David Gaider is best known for his writing on sprawling role-playing games like the Dragon Age series. Now he’s working on a new kind of game: an interactive musical called Chorus.
Gaider’s new company Summerfall Studios launched a crowdfunding campaign today for Chorus, via Fig. In the lushly painted trailer for Chorus, a young woman called Grace is given the gift of song by a dying friend. But mysterious musical gods demand a price. She and her fellow band-members strive against the gods’ schemes. Grace is voiced by Laura Bailey, who has appeared in multiple games including Gears 5, Persona 4 and World of Warcraft.
In the trailer, Gaider says: “We wanted to make a musical, a game with a focus on characters and story, where the big moments happen in song and the player decides where that song goes. It felt totally new, a genuinely fresh take on narrative games.”
Chorus’ Fig campaign page shows how the game’s basic structure works. It states: “Your choices will shape the outcomes: strong-arm, charm, or negotiate your way through a world of branching songs … The choices you make during songs influence not only the lyrics but the song’s musical direction as well.”
In the trailer, Gaider’s RPG influences are on display, with characters taking on traits that change through the game. Grace is given narrative and dialog choices, including romance opportunities.
“During important parts of the game, Grace had the power to draw people into song,” says Summerfall managing director Liam Esler. “You make choices during the song, just like in dialog. But here, you’re trying to build up flow, which you can use at the end of the song to alter the world.”
Esler’s previous experience includes production work on Beamdog’s Baldur’s Gate: Siege of Dragonspear, and games event organization. Music for Chorus is being written by Austin Wintory (Journey, The Banner Saga) with voice actor Troy Baker (The Last of Us, Bioshock Infinite) taking on voice direction. Benjamin Ee is handling art direction.
Gaider worked at BioWare for 17 years before leaving in 2016. He spent a spell at Beamdog before co-founding Summerfall. Chorus’ Fig campaign is seeking $600,000. No information is available on release date or platforms. But we’re intrigued by this game and will be sure to keep you updated.