Fantasy War Tactics – Interview with Nexon GT on new tactical mobile RPG

Nexon GT is an off-shoot from the main Nexon office in South Korea, and it is working hard to publish mobile games globally. Fantasy War Tactics, revealed in April, is the first to be announced. Classified as a SRPG (Strategic RPG) the game is touted to be equipped with optimized controls for mobile interface. I had an interview with Mr Jungkeun Lee, director at Nexon GT, to find out more.

Q: With so many mobile games now being developed, why did Nexon choose Fantasy War Tactics to be the next English localized-game?

We feel like Fantasy War Tactics represents a lot of what Nexon wants to bring to the mobile market – in-depth gameplay, great artwork and storylines, and great competitive multiplayer. We’re looking to make mobile games that go beyond simple, casual gameplay and really offer tons of gameplay depth!

Q: What are some of the features which will make Fantasy War Tactics stand out from the crowd?

Fantasy War Tactics offers turn-based tactical combat from an overhead isometric perspective – just like the classic strategy role-playing games (SRPGs) of the 1990s and 2000s. In addition, the game has a full story-driven single-player campaign that lets you unlock every single Hero character in the entire game, free of charge, as well as competitive multiplayer that stresses variety and creative team composition.

Fantasy War Tactics - Menu screen

Q: While turn-based mobile games are a dime in a dozen, Fantasy War Tactics’ play style is more similar to a chess game’s, or closer to popular console titles such as Final Fantasy Tactics. Would the amount of strategy and thought involved intimidate the casual gamers?

It’s definitely closer to the latter. We want to bring back the tactical, turn-based strategy from our favorite classic SRPGs, and update it for mobile with high-resolution graphics, deep gameplay, and multiplayer that takes advantage of the kind of social features that really work well on this platform. And to be honest, this game is intended for players who are ready for more of a challenge beyond harvesting crops or matching puzzles.

We’ve been watching the mobile gaming market very carefully and we’re excited that the mobile audience is not only growing, but also maturing – we know that mobile players are ready for a game with this kind of strategy, variety and depth!

Fantasy War Tactics - Dungeon screenshot 1

Q: Are there any tweaks or new content for the English version of the game?

We’ll be localizing the game fully in English, but it will otherwise be content-complete and offer all the features and Heroes in the original Korean version.

Q: I understand that players start the game out in single-player mode. Does it mean Fantasy War Tactics can be played without an internet connection?

The game will offer both a single-player campaign and multiplayer, but will need regular online connectivity to record your progress.

Q: When will players meet other players? And what functions are there for online multi-player mode? I am thinking about PVP, Guild, or perhaps even co-op.

Players can send friend requests to other players of comparable level as they play the game normally, and take on opponents of comparable level in player-versus-player (PvP) battles.

Fantasy War Tactics - PVP

Q: Players will need to gather Heroes to join their team. How many Heroes are there currently, and what are some of the methods to obtain them? I also suppose there are different “classes”?

There are about 50 Heroes planned for launch, and all of them can be obtained through the single-player campaign, free of charge, without paying a single cent. Each Hero is effectively its own class, and has its own unique abilities. By developing and equipping your Heroes over time, you’ll create a diverse roster from which you pick five for your team, plus one from a friend – once you reach the endgame, you’ll have lots and lots of options to create a viable team.

Fantasy War Tactics - Dungeon screenshot 2

Q: Heroes are able to perform combo attacks when they are moved into position. Could you please explain more on this gameplay feature?

Different Hero characters will have abilities that work well with other Heroes’ abilities on the battlefield. In some cases, it’ll be absolutely worthwhile to make sure you have that combination of Heroes on your team and to take the extra time and effort to place your teammates into proper formation.

As you can see in the screenshot below, Sraka, the Green Orc Hero is targeting an enemy, causing exclamation marks to pop up above the heads of any teammates available for collaboration. Illustrations will also pop up on the left side of the screen for allies that have close relationships with your Hero. Teammates can use their skills to perform combo attacks – in this screenshot, Alfredo is declaring that he will help, because he has intimacy with Sraka, which raises the damage of combo attacks.

Fantasy War Tactics - MMO Culture exclusive screenshot

These kinds of relationships between Heroes will appear as players use the reincarnate system to upgrade their Heroes – each Hero can have intimacy with three others. The game has sub-story content that shows the relationships between Heroes, and shows why they have intimacy towards each other. We expect this will be a fun addition to the entire gaming experience.

Q: I read about heroes being able to deal more damage when attacking from the side or rear. Would it be fair to say players must follow this method for every single battle?

There will also be positional considerations like facing and flanking, yes. In an ideal situation, you’ll always be flanking or rear-attacking your enemies, but they won’t always be obliging enough to line up like sitting ducks for you! In some tougher battles, enemies will be entrenched in cover, which means that you won’t necessarily be able to outflank them easily and will need to either draw them out or use other abilities to defeat them. In addition, your enemies will also actively try to flank and surround you. Beware!

Fantasy War Tactics - Dungeon screenshot 3

Q: An interesting design I noted was the terrain design, where there are higher grounds in some maps. I suppose only ranged heroes would have advantage in such a terrain?

Terrain does play a role in battle. There are seven kinds of terrain tiles in all: plains, prairies, lava, swamp, water, and glacial. Each Hero has a characteristic that gains advantages in a certain terrain type. For example, most Heroes won’t be able to cross water terrain, Sraka, who has a water-advantage characteristic, will be able to move across water. Also, there will be bonuses for attacks made on water terrains.

Fantasy War Tactics - Terrain system

The terrains do not have height. Because mobile devices have a small interface, we have developed the terrain system excluding the element of height to allow for easier control. However, terrains does have a system of going slightly up and down. This is a device to show whether a Hero is gaining an advantage from his/her terrain – terrains that favor the character will go slightly up, and unfavorable ones will go slightly down. Through the use of this device, users will be able to make strategic decisions based on intuitive visual cues instead of memorizing the terrain characteristics of each Hero.

Q: What other details about Fantasy War Tactics would you like to share with our readers?

The game will be soft-launching in late July in Australia, Netherlands, Finland, Malaysia and launching worldwide later this year. As big fans of classic SRPGs, and big fans of how mobile games can enable people to enjoy more in-depth gaming experiences beyond casual games, we’re super-excited to be able to bring this kind of game to mobile. Thank you very much!

Fantasy War Tactics image