Enter RPG Maker Fes. A portable version of the long-running RPG-creation toolkit that lets players craft their own games from start to finish; we looked on with jealousy when it was released in Japan last year, and were ecstatic to hear NISA (NIS America) is taking on the localization for Western shores. We had the chance to go hands-on with an early English build this week in San Francisco, and came away thoroughly impressed: this looks to be a fantastic tool for anyone looking to tell a turn-based tale, and we’re incredibly excited at the possibilities it presents.
The core appeal of RPG Maker is, of course, the ability to bring your own game ideas to life, and Fes promises to deliver that by letting you craft story, characters, and some surprisingly complex systems and scenarios without having to worry about any programing. In the build we played we got to try our hand at making different maps, linking them together, and setting up a few ‘Events’ to turn these elements into something resembling a mini-RPG.
Map-making makes use of an easy touchscreen interface: you select from various tiles — like grass, water, bricks, or dirt — to ‘paint’ on the canvas, and use the stylus to mold the top-down world as you see fit. Starting with a small green island floating in a larger sea, we added some lakes, a few topographical features, and a mysterious statue in the middle to make a basic overworld. From there, we made a second map to serve as the first ‘town’ of our quickly emerging adventure, with a simple row of townhouses and coins scattered around for eclectic decoration.
Building these areas was satisfying in itself, but the real power of RPG Maker Fes comes from its Events, which let you bring things to life through connections and feedback. We used one Event, for instance, to link our two maps together, by designating an overworld tile as a (hidden, in this case) portal to the town. Inside the town we added another Event to have a precocious toddler pop up and proclaim “This is my house!” when the player walks up to a certain door.