Announced at today’s Paradox Interactive Showcase, The Lamplighter’s League is a turn-based squad tactics game like XCOM or Fire Emblem, paired with a pulpy 1930s world reminiscent of Indiana Jones. Developers Harebrained Schemes had previously made the underrated Shadowrun RPGs, some of the first in the new wave of great CRPGs we’ve been seeing since the 2010s.
The Lamplighters League’s first trailer shows off a femme fatale, slippery rogue, and burly Brendan Fraser-in-the-Mummy type stealing an ancient artifact before tangling with some definitely-not-Nazis complete with gas masks and stormtrooper helmets. Harebrained says they’re “The Banished Court” in an “alternate 1930s,” but I say if the jackboot fits, wear it. The Lamplighters League will see your quirky squad of misfits travelling the globe to thwart these ne’er-do-wells, complete with an Indiana Jones travel montage-style world map.
Harebrained Schemes is touting The Lamplighters League’s focus on stealth and guile. It seems like most combat scenarios will let you go in quiet, and the stealth system lets players “sneak past enemies in real-time infiltration gameplay, pick off the stragglers quickly and quietly, and position [their] squad to get an edge for the fight.”
That mix of real-time pre-fight stealth and positioning with turn-based combat reminds me of higher-level play in Divinity: Original Sin 2 or the turn-based mode in Pillars of Eternity: Deadfire. Those games’ harder fights encouraged you to really dive into their stealth systems, and I loved the sense of satisfaction I got from meticulously lining up all my guys, pulling off a perfectly-orchestrated trap, then launching into turn-based tactics to wipe up the stragglers. Harebrained’s prior experience gives me a lot of hope for this combat, but I’ll be interested to see how the devs handle progression, especially in this age of looter shooterized single-player RPGs.
A brief sizzle reel of gameplay at the end of the trailer shows off The Lamplighters League’s familiar grid-based battle screen, as well as some pretty enticing environments like an overgrown jungle temple, sparse desert base, and misty, noirish city. The Lamplighters League is set to launch sometime this year, and you can wishlist the game on Steam, Epic, or the Microsoft Store.
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