David Gaider and the team at Summerfall Games are combining their love of narrative and music with Stray Gods, a roleplaying musical. But fans who are familiar with Gaider’s past work as lead writer on Dragon Age will find that Summerfall Games is pursuing a similar route for how their story unfolds, albeit much more musically.
Stray Gods is the first game from Summerfall Studios, an Australian-based team of veterans and rising stars across the industry. Stray Gods centers on Grace, a singer who inherits the powers of the Last Muse. The problem is that Grace now has to convince the other gods that she wasn’t responsible for the Muse’s death.
As a narrative RPG, players will not only make dialogue choices but lyrical ones as well. And considering Gaider was the lead writer on Dragon Age, fans of his work at BioWare will find similarities in Stray Gods.
“If someone has played the Dragon Age games, the dialogue part of the game is going to feel very familiar to them,” Gaider tells IGN in an interview. “It is playing the dialogue portion with the story and making choices during the dialogue, having traits that determine sometimes which options are available to you, and it changes the story. Lots of branching along the way, so yeah, it will feel quite familiar.”
Where Stray Gods charts its own path is the music which, along with Journey composer Austin Wintory and a team of lyricists, looks to bring narrative choices directly into a musical.
“The choice is in the music. That’s really the key to the entire project because we have about four hours total content of music that we’ve planned, but a player’s only going to hear a smaller portion of that,” Gaider says.
He explains that it’s similar to a Broadway musical where it’s not just about the beat or chorus line in the lyrics, but about the emotion and story conveyed during the song. “So you’re making choices as you go, and they’re timed so that you can maintain sort of the consistency and the flow of the song. And the choices you make determine how the song evolved. So it’s not just what the next lyrics are, the music itself actually changes.”
Along with Wintory, the music team includes Montaigne, Australia’s Eurovision representative for the last two years, as well as Scott Edgar, Steven Gates, and Simon Hall, a team of local lyricists based out of Melbourne.
Of course, a team working on a musical adventure will naturally have favorite musicals they can look towards. “One of my favorites is Into the Woods, and I know that is a reference we keep using,” says Gaider. “I also keep going to the Buffy musical [episode] as well, just because that is an example… of the musical numbers being diegetic, as in it’s a conceit as part of the story as well. Plus, it is actually a really good musical.”
Gaider and Summerfall Games co-founder Liam Esler also cite Hadestown, which coincidentally is a Broadway musical about Greek gods also. But Summerfall’s team of veteran writers and musicians have a unique vision of their own with Stray Gods.
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Matt T.M. Kim is IGN’s News Editor. You can reach him @lawoftd.
Source: IGN Video Games All