A dream for JRPG and comic fans! Battle Chasers: Nightwar

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Anyone who knows of Joe Madureira’s work will know the ongoing joke about the release of issue 10 of the Battle Chasers comic series. First published in 1998, the title got up to issue 9 before mysteriously delaying forever. The release date of the tenth issue became a bit of an urban myth, but fan excitement over the comic never seemed to wane, with questions about it following Madureira wherever he spoke to fans of the press.

After a bit of teasing, Battle Chasers is returning as a JRPG style game called Battle Chasers: Nightwar. The game features all the characters from the much-loved series with a story that sits alongside the one told in the comics. And to cap it off? They’ll be publishing issue #10 and onwards as part of a tie in with the game.

Battle Chasers: Nightwar is a love letter to one of our favorite genres of gaming: the JRPG. We grew up playing legends like Final Fantasy, Suikoden, Chrono Trigger, and Phantasy Star. While many greats continue to come from Japan, very few western developers are creating them.

Madureira might have been out of the comic game for a while, but he had a hit with Vigil Games’ Darksiders and Darksiders 2. Some of the development team have joined Madureira to form a brand new studio called Airship Syndicate with a focus on not only bringing closure for fans of the comic, but make the best damn Battle Chasers game they can!

Intrigued yet? Here’s a gameplay trailer from their Steam Greenlight page to see more of how the game plays!

Nightwar (I really have to resist typing ‘nightwear’) will have a focus on high-risk dungeon crawling, with a good chance of loosing all the gear you’re carrying should a character die, and little chance to save your stash once you’re down there. There’s a town called Harm’s Way that’s used as a hub for your missions in the sort-of-procedurally-generated game world. I say that because while the overall story is written, the dungeons and wilds are randomised based on your difficulty level. If you set off into a dungeon at low levels, you’ll have a different experience than at higher levels. You’ll have to choose three members of your team to go out adventuring, pack the best gear for their strengths and weaknesses and set out into the wilds.

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If you love Madureira’s art then you’ll be happy to know that the game features fully animated 2D cutscenes using the original Battle Chasers designs created by Powerhouse Animation Studios. If you ever wished for a Battle Chasers animated feature, this is as close as we’ll have ever gotten!

My take

I’ve been a huge fan of Joe Madureira’s art since I first opened his issues of Uncanny X-Men in the mid-90s. Through the Phalanx Covenant stories and his amazing designs for the awesome Age of Apocalypse characters, I couldn’t get enough of his dynamic visuals that remind me of Jim Lee’s run in the late 80s and early 90s. Like a lot of people I was totally besotted by what was happening in the Battle Chasers series, and wanted to know what happened. The fact that this is happening is quite surreal. It’s definitely one of those ‘you had to be there’ moments to understand. Comics were a much bigger deal back then, so the cliffhanger was never really forgotten by fans.

I have to confess, I’m not much of a fan of JRPGs. I find the turn-based nature jarring and the gameplay over the top. That said, I completely understand that these types of games are story-driven at their core, and I have been known to dabble. besides, this is Battle Chasers! Not only have I backed the game, I cannot wait to give it a go and also finally get my hands on issue #10!

Your take

Are you a fan of Joe Madureira’s art or did you read the Battle Chasers comic when it came out? What do you think of a JRPG interpretation of the game?

Check out the Battle Chasers: Nightwar Kickstarter campaign and follow their progress over on battlechasers.com.

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About Dan Morse

From the Atari 2600 right through to bleeding fast PCs, Dan's played on them all. One thing that's never changed is an unwavering passion for video games. Twitter: @happydan | Steam: happydan | GOG: happydan