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Runa: Everything We Know

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JRPGs are a popular genre with a dedicated and passionate fan base. The genre's popularity stems from its intricate, immersive narratives and memorable characters. The game's distinct art style, characterized by imaginative worlds and vibrant colors, also sets it apart. Fennec Studio is the latest indie developer to walk the JRPG waters with their new title, Runa. The game draws inspiration from classic JRPG games with a modern twist. The devs promise to retain the classic elements that define classic JRPG games, making the new title a delight to play. So what more should you expect? Let's peel back the layers in Runa: Everything We Know.

What is Runa?

Nereanthi talking to Ivier

Runa is an upcoming adventure game that combines classic and modern JRPG inspiration. The game will take players through various landscapes to complete quests while unlocking rewards. To add realism to the gameplay, the game plans to feature a day-and-night cycle and dynamic weather changes. According to the official description, Runa will feature minigames such as cooking, fishing, and farming. It will also include base-building and elemental puzzles. 

Story

Ivier and Ayla Talking

Runa takes place in the mystical land of Akasha. Here, the presence of runas in ancient civilizations represents technological advancements. More so, the runas are useful in combat and domestic use. However, they are not open to everyone. Only those known as adepts possess the power to control and unleash the runas potential powers. 

The game's storyline unfolds through its diverse list of characters. According to the devs, “The characters and their stories play a big role. Our goal is centered on creating charming and aesthetically appealing characters, each with a distinct personality, to accompany and assist you throughout your journey.”

So far, the devs have unveiled five characters: Nereanthi, Mumu, Ayla, Laizehl, and Ivier. Ivier serves as the main character and one of the chosen few adepts. In hindsight, the game has elements familiar to Avatar, where each character specializes in an elemental power. For instance, Nereathi is an electro-adept, Mumu is a water adept, Laizehl works with wind, and Ayla is a fire adept. 

Moreover, the game includes a romance element where players can build relationships with other characters. Unlike in the real world, you are not limited to your financial options; you get fifteen of them. The relationships will be tied to character progression as well as the narrative with regard to the cutscenes and dialogue. 

Gameplay

Runa characters looking at a waterfall

As an adventure game, Runa will feature players exploring its vibrant and lush world filled with sci-fi and mystery elements. The game has revealed four iconic sites that will play a vital role in the adventurer's journey: The Abandoned Ruins of Nilisel, Nexus City of Enyth, Port City of Tuuken and Passage of the Clouds. For instance, the latter will be vital for travelers and raiders as a means of passage. 

Moreover, combat will also be present, where players will engage in turn-based battles. The game introduces an Elemental Break system, which allows characters to use their elements to launch attacks. This system draws inspiration from classic JRPGs, offering turn-based battles with ordered turns, strategic elements, and a focus on elemental affinities. Ideally, you will need to break the elemental balance of your adversaries, making them weak. Doing so gives you a free turn, or you can launch a ‘powerful group ultimate.'

Here is a rundown of the turn-based battles' key features:

  • Elemental affinities with strengths/weaknesses
  • Elemental attack bound to the “attack” command
  • Max active party members: 4
  • Can swap party members anytime; no turn wasted
  • Group ultimates 
  • Seven elements that counter each other

Furthermore, elemental puzzles will form part of the gameplay. You'll be tasked with solving riddles around 7 elements using 12 elemental skills. Solving these puzzles will essentially unlock dungeons or ease your traversal of the cities and the overworld. 

Beyond this, base building will be a core feature of the game. Players will create their own home ground in the city of Enyth. There's no limit to your creation, which ideally forms the customization part of the game. The more you complete quests, the more you unlock features to add to your base, including a lab, farm, canteen, antique shop, runa research, and more.

Development

AYla overlooking the city

Runa is a project by Fennec Studio. The studio, based in Madrid, Spain, will also be responsible for publishing the game. The game debuted on Kickstarter on April 16th, and at the time of writing, the studio was less than $1,000 shy of hitting its goal. Ideally, the developers set three goals for the fundraiser. The crowdfunding is at €45k, the unveiling of a fishing minigame at €60k, and the addition of new characters at €95k. Considering it's been a day since its debut on Kickstarter and the studio is close to hitting its crowdfunding goal, it's safe to assume that we could be seeing new characters added before the game launches. 

Trailer

Runa | Official Announcement Trailer | LIVE on KICKSTARTER

Fortunately, the devs have released a trailer, and it looks stunning. The video showcases the various landscapes and gives us a glimpse of the different characters and their interactions. The trailer primarily shows one protagonist wielding a huge sword attached to his back. It's still not clear whether players will switch between these characters. What's clear so far is that you will play the game from a third-person perspective. 

The trailer also highlights much of the gameplay, including base-building and turn-based combat. However, it leaves out the part where a little Blue Fennec will trail you as your companion. 

Release Date, Platform & Editions

Ivier lightening strike

Runa is in its early stages of development. Therefore, the developers have yet to share a concrete release date. We can, however, confirm that the game will exclusively launch on PC (through Steam) and  on Xbox Series, Nintendo, and PlayStation consoles. The developers also plan on localizing the game, with the Early Access version available in Spanish and English. Later, the developers will update the game to support 9 additional languages.

For editions, the devs plan on launching a Backer Limited edition if they achieve their stretch goal for the physical edition. It's still not clear what the limited edition will contain.  

Additionally, we don't have information on the editions to expect. So many details remain scarce at the moment. However, you can always follow the official social media handle here to keep track of new updates. Meanwhile, we'll watch out for new information and let you know as soon as they come up.

So, what's your take? Will you pick up a copy of Runa when it drops? Let us know over our socials here.

Evans I. Karanja is a freelance writer who loves to write about anything technology. He is always on the lookout for interesting topics, and enjoys writing about video games, cryptocurrency and blockchain and more. When not writing, he can be found playing video games or watching F1.