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Chronicle: RuneScape Legends “Didn’t Start As A Card Game” – Our Interview With Lead Designer James

Chronicle: RuneScape Legends officially launched last month on Steam and it’s proving to be quite popular with RuneScape players, CCG fanatics, and just about everyone else in between. It mixes diverse elements and provides a refreshing alternative to Hearthstone and similar games, which seem to be popping up several times a month.

Following its successful launch, we caught up with Chronicle Lead Designer James Sweatman to ask him a few questions about the game’s past, present, and future, including its un-CCG like origins and a little inside info about what Jagex has in store for the game’s next hero…

MMOBomb: Hi James, thanks for taking the time to answer our questions! First up, what are your CCG preferences, whether digital or physical?

JS: I started out as more of a card collector than a gamer. I had plenty of Pokémon cards in my younger days as well as football stickers. It’s only been in recent years that I’ve picked up CCGs, with the likes of Dominion and a little Magic in the physical world. As for digital CCGs, I have an enormous amount of respect for both Duelyst and Hearthstone.

MMOBomb: On the launch livestream, I heard someone say that “It didn’t start as a card game, but was rather a hero-building game.” Can you give us the brief tale of how Chronicle came into being and morphed into what it is today?

JS: Absolutely, we never set out to make a CCG. Chronicle, or Project Odyssey as it was originally known as, started out as a series of automated prototypes that tried to reimagine the RPG experience. While they were all fun in their own way, we kept finding ourselves gravitating to the same loop – build a character and send them on an automated quest. So one day we asked, “What if you built the quest instead?” and Chronicle was born. Cards quickly became the best way to convey this mechanic, leading to the game we have today.

MMOBomb: In particular, I love the art style and general “storybook” motif that’s incorporated throughout the game. How did that develop?

JS: From the start we wanted a single canvas for Chronicle. A consistent element that could both contain your card collection and be the board you play on. As the “questing” theme began to really come to life we felt the best medium to convey an adventure was a storybook. Mixing in a little magic from RuneScape, we brought together questing, collecting, and epic boards in one package.