Epic Tavern E3 Impression
There’s a curious phenomenon that connects adventures of all kinds. Whether a fellowship is looking for a guide to bring a certain ring to a certain mountain or a princess must be rescued from a moon that’s too small to be a moon, epic stories of all types have one common thread running through them: they nearly all begin in the same place. L.A.-based developer Hyperkinetic Studios asked itself what this place is, and the answer became the basis for its upcoming simulation-RPG hybrid, Epic Tavern.
Players can expect two varieties of gameplay in Epic Tavern. As the title suggests, it all starts in the eponymous tavern. Players take on the role of the barkeep, whose job it is not only to water parched throats but also to maintain a profitable establishment, ordering resupplies, taking care of general housekeeping, and always keeping an ear out for juicy gossip. Some of the assorted characters strolling through your door may just be pliable enough to agree to go on the potential adventures you learn about.
This leads to the second phase of gameplay. Once you’ve learned about a task that needs doing and have some ragtag “heroes” assembled, you can create a group to complete the quest. Quests are randomly generated, pulling from a wide assortment of scenarios and various story elements. The same goes for heroes and their personalities, with certain characters being better suited for certain challenges. A quest may be a simple creature infestation that needs to be dealt with, or an epic tale of political intrigue spanning several separate missions. Some quests may even alter the game world as a whole, as specific heroes may build up a reputation for or against specific in-game factions, so there will be consequences down the road. In any case, quests themselves play out largely on their own, with die rolls and skill checks happening both on-screen and behind the scenes, while the player watches it all play out. After each quest’s conclusion, it’s back to the tavern to start the cycle over.
Epic Tavern certainly represents something unique in the world of RPGs, marrying the tasks of a business simulation and running a tabletop game. Those looking for a tongue-in-cheek game that focuses more on randomized story elements rather than twitchy combat mechanics, should find plenty to interst them. Epic Tavern is now playable on Steam as an Early Access game.