Interview: Nicholas Spargo | Melancholy Republic

Nicholas Spargo talked to Noobfeed about his upcoming game Melancholy Republic

By Grayshadow, Posted 29 Apr 2015


Cloud Runners Studios is running a second Kickstarter campaign to fund their project Melancholy Republic. The 16-bit JRPG title is a story driven game that stars a noble politician named Claire C. Lockridge as she attempts to fight against the corruption that has plagued the city of Lorna.

Cloud Runner Studios,Noobfeed,

Recently I was able to interview the Creative Director of Melancholy Republic, to ask for an in-depth analysis of Melancholy Republic.

Adam: What is the plot of Melancholy Republic and what makes it different from other JRPGs?

Nicholas Spargo: Melancholy Republic is set in a sprawling city state republic called Lorna. A country still struggling with the scars left by a recent political coup d'état and increasing technological change. 

Claire C. Lockridge is a newly elected senator; she is to hold office and seat within the Central Parliament of Lorna. With her two aides and the unlikely love story she forms with the 'Armoured Princess' Marianne, Claire seeks to end the corruption and sadness that ravages the heart of her country. 

The plot is told across multiple chapters, each one with a self contained story about a character that Claire meets in the city. These sad short stories and Claire's individual story form the overarching tragic plot. Unlike traditional JRPG games, ours is unique in that the story is a tragedy; an original and heartfelt story is the core of Melancholy Republic so any sort of cliché or traditional JRPG trope is nonexistent.

Melancholy Republic,Noobfeed,Cloud Runner Studios,

Adam: The star of Melancholy Republic is Claire C. Lockridge. What can you tell me about this character? What role does she play in Melancholy Republic?

Nicholas Spargo: Claire C. Lockridge, a noble by birth, is from a wealthy landowning family in the forested hills of Dallena. Elected into office as senator following the death of her father who held the same position before her. Claire moves to hold her seat in the capital at the start of our story with lofty ambitions to ensure she lives up to her family name. She is driven to end corruption, poverty and the suffering that ordinary citizens face no matter their nationality, race or gender. She is the character controlled throughout the story, with players often making decisions in conversation for Claire that will define how her character develops.  Her time in the capital and the stories she will uncover will shape her world views and decisions forever. 

Adam: Claire won’t be the only character the player will encounter in this grand story, who else will Claire encounter throughout this tale? Will her actions affect the people around her, and if how?

Nicholas Spargo: Our other main character in the story is Marianne Dawnmark, known by the people of Lorna as 'The Armoured Princess'. A courageous and fiery figure who stands as Guard of the Capital. Marianne is a descendent from the deposed Dawnmark royal family and she is sworn to protect the fledgling republic of Lorna. Claire and Marianne share a common goal of freeing their country from the shackles of corruption, their fate and love story are a key aspect of Melancholy Republic's tale.  

In each chapter Claire becomes involved with a new characters unique story within Lorna. Claire plays a huge role in the fate of the characters she meets and these stories develop Claire's vision of her world and the system she is a part of. 

Melancholy Republic,Noobfeed,Cloud Runner Studios,

Each chapter of Melancholy Republic is a self-contained story, why was it decided to separate the story into portions? Will the player be limited to a specific area for each chapter?

Nicholas Spargo: The chapters serve to open further zones throughout the story. Each chapter will allow the player to explore multiple areas, as exploration of the city is a key feature in Melancholy Republic. So while one particular chapter is centred around the slums area, the player will still have access to places such as the parliament, sewers and wealthy residential districts, meaning they can still find hidden places and stories they may have missed in earlier chapters. 

Using chapters allows us to more easily control things such as the movement of time, pacing and city wide events. We can also tell multiple stories so that the player can experience many aspects of Claire's world and better understand her character and the decisions she will make. 

Adam: Exploration is a massive part of Melancholy Republic’s gameplay. The City of Lorna is teeming with people, stories to experience and lives to shape. The developers at Cloud Runner Studios have showcased the amount of details they’ve put into ensuring each part of the city is wonderfully detailed. What makes Lorna stand out and why should the player explore every inch of this elaborate city?

Nicholas Spargo: Lorna is a unique and beautiful concept for a video game city. Inspired from JRPG cities such as Lindblum and Midgar from Final Fantasy and Zeal from Chrono Trigger, it has a scope and size unlike any other JRPG city. Since our game is set within this one location we can really focus on the detail and variety that would be expected in a grand republic capital. 

One of my favourite aspects of JRPG games was exploring the towns you come across, talking to NPCs, finding hidden corners and doing hidden quests. This is something we strive to translate into Melancholy Republic, so our areas are full of interesting and memorable characters with many personal and optional stories to uncover. We hope players will love exploring and looking all over Lorna but we also do not want to force players so much of the city is optional as are many of its quests and stories. 

Melancholy Republic,Noobfeed,Cloud Runner Studios,

Adam: The life of a politician isn’t easy. Claire will have to go to great lengths to succeed in her quest. What can the player expect to take part in while on this journey? 

Nicholas Spargo: Claire will have many difficult and painful moments in her journey. While the core of Melancholy Republic is the story and characters, the player will influence much of what happens through their decisions and will also have opportunities to interact with the world in many ways. Player choice is a key feature throughout the story. You will have the chance to make decisions for Claire in conversations that will affect the outcomes of chapters and the way characters think about Claire. 

Players will also have the chance to take part in other events both optional and part of the core story. Things such as sneaking through areas at night, canvassing for votes from regular people and using Claire's powers of persuasion and deduction to solve mysteries and puzzles. 

Adam: The soundtrack of Melancholy Republic is something you highlighted on your Kickstarter page. What makes Melancholy Republic’s soundtrack so unique from other JRPGs and how important will it be to the overall game?

Nicholas Spargo: The soundtrack is a vital part of Melancholy Republic and sets the tone for much of the story and areas the player will be a part of. As huge fans of video game music here at Cloud Runner Studios we are working with Metronomix Studios to put a huge amount of care into creating a beautifully unique soundtrack to accompany our tragedy. 

Our aim is to feature classically inspired melodic themes using modern orchestral influences. The music features some live recorded instruments such as violins or French horns all used to create beautiful, emotional orchestral arrangements that reflect the sad and reflective themes in the game. 

Most modern JRPG games feature very loud 'epic' orchestral soundtracks, we wanted to make something truly different and our soft, melodic approach whilst using rich orchestral instruments really shows this and we encourage any music fan to listen to our selection of songs available to see just how fantastic our music is.  

Melancholy Republic,Noobfeed,Cloud Runner Studios,

Adam: When will Melancholy Republic release and on what platforms?

Nicholas Spargo: Early/Mid 2016 is our target, for release on PC at launch. 

I would like to thank Nicholas Spargo of Cloud Runner Studios for taking the time to answer my questions. You can back them on Kickstarter, follow them on Twitter and Facebook, visit their website or listen to the soundtrack for Melancholy Republic on Soundcloud

Adam Siddiqui, NoobFeed
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Platform(s): Xbox 360, PS3, PC, WII, 3DS, Vita, Mobile
Publisher(s): NoobFeed
Developer(s): NoobFeed
Genres: Video Games
Themes: Latest Updates
Release Date: 2009-02-14

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