How Miasma Chronicles' tactical-action was inspired by XCOM, Xenogears, and Final Fantasy

Miasma Chronicles screenshot
(Image credit: 505 Games)

Miasma Chronicles is aiming to be "bigger and better than Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden." At least, that's what The Bearded Ladies tells me ahead of the game's launch on May 23 for PC, PS5, and Xbox Series X. The studio made a splash with Mutant Year Zero in 2018, a strategy game which sought to take the turn-based fundamentals of XCOM and draw them into a new world – a haunting post-human rendition of Earth. 

But Miasma Chronicles is something different. While the turn-based combat remains, this tactical adventure is incorporating real-time exploration into its play – giving you more scope and agency to explore a beautifully-detailed post-apocalyptic wasteland, and circumvent the corrupting Miasma which rendered the world inhospitable for humanity. 

With its deep RPG mechanics, upgradable weapons and abilities, and sprawling fantasy story to contend with, Miasma Chronicles looks like one of 2023's most intriguing prospects. And as we learned in our conversation with The Bearded Ladies, we've only just scratched the surface of what Miasma Chronicles has to offer. 

Miasma Chronicles interview

Miasma Chronicles screenshot

(Image credit: 505 Games)

GamesRadar+: What were the biggest lessons you learned from Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden, and how are you applying them to the development of Miasma Chronicles?

The Bearded Ladies: Miasma Chronicles aims to go bigger and better than Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden. The Bearded Ladies listened to the community feedback from their previous games and made a commitment to create a game with a deeper narrative with twists and turns that deliver an unforgettable experience. The community also wanted to get more from the RPG gameplay and The Bearded Ladies have certainly leaned more into the RPG elements in Miasma Chronicles. Of course, real time stealth mixed with tactical turn based combat is the bread and butter for The Bearded Ladies but the RPG elements in Miasma Chronicles help enhance the combat and provide more depth for players who love tactics-based games.

Do you still see XCOM as big influence over the design of Miasma Chronicles, or are you looking beyond that series now?

Some of the influences for the game stem more so from the JRPG genre including games such as Xenogears and Final Fantasy. The Bearded Ladies wanted to create games that they enjoyed playing but keeping the essence of tactical game play that they are renowned for. Whilst games like XCOM have been incredibly impressionable on the Tactical genre, Miasma Chronicles aims to carve out its own niche by implementing fresh ideas into the Tactical Action RPG genre.

Miasma Chronicles will see players navigate a deadly post-apocalyptic wasteland; what are you able to tell us about this world and how this strange environment will impact play?

Miasma Chronicles will be set in the United States, a land with a lot of great culture and locations. Both of which the Bearded Ladies will be using to develop the world building throughout the narrative. Of course, the Miasma is the immediate threat to mankind but there is more to discover about this entity.

Miasma Chronicles is set in the near future, shortly after an environmental renaissance where there was balance between humanity and nature. But since then, the world has changed and a force of nature, known only as the Miasma, dominates America. The key to unlocking the secrets of the Miasma will lie in Elvis’ glove, so it is important that you learn to harness its power.

Miasma Chronicles screenshot

(Image credit: 505 Games)

"Some of the influences for the game stem more so from the JRPG genre, including games such as Xenogears and Final Fantasy"

Miasma Chronicles follows Elvis and his robotic older brother. How important is their relationship to Miasma Chronicles, and what was behind the decision to focus on such a relationship?

Elvis and his robotic brother Diggs are integral to the narrative in Miasma Chronicles. Elvis’ mother left Diggs to Elvis as a guardian before she disappeared, and they have grown close ever since. Together, they both seek to find their mother again and learn the truth about the Miasma.

While Mutant Year Zero was a turn-based combat game, it would appear that Miasma Chronicles is far more ambitious – blurring TBC with RPG elements and real-time exploration. What should we expect from this mix of styles?

The key takeaway from this mix of styles is freedom. The player has more choice on how they tackle the battles in the game. The real-time exploration and stealth can allow players to survey the battle arena and choose to stealthily take out enemies one by one. The RPG elements help double down on the skills for each character as each skill deck will contain abilities unique to that character. With the ability to reassign skill points at will, players will be able to tailor their strategies based on the enemies they face. All of this helps to embellish the turn-based combat and give players a bigger and better experience overall. 

Will combat centre around Elvis and his brother, or will we be able to recruit other characters to join us throughout the adventure?

There will be more characters that join you on your adventure. We have already shown Jade in trailers and gameplay clips so far and she will come with her own set of skills and abilities. Let’s just say there will be more characters that might join you as you progress through the story.

Miasma Chronicles screenshot

(Image credit: 505 Games)

In terms of combat, how much scope will we have to customise each of the characters and prepare them for challenging turn-based battles?

The Bearded Ladies wanted to give flexibility to the players when it comes to combat. Weapons can be modded, Miasma powers can be upgraded and skill points can be reassigned based on the scenario. Use a mixture of guns, grenades, Miasma powers and more but players will also be able to manipulate critical hit chance using the new RAGE feature. In short, Miasma Chronicles offers the most variety in combat from any game developed by The Bearded Ladies.

What scale can players expect from combat? Will the game feature sprawling battlefields filled with enemies, or should we expect more densely packed combat arenas? 

The player will experience a mixture of battle scenarios – some smaller battlefields and some larger scale. What is most important here is using the environment to your advantage. Triggering enemies when going to battle can result in more enemies joining the battle. Some may even spawn in additional enemies for you to take care of. If players make good use of cover, use a mixture of weapons and abilities and come up with creative ways to defeat their enemies then they will get the most out of the combat in Miasma Chronicles.

Miasma Chronicles is developed by The Bearded Ladies and published by 505 Games. The game is now available on PC, PS5, and Xbox Series X. 

GamesRadar+ was first founded in 1999, and since then has been dedicated to delivering video game-related news, reviews, previews, features, and more. Since late 2014, the website has been the online home of Total Film, SFX, Edge, and PLAY magazines, with comics site Newsarama joining the fold in 2020. Our aim as the global GamesRadar Staff team is to take you closer to the games, movies, TV shows, and comics that you love. We want to upgrade your downtime, and help you make the most of your time, money, and skills. We always aim to entertain, inform, and inspire through our mix of content - which includes news, reviews, features, tips, buying guides, and videos.