive system I've introduced.
A.J. ▸ Speaking of combat, I personally love strategizing in battle and I'm curious; which elements will make players think on their feet when fighting Chained Echoes' various enemies?
Matthias ▸ Throughout the game you will collect 8 main characters for the party. But there are quite a few side characters you can use in your party as well. I just released the beta for the Kickstarter Backers and they are now testing out the game and I'm monitoring the Discord feedback and I'm seeing interesting discussions. Some say "character xyz is completely useless" and get answers like "whaaaat? I'm using this character all the time, he is my main damage dealer". So they are using different strategies and multiple will work out in the end. That makes me happy.
A.J. ▸ In addition to strategizing in combat, I also enjoy optimizing my party's strengths, especially when I'm about to face a tough boss so what can players look forward to when it comes to party customization?
Matthias ▸ Well, as I said you can customize your party. Of course you can also make sure to have enough healing items, up-to-date weapons and equipment, that your weapons are maxed out and all of these things.
A.J. ▸ Can you summarize Chained Echoes' story themes to pique interest in what players can generally expect?
Matthias ▸ This is a tough one. I wish I could answer the question with full honesty, but I need to keep a few things secret for now. The overall topic... so, there is this continent Valandis which suffered from a century-long lasting war. There are three Kingdoms. Peace is finally there. Of course, it doesn't look like a lasting one. And only a bunch of strangers can either make sure it lasts or at least re-restore it. But... let me say it like: There is more. Way more.
A.J. ▸ On a more specific note, which character did you enjoy writing for the most and why?
Matthias ▸ Sienna. She's a thief. And I just like her attitude. I tried to create characters, which will give you some emotions. Some you won't like, others are designed to go on your nerves. And there are those you will find adorable. And over the time you might understand their motifs. And why they act the way they act. And for me, Sienna has the best custom situations. Like, when she is on her own (which sometimes can happen for whatever reason). Still, after all these years, I enjoy her dialogues the most.
A.J. ▸ Music is always a memorable aspect of any role-playing game. What went into composing the score for Chained Echoes?
Matthias ▸ So, the soundtrack is one of the things I didn't create. That was up to Eddie Marianukroh. He is probably one of the most talented composers out there. He is... I don't know how to describe it better than... hm. So, people come to me and tell me "Oh my god, you created a full game on your own, you have so much talent" and I'm like "Oh my god, you created that soundtrack, you not only have so much talent but you're a God of music!". I'm still sitting here and can't believe how good the soundtrack is.
But that's for a reason I guess. So, when I met Eddie and we agreed on the details I just gave him freedom. I just told him something like "Look, you are the master of music, I have no idea when it comes to music. Do what is best for the game". And so he did. I didn't question his work. I knew I could trust him.
A.J. ▸ Chained Echoes seems to take place in a rather varied game world that's filled with lovely scenery and stand-out creatures. Are there any particular areas or stretches that you're most excited for players to experience?
Matthias ▸ From a visual perspective I'd say there is a flying region where I really hope players will enjoy it. From a sound experience, I really hope they will enjoy the mountains. And a certain goblin camp.
There you have it; expect big things from Chained Echoes when it releases in the near future and stay tuned for our full review! 😄