Summoner is a 3rd Person Fantasy RPG developed by Volition. Summoner takes place on the continents of Medeva and Orenia. Medeva's architecture is similar to that of medieval Europe. Orenia has an Asian influence and design. Creatures and characters found on one continent will be unique to that area.
You will be able to control up to 4 different PCs in Summoner. Additionally, Joseph, the main character, can summon creatures to help him in battle. With a summoned creature in the party you can have up to 5 party members at a given time.
There are many types and styles of armor the players can equip, ranging from traditional (Medevan) chainmail, plate, cloaks, to more exotic (Orenian) samurai-style armor. All equippable slots change the character's appearance in the game view, except the Neck and Ring slots.
Combat will be real-time, but you can pause it at any time to issue orders to your characters. You have "focus" control of one PC at a time. You can issue combat commands, use skills, cast spells/summons for that character while he/she has focus. The other PCs will generally act apon your last orders, and be handled by the AI. How the AI handles a PC while you're not in direct control depends on the AI Script you've chosen for that PC ("heal", "engage", "ranged", etc.).
Each PC/NPC has hitpoints, similar to most RPGs. Hitting zero hitpoints results in death. Summoner doesn't use mana, but rather "ability points" (AP). Each PC has a pool of AP, which naturally recharges over time. APs are used for skills such as Pick Locks, Assess, Kick, or Sneak. They're also used for spellcasting, and for Joseph's unique Summon ability. As a PC gains levels, their max AP will increase, much like HP.
Summoning is an ability unique to Joseph, the main character. As you progress through the game Joseph will find ancient rings that can harness his Summoning ability. Each of these rings has a specific property (Darkness, Flame, Light, etc.). When used by themselves, or in combinations, they have the possibility of summoning a creature to Joseph's side. Part of the game will be to try out these combinations and see what summons what.
Summoning is not free for Joseph. In addition to costing ability points (AP), Joseph's maximum hitpoints (HP) is also reduced while a summon is in the world. If the summon is killed or is banished, Joseph's max hitpoints will return to their previous level. Some of Joseph's current HPs will be restored if the summon was banished. How many HPs returned to Joseph is proportional to how much HPs the summon had when it was banished. If the summon is killed in combat, Joseph receives no returning HP.
If Joseph falls unconscious or is killed while a summon is in the world, the summon will lose the magical ties it had to him. The summon will then go on a rampage until it is killed, attacking allies and enemies alike.
Some examples of Joseph's summons: Red Minotaurs, Black Imps, and Stone Golems. Some things that Joseph can summon will be unexpected, and sometimes even dangerous.
A Summoner's inheritance is a power greater than magic. With rings of channeling, Summoners call forth demons and golems, supernatural servants and elemental creatures. Summoners have toppled empires and challenged gods. They are venerated as saviors and feared as destroyers. The chosen are born with a mark on one hand, but the origins of this gift were forgotten long ago.
Joseph fears his power more than death itself. As a child, Joseph tried to save his village from attackers, but the demon he summoned slaughtered the villagers while Joseph watched in horror, his misguided heroics causing the deaths of those he loved. Exiled and ostracized, Joseph vowed never to summon again.
Over the years, the enigmatic Yago counsels and guides the youth, preparing Joseph to fulfil his prophecy. As the invading armies of Orenia march across the Medevan plain, Yago urges Joseph to quest for the ancient rings. Reluctantly, Joseph agrees.
On his journey, Joseph meets three young adventurers who become his companions-Flece, Jekhar, and Rosalind. Flece is a cunning thief and cynical rogue who grew up on the streets of Lenele. Jekhar's family perished when Joseph summoned a demon long ago, and now the warrior seeks revenge. Begrudgingly, he helps Joseph on his quest. Rosalind is novice of the Order of Iona and yearns to become a mage-priest and guardian of Iona's divine scrolls. The daughter of Yago, Rosalind is jealous of Joseph's power and hates her father for devoting his life to the Summoner's cause.
Their quest takes them across the world-to the sunken empire of Ikaemos and the rugged wilds of Liangshan, from the stronghold of the Khosani to the Jade River that flows from Heaven. In the ruins of lost civilizations and the temples of Orenia, they search for the Summoners' rings.
Intended features include:
Full 3D engine with a 3rd person view
Dynamic, easy to control camera system offering cinematic views
In-depth story with unique characters
Jaw dropping spell effects and summonings
Quality party-based multiplayer, unconstrained by the storyline
Streamlined, mouse-driven interface
Easy-to-learn combat system, with progressive depth
Amazing in-game cinematics
Massive amounts of weapons, spells, monsters, and characters
The multiplayer mode is a party-based hack-and-slash-type mode. The players can travel from level to level, killing monsters and collecting items & experience. There will also be relatively short quests they can perform. There won't be an encompassing storyline for multiplayer, however. The Playstation 2 version is single-player only.
Summoner is scheduled to be released in Fall 2000, for the Playstation 2 U.S. launch. The PC and Mac versions will follow sometime in early 2001.