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Baldur’s Gate 3 meets Assassin’s Creed Black Flag in new pirate RPG

Mixing the turn and dice-based DnD combat of Baldur’s Gate 3, and the pirate world of Assassin’s Creed Black Flag, a new RPG arrives soon.

Flint Treasure of Oblivion Steam RPG game: A pirate from Steam RPG game Flint Treasure of Oblivion

Of course it originally comes from DnD, but the dice rolls in Baldur’s Gate 3 have become one of the tensest, most dramatic moments in modern PC gaming. From combat to romance, characterization to survival itself, everything rests on that fleeting, capricious throw of a 20-side plastic hunk. You take that system and cross it with the barnacled pirate world of Treasure Island or Assassin’s Creed Black Flag, and you get a new, turn-based RPG game with a deep story and bags of atmosphere. The debut work from French studio Savage Level, and published by Microids, the label behind the excellent-looking new RTS Empire of the Ants, PCGamesN got an exclusive look at GDC in San Francisco.

This is Flint: Treasure of Oblivion, a DnD and RPG game inspired by the seminal pirate novel by Robert Louis Stevenson. As a member of the eponymous captain’s erstwhile crew, you’re hunting for the plunder that will later spark the events of Treasure Island itself. There are doubloons and pieces of eight aplenty out there, and through isometric exploration, turn-based strategy, and BG3-esque combat, your job is to track them down and haul them aboard.

At GDC, we see a significant chunk of one of the game’s earlier sections. Flint and Billy Bonds have just escaped from a British stockade and are trying to round up a worthy crew to return to the high seas. The story is told via a series of superbly hand drawn comic book panels, which fill the screen at key moments to contextualize and drive the next encounter. Considerably more linear than Baldur’s Gate 3 (this is Savage Level’s first game, and it’s a much smaller team), you can nevertheless abandon the beaten path for sidequests, additional loot, and to find extra, recruitable characters. Your core party comprises around 11 buccaneers, but there are 40 possible pirates for you to hire and train.

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“Captain Flint is one of the central characters from Treasure Island, but in the novel he’s already dead and it’s his treasure that the main character is searching for,” production director Saida Mirzoeva explains. “But we are doing a spinoff. It’s years before the novel and this is a tactical RPG. Comics are an artform that we adore, so we found a very renowned French comic book artist and we did something like three albums worth of tailor-made comics for the game.”

Flint Treasure of Oblivion Steam RPG game: A battle from Steam pirate and RPG game Flint Treasure of Oblivion

Exploration in Flint is very simple, something akin to a classic point-and-click game. You explore coastal towns, taverns, caves, and beachfronts searching for potential party recruits and gradually building your equipment and arsenal.

Combat however is more involved. Part Baldur’s Gate 3, part XCOM, each of your characters takes two actions per turn and the success or failure of their attacks is determined by dice roll. Near the beginning of the game, you have an eight-sided dice, but the further you progress, this becomes 15 and then 20-sided, introducing more variety and tension to every battle.

Flint Treasure of Oblivion Steam RPG game: A taven from Steam pirate and RPG game Flint Treasure of Oblivion

“There are choices,” game director Johan Spielman explains, “but we have a really tight, strong narrative – it’s not branching. If we had all these many possibilities, we couldn’t make comic panels for all of them.”
Regardless, you can customize your party, select new members based on their respective strengths and weaknesses, and approach encounters in a variety of ways.

Perhaps you want to attack directly and win through brute force. But alternatively, you can reposition and use environmental elements like ropes and balconies to raise your chances of a successful roll. Savage Level’s goal is to create a rich, historically accurate story about the golden age of piracy. You get Baldur’s Gate 3-style combat, but exploration and a narrative that feels closer to some of the best and most dedicated story games.

Flint Treasure of Oblivion Steam RPG game: A conversation panel from Steam pirate and RPG game Flint Treasure of Oblivion

“This game gives us the possibility of informing the general public about what piracy really was, often portrayed in a caricatured and wrong way,” Savage Level’s founders Aurélien and Maxime Josse explain. “Flint: Treasure of Oblivion is the culmination of a rethinking process aimed at advancing the clichés of narration in videogames.”

Scheduled for launch in Q4 of 2024, you can already find and wishlist Flint: Treasure of Oblivion right here. Alternatively, see what else Microids is working with Empire of the Ants, one of the most unique new strategy games of this year.

You can also try the best pirate games, or maybe the greatest PC DnD games available right now.

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