Gladius E3 2003 Preshow Report

LucasArts will be showing off its gladiatorial action RPG at this year’s E3.

Originally unveiled shortly before last year’s E3, Gladius is a turn-based action RPG that has you playing as one of two different ancient Roman-style gladiators on their quest for glory. At the start of the game, you’ll have to choose between the barbarian princess Ursula, and Valens, the son of one of the world’s greatest gladiators. Playing as Ursula will send you on a path to prove yourself to your overbearing family and discover the limits of your latent magic powers. Playing as the Roman-looking Valens has you following in your recently-murdered father’s footsteps and taking over his school for gladiators, as well as finding his killer and avenging his death, of course. Each character’s story will be relatively independent of the other, though they will cross paths several times during the unfolding of the story. In classic RPG style, the gladiatorial setup is just a stepping stone for larger, more epic storytelling.

Gladius will be a turn-based strategy RPG, and will feature a unique combat system with some real-time elements. You’ll lead a group of up to six combatants, which will be culled from the gladiator school that you’ll develop throughout the game, into battle. Though the combat will be turn-based, you’ll be prompted to quickly match a button combination presented on the screen when it’s actually time to execute an attack. As you progress through the game, your characters’ will learn new attacks, and you’ll be able to make their attacks even more potent with the game’s large selection of weapons. The focus of the game won’t be entirely on combat, and there will also be plenty of exploration as you go to different towns and interact with the characters there.

Currently slated for an August 2003 release on the GameCube, PlayStation 2, and Xbox, Gladius should be in a near-final form at this year’s show.

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