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Set around a city being consumed from within by a disease, Plague Road tells a story of a lone doctor who once abandoned their home and now returns in search of those who have survived. Over the course of the game, players will learn how the city fell victim to the sickness growing within its walls, why the Plague Doctor left, and what brought them back in a tale of regret and redemption.
In Plague Road, you’ll travel from the safe refuge of your farm through a series of regions progressively more affected by the infernal plague. Each region will consist of multiple, procedurally generated stages to explore:
Regions feature their own threats, encounters, risk/reward scenarios and opportunities to make permanent improvements to your farm. As you explore, you will be presented with objectives requiring the development of new strategies.
The further you travel, the greater the rewards become, but be careful: as your companions grow weary, their effectiveness decreases. If you are overcome by the dangers of the road, you risk all that you have earned and the companions you travel with may be lost… or worse.
As you advance down the road, you will have many opportunities to help survivors of the plague and lead them to safety. Rescued survivors then join your community and contribute by working on the farm. Different survivor types can provide special benefits to the farm as it expands.
Types of survivors include:
The survivors you think offer your best chance on the road can be assigned to your expedition party. Finding a good balance of survivors to make up your party is critical to success, but experimenting with many different configurations will be necessary to accomplish all objectives. In certain circumstances, it may be necessary even to bring along a sacrifice…
Surviving the road will rely on your ability to fight horrors created by the plague. Combat encounters take place on a grid and utilize turn-based strategy mechanics. By issuing commands, you direct the actions of the Plague Doctor and the survivors in your expedition party. While most combat occurs in melee, some survivors and enemies will also have attacks that function at great distances and can be particularly dangerous.
Other attacks can hit multiple targets, relocate units on the battlefield or inflict status effects, the most dangerous being Infection. As the plague courses through their bodies, infected survivors see an immediate increase in combat effectiveness, but gradually lose control and begin attacking themselves or companions instead of their intended targets.
Once in each round of combat, characters can move and perform an action, with turn order based on the character’s speed. Most actions in combat, including attacks, spells and special abilities, require some amount of stamina to perform. Survivors that run out of stamina can usually do little more than wait for death to arrive.
Reaching the city center will require you to make strategic decisions regarding stamina use, as opportunities to restore it are limited. Sometimes discretion is the better part of valor; many potential combat encounters on the road can be avoided, but often at the cost of missed survivors or other lost rewards that could have benefited a future attempt.
As you rescue survivors and accomplish objectives, your farm will grow to include additional structures and provide greater options for play. These (and more) improvements provide alternative jobs for survivors and key benefits to further your efforts to survive the road:
How your farm progresses depends upon where you assign survivors to work. Some survivor types are more valuable in certain jobs, but may be more useful still if kept available for expeditions. Survivors that travel with the Plague Doctor can earn Veteran Ranks by traversing entire regions, significantly increasing their value to the farm.
For the music in Plague Road, we want to create an atmosphere of moody tension that fits the setting of the game and provides a perfect accompaniment for strategic thinking. Check out a sample:
Plague Road is in development for Windows PC (via Steam), PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita and Xbox One. The PC release will launch first, with console versions to arrive shortly thereafter.
Arcade Distillery is an independent video game development studio based in New York City.