BEAST is a tactical low/dark fantasy role-playing turn-based video game created by False Prophet & The Blood Moons, a team of more than 20 people consisting mostly of ex-CI Games employees. The game will be released on PC in January 31, 2020. PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions will be published later in 2020, along with the version for Nintendo Switch and mobile phones.
The game takes place in a fictional world inspired by Transcarpathian Ukraine from the late 16th century, between the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Tsarist Russia, Wallachia and Transylvania, and revolves around the heretic schism between the Bogomil gnostic sect and the Eastern Orthodox Church. It tells the story of strangers whose paths have been interwoven by fate and personal journey that leads to revealing the truth about the family of the protagonist. They are all refugees from a vast kingdom. This region was cut off from the world, with its own set of laws, and always engulfed in wars, hunger and disease. In its heart evil flourishes and conspires, but now it is even worse.
Over the centuries, throughout the Middle Ages, new plague outbreaks erupted in various places. The Black Plague has been vigorously expanding its territory, destroying villages, towns, and entire kingdoms and flooding them with billowing clouds of bad air. People behave as if they were in a horror and show signs of black plague and rabies at the same time. Now, every region stands at the edge of collapse prompting people to join forces despite their differences.
We play the role of a war messenger, a soldier responsible for carrying messages during war. He either doesn't have a name, or he doesn't remember. He is in his forties. He has a wife who had died a few weeks before he came back home, and a daughter who is a grown woman now. He returned from the war after several years. The land he comes back to is not what it used to be. He has typical symptoms of what we now call PTSD. Reality is mixed up with the nightmares of war. In his daughter he sees his wife, because of how much they look alike. Back then not everyone could afford to faithfully record an image, so he has to rely on his faulty memories. He came back to a world filled with religious worship and blasphemous sectarianism that spread out during endless wars and diseases. He needs to keep his humanity and stop his inner beast. In order to do so, he must remain impervious to the suffering of others, which will lead to his inevitable fall.
Unfortunately, the fight against the plague is doomed to fail. The only thing left is for people to find a haven and survive until the plague inexorably arrives again and devours further kingdoms. Who will have to be sacrificed and who will have to be betrayed in the name of survival? Will your warband members stop trusting you, fall into madness and kill each other? Will they be able to unite and survive until they see the walls of the neighboring kingdom where they can seek help? Do they obey the orders of the leader and avoid the unavoidable destruction? Or maybe the commander betrays everyone and uses them without hesitation? It depends on the player who takes on the role of a warband commander whose only goal is to reach the neighboring kingdom with valuable information from the sovereign at the expense of an innocent man's life.
The events take place at an unspecified time and place, at the border between two kingdoms called Liakhya and Carpathian Ruthenia. The main character is a Ruthenian messenger who is heading to the allied kingdom of Liakhya with news about what caused the fall of his kingdom.
BEAST is about the combination of power and religion. Religion keeps people in line. But believing in good requires believing in evil. How will you redeem if you don't sin? Sinning is next to godliness. It is necessary to sin in order to obtain repentance and salvation. What’s more, in the dark ages, religion, exaggeration, and magic are mixed up and can't live without one another.
There are no unbelievers in this world. They are more or less suspicious and curious. Unexplained events, devastating cataclysms, and constant wars, only increase superstition, anger, and radicalism. Hunger, fear, and disease lead to insanity, chaos, and mass hysteria. In this brutal and immoral world, everything was happening on the border between waking and sleeping. There is no time as we know it. There are no rules we are taught.
Life was a constant nightmare in which it was difficult to persevere with integrity. Mortality did not matter in the face of the promise of eternal life when salvation and a place in heaven depended on indulgence. It led to the abuse of power, distortion of values, and brutalization. Everyday people fight their inner beast to survive but not to become animals. But bestiality lies in the nature of man. Maybe instead of exorcising the beast, you have to exercise it? We, humans, are perverted, selfish, cruel and arrogant by nature. Instead of denying our nature and pretending these values stem from an external evil that doesn’t even exist and trying to purge them, maybe we should embrace them and live our lives in harmony with how we naturally feel. Our game is about that and what it can lead to.
Our goal in creating BEAST is the opportunity to tell a serious story in the style of Game of Thrones or Black Company. We love the tone of those novels, and that's the feeling we want to have in our story. By saying "serious history," we have in mind different political and social intrigues and relationships between the characters. But also sex, curses, and senseless violence which is an inseparable aspect of human life.
The game requires the player to make difficult moral choices, none of which are good and they all carry unforeseen consequences in the future. It is up to the player how Machiavellian the personality of his characters will be and how unwavering they will be to fight for survival and achieve their goals according to the principle "the end justifies the means."
BEAST focuses on the relationships between warband members, whose leader makes many difficult decisions that will shape the fate of both him and the people who entrusted him with his future. In the meantime, they must repel the darkness that envelops them, which manifests itself not only as creatures that emerge from it but also as devouring them from the inside. Without the option of becoming the saint the world needs, newcomers of this world are stuck between the choice of supervillainy and faulty heroism. There is only black and gray morality, where the morals of characters can range from pure evil to somewhat good.
BEAST is an interactive story, which means that several events may or may not happen depending on the player's choices. The game follows a few playable characters, Messenger and his Companions, each of whom has their own story, which eventually merges into one. The game contains an interactive story that changes depending on the decisions of the players undertaken by selecting appropriate dialogue options in the branched dialogues conversations between the members of the warband but also with people met along the way.
The essence of the game is a campaign for single player or cooperation with turn-based combat inspired by games such as Banner Saga and Darkest Dungeon, where the player controls and can build and develop a group of characters with complementary skills. Between the fights, the player can manage the warband, relations between its members, its members' equipment, food rations, fatigue, and stress, choose a place of rest and prepare for the next inevitable skirmishes.
BEAST is distinguished by black and white hand-drawn stop motion animation depicting the tough journey through unexplored forests and haunted places. Brutal and deadly combat is shown by a third-person isometric camera looking from a slight distance into a three-dimensional but still hand-drawn black-and-white world preserved in the same coherent style. What's more, the story of the game is divided into 14 days. It starts from a new moon and ends at a full moon. Each night saturates the world with more bloody red color as if mad blood was flooding our eyes.
BEAST is a teaser for games that will be made by the False Prophet & The Blood Moons game dev studio. The release of this game in only several months is to show that the team consists of very experienced developers who have known each other for a long time and are able to cooperate with each other at a high level without losing motivation, and the games that come under their hands are intimidatingly beautiful, mature, evoke strong emotions, and have something important to say.
- Piotr Pacynko, BEAST Creative Director