I recently had a chance to play through the one-hour beta preview of Yes, Your Grace by UK-based studio Brave at Night and if you humbly approach the royal throne I’ll declare my impressions.
Yes, Your Grace mixes RPG and management elements with a colorful pixelated look. You are the king in his castle, lord of Davern, husband, and father to three daughters. In the beginning sequence that led to the title screen, I was asked what to do with a soldier caught attempting desertion while our castle is under siege. I ordered him killed, not realizing I would perform the execution myself. Taking my pixel sword out of his chest, I climbed the tower to the castle wall and ordered the archers to fire on the enemy troops below. The game then flashed back one year and I was in the garden playing hide and seek with my daughters and wife, the daughters bickering like siblings and my wife looking on.
The management element of the game promises to involve not just the well-being of the kingdom but the diplomacy required of any husband married with three daughters. Think of it as localized and pixilated narrative set in a Crusader Kings II court, but one with more contained geopolitical jousting and (I’m only guessing here) no incest.
During the beta each day began in the throne room where petitioners line up with questions and favors to ask of you, their king. As the ruler you have to keep your eyes on a number of resources including supplies, gold and troops. One nice touch is that positive or negative outcomes affect your supply of “content”, an essential resource for keeping your subjects happy. The requests of the petitioners varied from requests for loans to open taverns, to reports of raids by foreign troops, to strange declarations by seemingly insane lords. When your daughters or wife want a word they wait in line too. Occasionally you have the opportunity to throw someone in the dungeon.
In the short sample I played, after you’ve heard from each of the day’s petitioners you have the opportunity to visit different parts of the castle and speak to your family members or prisoners. The story revolves around the marriage of your oldest daughter. It seems that many years ago, when she was a child, you promised her hand in marriage to a barbarian. She doesn’t know this but now that barbarian wants to marry her. This is a big problem because the kingdom doesn’t have enough cash money to fight the barbarians, forcing you to make the decision to marry her to a wealthy prince so that his father, king of his own castle, will join you in an alliance.
The story ended on a cliff-hanger when that second king drops dead from poison at the wedding celebration and his son (your new son-in-law) declares an end to the alliance, taking your daughter with him.
I’m excited to play more of Yes, Your Grace. There were lots of hints suggesting how complicated your life as a king could become as the decisions you made from the throne spiraled out into consequences that created even more problems for you to deal with. There is a large map of neighboring land to explore and in addition to generals, who can be dispatched to solve problems or conflicts, there are also visible UI placeholders for witches and hunters. One question left unanswered for my by this limited beta was how the game will make the decisions and dialog choices matter for individual playthroughs. How far could you go into becoming a bad father, for example? And what happens if you don’t keep your subjects pacified with adequate amounts of tasty content?
We’ll find out when Yes, Your Grace launches in 2020.