With your king assassinated, and the country in the midst of a war, experience the events that unfurl as one of the five royal advisers now thrust together to create a collective governing council. Manage your resources and allocate them prudently to turn the tides of battle in your favor. Cultivate relationships with your other council members to convince them to support your choices. Filled with narrative-driven interactions and branching choices, Court of Ashes is a turn-based strategy game where you must learn to rule before there is nothing left to rule over.
The first concept for Court of Ashes came about in 2017 when Chris and C.S. were playing a turn-based strategy game. The two considered how, in top-down nation management sims, a user might be convinced to make choices from a humanistic perspective.
The first version of Court of Ashes placed the player across a table from a 3D model of the character they chose to play as. As the player made choices on a tabletop map, the model would change facial expressions based upon how well the decision aligned with the character's goals, thereby providing feedback to the player. This approach was successful in tailoring the player's choices, but testers did not find the interactions enjoyable.
The second version of Court of Ashes removed the character, and placed the player in a 3D environment with their table and map. The tabletop interactions remained the same but the player received feedback via scrolls - notes from other characters offering their thoughts on the player's actions. This approach was more enjoyable to testers, but the scrolls did not evoke the humanistic ideal that Chris and C.S. sought.
The third iteration of Court of Ashes discarded the scrolls and introduced a conversation system. This conversation placed player characters in the same room as their conversants for the first time, and allowed more personal feedback to be tendered. Testers responded strongly to the dialogue between characters, and desired the concept to be expanded further.
The fourth, and current, iteration of Court of Ashes distilled all of the previous points into usable features. The game is now driven by a dialogue system, complete with affinity scenes as well as scripted and unscripted group scenes between the characters. The 3D map interactions rang hollow when contrasted with the rich dialogue sequences that adjoined it. The 3D map was scrapped and, in its place, a 2D map was created with narrative-driven scenarios. The player must still play a strategic nation management game, but the game is driven by the dialogue system, successfully achieving the humanity-centric appeal that the Cratels desired.
Five Separate Journeys
Choose any one of the five council members to play as and witness the Court of Ashes story through different lenses. Explore how each character has their own ideas about rule and how those ideas manifest into strengths and weaknesses for them. Develop your relationship with each council member to unlock all 60 individualized affinity scenes.
Discover 18 different endings, with various subendings, driven by your choices. Decide which path to follow in a branching narrative which follows your responses to both the war and the other council members.
Explore the story a second, third, or fourth time through different characters, approaches to conflict, and alliances. Earn unlockable outfits, starting options, and scenes to enhance each new dive into the choices and experiences of Court of Ashes.
Download Logos and Screenshots