There was a statement floating around social media on the weekend stating “JRPGs were made during an era that didn’t have the tools to create action RPGs. Nowadays the average gamer doesn’t want random turn-based combats that don’t make any sense.” I don’t know who said that (I saw a screenshot on Twitter but it looks like it came from Reddit) but I do know that turn-based games undoubtedly have a place amongst the biggest contemporary titles. There’s a lot of reasons for this, including accessibility, but I’m not here to argue that. Instead, I’d like to talk about Path of the Midnight Sun, an indie turn-based JRPG that takes players through a fantasy world where survival relies on the relationships built outside of combat.
The story follows three unique playable protagonists. Their world used to be protected by its people through eternal battle, but they’ve become complacent which allows an ancient demon king to opportunity to possess a key figure in the kingdom.
Of course, battle is at the heart of gameplay. But the genius here is that relationships and communication are just as important. Cook, craft, and care for companions. Manage their mental state through communication. If players neglect their companions, they may find themselves lacking during tactical battles. Build a close enough connection and players can choose their soulmate.
The game has an interesting history: it was originally conceived as a mod for Fire Emblem but its popularity inspired the creator to develop a standalone release. A Kickstarter opened up in 2019, raising over £30,000 over its run. Its creator, Alfred Kaman, is both a psychologist and a game designer. He describes Path of the Midnight Sun in a press release, stating, “there is a time for laughter, one for tragedy, and one for self-reflection and rebirth. In a way, I like to see it as a deep and modern take on the classic anime-fantasy story.”
Developed and published by Studio Daimon, Path of the Midnight Sun will be released for PC via Steam on January 10, 2023.