Miasma Chronicles Interview
Miasma Chronicles is the most recent tactical RPG release from The Bearded Ladies, released on May 23, 2023, for PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series XZS. We had a chance to ask Game Director Lee Varley some questions about the game, its systems, and how it builds upon the formula established with previous releases Mutant Year Zero and Corruption 2029.
Johnathan Stringer (RPGamer): Can you give us a quick overview or elevator pitch for Miasma Chronicles?
Lee Varley (Game Director, The Bearded Ladies): Miasma Chronicles is a spiritual sequel to Mutant Year Zero. It contains tense, tough, and deep tactical combat and a touching story about two brothers discovering the truth about who they really are.
JS: In the preview videos, the game looks very similar in visuals and gameplay to Mutant Year Zero and Corruption 2029. Are they set in the same world, or do they have any other link besides sharing a style?
LV: We have a certain visual style we have been improving on since Mutant, but the game world is very different. For Miasma Chronicles we built a new universe, with its own history, lore, characters, and story.
JS: What is the balance between narrative and story versus a more tactical battle focus?
LV: The core of the game is tactical combat, and the narrative is used to drive people on a sense of adventure. The game is structured like older RPGs (especially the early Japanese ones on the PlayStation). We wanted a sense of constant discovery when you play, so as the narrative unfolds so does the tactical combat with new and interesting foes to fight.
JS: What are some things that fans of your previous games will look forward to in Miasma Chronicles? And conversely, what new ideas and mechanics will it feature that set it apart?
LV: The sense of puzzle solving; the idea that you have to properly plan and then execute your fights to win is all present and improved. We also added more RPG systems in how you interact with other characters, side quests, etc. The Miasma itself is kind of a super powered skill system, with special chips you can find to upgrade for extra functionality.
JS: Game descriptions and videos depict a main character and his robot support character. Are these the only two playable characters, or will the game have a larger roster of characters to add to the team?
LV: There are three more characters you can find to add to your group as you progress on your adventure.
JS: Can you give some detail and examples of the character progression system?
LV: We have lots of weapons and equipment you can get your hands on, as well as various grenade types. We also have something we call a skill deck, as you level up you earn points that you can spend on the skill deck, and unlocked skills are available in tactical combat. A bit like a skill tree, but we also allow you to refund any skill, so you are free to reconfigure your skill deck as much as you want.
JS: Will there be towns, in-game economy, loot, upgradeable weapons and gear, etc?
LV: All of the above 🙂
JS: What are some of the lessons learned from the team’s previously released games that have most affected the development of Miasma Chronicles?
LV: Stay true to your core gameplay values and don’t try to make games that appeal to everyone. Some people genuinely love hard games that challenge you to your very core, we try to stay true to our fan base.
JS: What is the inspiration or interest behind the dystopian or post-apocalypse settings for the studio’s games?
LV: We like projecting forward and exploring what-if scenarios. With Corruption, it was what if we end up with stability problems and clever AI, would the AI use the situation to take control? With Miasma we wanted to project what happens if we continue to not take personal responsibility for our environmental issues and allow egocentric billionaires to find the solutions for us.
JS: What other games have inspired or influenced Miasma Chronicles?
LV: For me, I grew up on a healthy diet of console RPG games. I loved the sense of grand adventure and hard battles you had to really think about winning. Xenogears, Grandia, Lunar, etc. All are big influences on me and on Miasma as a whole.
JS: What is the planned support for Miasma Chronicles post-launch? Anything planned or early ideas for the next project?
LV: Lots of balance, bugs and QOL patches, maybe more but let’s see. For our next project, we are already on the concept phase of something really exciting, but it’s far too early to talk about just yet.
JS: With no time or financial constraints, what would be your perfect game?
LV: A remake of Xenogears where disk two was actually finished 🙂
RPGamer would like to thank Lee for answering our questions about Miasma Chronicles. We look forward to the next project from The Bearded Ladies.