This Wednesday, we at Zen Studios are very excited to bring you one of the most unique tactical RPGs out there. Dread Nautical is a little bit roguelike…a little bit survival game…a little bit Lovecraftian horror…and, well, little bit of lots of other things too. I thought it’d be fun to break down a trailer for the game moment by moment, to give you a better idea of all the “little things” going on – along with just some fun behind-the-scenes commentary.
That’s our launch trailer. I’m sure it’s awesome, but I also have to confess – I’m writing this before it’s been made, and I haven’t even seen it yet. So let’s take a step back into March, when we announced the game was coming to Xbox One on April 29…
Timestamp 0:03: From the start and throughout the trailer, you’ll hear the song “You No Ready” by the incredibly talented Sena Dagadu. She also voices the character Miraje, whom you’ll see singing at…
0:08: One of four of the main playable characters you’ll choose to play at when you start the game, the cruise ship’s singer Miraje takes the stage in front of other game characters. The other three you can choose from the start include private investigator Fargo Drexler, escaped Yakuza member Hatano Kenichi, and a teenaged girl named Vivian Nussbaum. Each has their own special abilities and personalities. (I’m a Miraje guy, myself – for Sena’s feisty performance alone.)
0:10: Whoa! What was that? The human characters didn’t look so human there for a second…
0:15: You can spot six game characters in this shot, including the aforementioned Vivian (in the headphones) and a guy named Jed (red hat) who sort of acts through your mysterious guide through the game. The four to the left are all survivor characters you can recruit to fight alongside your chosen main character.
Fun fact for Witcher fans! The bartender is voiced by Roderick Hill, Yennefer’s father from the Netflix show (also Jóska in our game Operencia: The Stolen Sun). And Captain Scrumm all the way in the back features the boisterous talents of Scott Alexander Young, who also had a role in the show (and was Sebastian in Operencia).
0:23: You’ve seen a couple more of those weird glitches by this point – and now you see the Hope! This is where the whole thing takes place. And it’s about to…
0:25: …disappear into another dimension.
0:28: As Sena’s singing heats up so too does the gameplay action.
0:29: Hatano leads three other survivors to safety – that’s the max that can leave the safe room at one time. Poor Gordon near the top bravely fends off an adversary.
0:31: Fargo blasts a critical hit with the shotgun – one of more than 150 weapons in the game.
0:32: That’s a lot of rooms! All procedurally generated, so they’re different every time you visit.
0:33: Ammo/usage management is key to survival. And this game will kick your butt if you’re not flexing those strategy brain muscles.
0:36: Going off on your own – like Miraje is here – isn’t always the brightest tactic…
0:37: You’ve found a nifty Pirate Cutlass, but you have no slots to place it. You’ll either have to drop it or lose something else. Lots of decisions like that await…
0:40: Conversation trees are a huge part of the game. But watch what you say – how the other survivor reacts will affect how willing they are to join your efforts.
0:42: Vivian takes a few minutes to rest in the safe room, where she can interact with survivors, plus fix and upgrade her weapons.
0:44: I’d tell you what’s going on here, but…spoilers.
0:53: This moment pretty much nails the whole mood of this game: The feeling of hopelessness amid darkness and rain – all while still looking cartoonish.
0:56: And now we see Miraje finishing up her/Sena’s song, when…
1:01: She switches up the microphone for a knife. A really sweet artistic choice by our trailer guy, David Szucs. Those Thralls and Spawners and Grabbers don’t stand a chance…
(Actually, they kinda do. Did I mention this game will kick your butt?…)
On behalf of the dev team, I hope you enjoy the game! If you have any questions, please feel free to hit me up on Twitter at @cbake76, and be sure to follow @ZenIndies for more about Dread Nautical and other great stuff like Operencia: The Stolen Sun (now available) and CastleStorm II (coming soon).
A tactical turn-based RPG with roguelike elements, Dread Nautical combines immersive gameplay with a cartoonish—yet captivatingly eerie—tone. Supernatural forces have overwhelmed a cruise liner called Hope with mysterious malevolent monstrosities. Fight them off as one of four unlikely heroes. Manage your scarce resources effectively, and convince scattered survivors to fight alongside you. You’ll need them for any hope of escaping this “vacation” alive.
Traverse all 20 decks of the to unlock the mysteries of the Hope. Think several steps ahead during each battle, plotting the optimal use of each character’s action points. Your weapons, bandages, and other items deteriorate, and your resources are very limited. Make sure your companions rest, or panic may overtake them.
Oh… And expect to die. A lot.