The concept of permanent death for playable characters—Permadeath—is a familiar one to players who have experience with SRPGs. However, rather than opting for a traditional always-active Permadeath system, Gales of Nayeli explores Permadeath differently through a mechanic dubbed “Grievous Wounds” and Permadeath Maps.
Firstly, it is important to clarify that there are a very small number of units whose defeat will trigger a Game Over under any circumstances. These “essential” units are exempt from the Grievous Wounds mechanics. When a Game Over is triggered, you may choose to either restart the battle, reload from a save prior to the battle, or reload from a save partway through the battle, as you can choose to save at the start of any of your turns.
For all other units, under normal conditions, being brought to zero HP does not permanently kill them. Instead, they are forced to retreat from battle, no longer being available for the rest of that fight, and will have a Grievous Wound inflicted upon them. Units with a Grievous Wound have access to all of their usual abilities: however, they have a semi-permanent debuff placed upon them afterwards that persists between maps and chapters. This debuff, the aforementioned Grievous Wound, reduces their Avoid and defenses, making them more vulnerable to being hit and taking more damage upon being hit. Grievous Wounds cannot be healed with healing staves or items, for only special Bandage consumables can heal a Grievous Wound, dispelling the debuff from a single afflicted unit.
If a unit who is suffering from the effects of a Grievous Wound is brought to zero HP a second time, a Game Over will trigger, forcing you to reload a previous save file. However, an accessibility setting allows to “Disable Game Over upon subsequent injury”. This setting can be toggled at any point during a playthrough independently of your difficulty level.
The main goal of the Grievous Wounds system is to find an interesting middle ground between punishing mistakes while still encouraging players to play through them. Now, speaking of which…
In the vast majority of scenarios, the aforementioned rules will apply. However, there are specific battles where all units (other than “essential”) who are brought to zero HP will suffer a permanent death. If the map objective was to Escape, this will also apply to any playable unit who has not escaped in time.
Should this happen, the slain unit is permanently dead and is unable to participate in battle any further. The items they were currently carrying, however, will be sent to the convoy.
These will generally be maps that are critical to the progression of the story, such as particularly climactic confrontations or unusual battle circumstances where retreat would be impossible. All maps where this can occur will be preceded by a notification that warns of the possibility that units can permanently perish in the coming battle. If a unit does die under these circumstances, no Game Over is triggered, but you can always elect to reload an earlier save manually if you desire to save them.
You are also free to continue playing on even if a unit is permanently slain. In addition to the gameplay consequences of having fewer unit options or not being able to access certain unique abilities, there will also be alterations to the narrative that necessarily ensue. Dead characters will not be able to engage in conversations with other characters, but scenes featuring their friends and loved ones will reflect their absence. Some new cutscenes altogether will be available.
Playing through the game while accepting non-perfect outcomes can increase the stakes and heighten the drama, regardless of your level of expertise with SRPGs. On the other hand, there is nothing stopping you from reloading to ensure that all your units survive should mistakes or poor luck result in an untimely demise. Whichever way you choose to experience Gale of Nayeli is valid and accounted for: the important thing to keep in mind is that you enjoy yourself!
See you tomorrow with more daily updates leading up to the Kickstarter Campaign!