David Gaider and the team at Summerfall Games combine their love of storytelling and music with Stray Gods, an RPG musical. But fans familiar with Gaider’s previous work as Dragon Age’s lead writer will note that Summerfall Games takes a similar path in how their story unfolds, albeit much more musically.
Stray Gods is the first game from Summerfall Studios, an Australia-based team of industry veterans and rising stars. Stray Gods revolves around 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 role-playing game, players make not only dialogue decisions, but also lyrical ones. And given that 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 portion of the game will feel very familiar,” Gaider said in an interview with IGN. “It plays the dialogue part with the story and makes decisions during the dialogue, has properties that sometimes determine what options are available to you, and it alters the story. Lots of turns along the way so yeah it will feel pretty familiar.”
Where Stray Gods forges its own path is in the music, which, along with Journey composer Austin Wintory and a team of lyricists, seeks to bring narrative choices directly into a musical.
“The choice is in the music. That’s really key to the whole project, because we’ve planned a total of about four hours of music content, but a player will only hear a smaller portion of it,” says Gaider.
He explains that it’s similar to a Broadway musical, where it’s not just about the beat or the chorus in the lyrics, but the emotion and story conveyed throughout the song. “So you make decisions as you go, and they’re timed so you can sort of maintain the consistency and flow of the song. And the choices you make determine how the song evolved. So it’s not just about the next lyrics, the music itself actually changes.”
Alongside Wintory, the music team includes Montaigne, who has been Australia’s Eurovision representative for the past two years, and Scott Edgar, Steven Gates and Simon Hall, a team of local Melbourne lyricists.
Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical – Screenshots
Of course, a team working on a musical adventure naturally has favorite musicals to focus on. “One of my favorites is ‘Into the Woods,’ and I know we use that reference over and over again,” says Gaider. “I keep going to the Buffy musical, too [episode] also just because that is an example of the musical numbers being diegetic as it is also a conceit as part of the story. Besides, it’s actually a really good musical.”
Liam Esler, co-founder of Gaider and Summerfall Games, also cites Hadestown, which also happens to be a Broadway musical about Greek gods. But Summerfall’s team of veteran writers and musicians have a unique vision in Stray Gods.
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Matt TM Kim is the news editor of IGN. you can reach him @lawoftd.
https://www.ign.com/articles/stray-gods-the-musical-rpg-dragon-age-david-gaider Stray Gods: The Role-Playing Musical’s narrative capabilities will be familiar to Dragon Age fans