Tales of the Knight Errant is a role-playing game without levels, boss fights, and experience points. Instead, it’s all about the decisions your character makes and how they affect the story as it unfolds. The game’s creative director Thomas Olson created it as his master thesis project, and he and his team are now working on fleshing it out into a full title, which will be available on iOS devices.
Olson showed off a short demo at the USC Games Expo at the University of Southern California earlier this month. I played as a gallant knight who was on an equally heroic quest of retrieving a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for a fair lady. Olson told me that the ballad of the PB&J was actually just a throwaway story that the team created to test the game’s narrative engine — but people liked it, so they decided to keep it in as a showfloor demo.
The full game will have a different flavor. Among his inspirations, Olson counts Aesop’s Fables and Geoffrey Chaucer, the Middle Ages poet who is best known for The Canterbury Tales.
“The game is inspired by a mix of old school pen-and-paper RPGs and medieval allegorical storytelling,” said Olson in an interview with GamesBeat. “What I’d like to do is try to bring the depth of a longer epic role-playing experience, the personal insights and whatever you can get from playing these things, and bring that to a more casual audience by reducing the play sessions down and hearkening back to that short form allegory, so you concentrate it instead of step-by-step, blow-by-blow, all the grinding and whatnot. Just the most pivotal choices in the…