Thronebreaker: Underrated Gem
Updated: Apr 29, 2021
In my previous post I said that Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales was an inspiration for my final major project, and I think it would be fitting to briefly explain why I want to invoke the feeling of Thronebreaker in my own work.
For starters, Thronebreaker has my favourite art style in any game I've played. It's fairy tale, storybook aesthetic fits so well in so many ways. It fits with the fact that it is a piece of Witcher fiction, in that the Witcher books are a very dark and realistic take on folk tales and fairy tales, so the art style clashes with the dark moments in the story brilliantly but still evokes that whimsical awe and wonder. It also fits with that fact that the story is being told by a narrator in a tavern to his guard escort, it is an actual story being told in the context of the game's story. Finally, it is also a call back to The Witcher 3's recap slideshow that goes over the story so far when the game is loaded, these slides use a very similar style, unifying this game with the main franchise despite their stark differences.
I also love how they chose to integrate Gwent as the combat system. Not only does it make sense in the context of the story being told by a man in a tavern, as it could be seen as him using the cards on the table infront of him to explain the battles to people around him, but it also creates wonderful consequence to many of the choices throughout the story.
The incident that always sticks with me is Black Rayla, she is one of the characters you meet in the game and their comes a moment where she goes behind your back and against your orders and murders non-human prisoners because of her mistrust and racial prejudices. You then get the chance to kick her out of your party or let her stay, clearly the morally right thing to do is to kick her out, what she did is unacceptable. However, her Gwent card you use in combat is really, really powerful, it was the crux of my deck in fact. I was plunged into chaos weighing up whether I can afford to do the right thing and lose her. That tie in consequences have with gameplay as well as story is so rare and so powerful in game.
Back all of this up with an incredibly strong and emotional story, great characters and voice acting and some of my favourite music by Marcin Przybyłowicz and P.T. Adamczyk and you have a recipe for one of my favourite games of all time. It is a crime that it wasn't a huge success, I would love to see more Witcher Tales games.
Thronebreaker has great, standalone, tight-knit story, a visually memorable and striking art style, great music, and unforgettable characters. If my FMP could even achieve some of this to even a tiny degree, I would be a happy person.
EDIT: Coming back to this post to show my project trying to evoke that same feel of Thronebreaker with an interesting comparison: