Horror tactical RPG Demonschool revealed at PC Gaming Show

During the PC Gaming Show 2022, publisher Ysbyrd Games and developer Necrosoft Games revealed Demonschool, a horror tactical RPG in a school setting. It is set to release in 2023 for PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC (Steam, Epic).

Demonschool draws stated inspiration from vintage Italian horror, as well as horror manga artists. From an RPG perspective, the style is also reminiscent of the first few Persona titles, especially in battle sequences.

The game features a school schedule, as well as 15 characters that can form relationships over the course of the game. Various choices made will affect the outcome and end of the game. There will also be a clubhouse that can be decorated and customized with various furniture sets.

A debut trailer, description, and screenshot set can be found below. The official website is here.

Description

For freshman Faye, the last living heir to a long-forgotten family of demon hunters, school is nothing like it looks on the brochures. While her peers get to flirt through Freud and dabble in Dante, Faye and her new band of misfit friends get shunted toward supernatural investigations. A woman who lost her face? A summoning ritual in the cemetery? Mailer Daemons!? The underworld inches ever closer to the world of humanity… college is hell!

Demonschool is a streamlined tactics game where movement equals action, decisions can be rewound, and speedy mechanics remove the genre’s traditional cruft. Plan each student’s moves at your leisure, then hit the action button and watch it all play out in devastating, character-based combos. Destin, a hot-blooded fighter, can knock foes forward into Namako’s debuffing dash, and damage dealers like Faye benefit from shrine keeper Knute’s helpful wards. Adjust strategies for monolithic bosses and unusual battlefields, bucking genre conventions. Unleash tide-turning special moves to keep the demons at bay—if they reach the back line, the human world is lost.

Each surreal encounter brings Faye and friends closer to a dark conspiracy beyond their imagining, but thankfully, student life isn’t all bloodstained butterflies and dolls from hell. Live out an entire school semester, choosing what to study, who to befriend, and how much trust to share. Plan your team's class schedule to develop their skills and acquire over a dozen new allies through myriad side quests in a vibrant world of giallo colors and lighting. Foster friendships or fiery romances between them all, strengthening combo attacks and elemental affinities and uncovering new endings. Explore extracurriculars in and around town with a darkly comedic cast of eccentrics.

Demonschool worships at the ritual altar of classic Italian horror films of the ‘60s and ‘70s, drenched in strange visuals and hellish grotesquery driven by a funky bassline that renders even the most horrific scenario irreverent. Its tactical battles evoke genre giants like Into the Breach, but fluid mechanics with fewer clicks and a generous planning phase make starting this class a cakewalk.

“We wanted to create a game with complete transparency while still allowing for mystery. You'll never have to guess at numbers or what does what.” said Brandon Sheffield, creative director of Necrosoft Games. “We hope the story carries you through to a positive vision for the future, and what is possible when like-minded individuals work together against a larger evil.”

History

Demonschool wears its influences on its sleeve - the lighting and colors are influenced by vintage Italian horror, and the avatars are influenced by manga and illustration horror giants like Suehiro Maruo. We started from those visual touchstones and then abided by certain specific visual and hardware constraints in order to achieve a cohesive look and feel. Essentially, we conceptualized a fictional game console, and stuck to its hardware "rules" when making this game. The music complements the vibe with its 70s tinged synths, chorals, and fretless bass, and (hopefully!) combines to create something that looks and feels somewhat familiar, but is ultimately wholly unique.

In terms of the battle system, we started from the idea of removing as many "clicks" as possible from traditional tactics games. You don't have to choose your enemy, choose what kind of attack, confirm all those things, et cetera. You move in a direction, and your character reacts accordingly with whatever is in their path. We find that this makes for a smooth tactical experience that still gets your brain moving. It is also a "perfect information" game - you always know what damage you will do, what enemies will move where, and you can rewind your moves in the planning phase at any time. The game is still challenging, but you are working with all the information at hand, and the challenge becomes "how well can I do this" as opposed to "can I even do this at all?" There are no dice rolls!

Features

  • Tactics: Rewind any action during the planning phase and create combos to dispatch your foes. The bigger the combo, the more efficient your play, the greater the reward becomes.
  • Story: A light horror narrative told through huge avatars with side quests aplenty. Even a few minigames.
  • Schedule: Plan your school schedule to level your characters and build their skills. Equip new skills to change how your characters interact with the battlefield.
  • Friendship: 15 characters with whom to build relationships. Choices you make will determine who you get closer to, which can also influence the game's endings.
  • Clubhouse: Gather new furniture sets for your clubhouse and watch your characters' interactions change!
Demonschool
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