Meanwhile, I had no idea Complacent was writing anything whatsoever. We had been collaborating on music for years, and even worked on some terrible games when we got our hands on a copy of Visual Basic 3. So, when I asked if he'd be interested in making a video game, it probably wasn't the most surprising question I could ask. Pleasantly surprising, however, was his response that he had a story we could use because that was exactly the part of the game I was least confident about doing myself.
In late 2002, I found Tactics Ogre: The Knight of Lodis. This was my first experience with a tactical role-playing game, and I was instantly hooked. I was aware of Final Fantasy Tactics, but the genre was otherwise unknown to me, and I missed out until the Game Boy Advance era. Until then, much of the genre had stayed in Japan where it was still relatively obscure. Tactical strategy games are somewhat less uncommon today thanks to a wave of XCOM inspired releases, and even the strange but still tactics Mario + Rabbids crossover.
So, back then I was experimenting with Game Boy Advance development, and I started working on a similar isometric map system. I studied Final Fantasy Tactics Advance because its engine handled more complex depth sorting than Tactics Ogre, and I tried to recreate the first battle map because it was small enough to fit within a single background layer. I got far enough to realize that my approach to depth sorting wasn't going to work, and quit.
Ultimately, my fascination with Knight of Lodis would inform many of our World's End design decisions. I preferred the somewhat crowded grid and relatively small maps that facilitate melee combat over more ranged combat based games with cover systems. I also found characters with low movement nearly useless, so everyone in World's End can move five tiles by default.
If you were a tactics fan before playing World's End, what games introduced you to the genre and what are your favorites? If World's End was your introduction to TRPGs, have you gone on to play more games in the genre?