And it all started with a tileset and a bet with a friend – Me.
Everything starts with exposition
It’s that day again. The Ritual. Today, another child will be given this challenge, this task. How many times have I seen those children leaving this place to never come back? Three, four? What’s the deal with the Ritual? What’s the deal with sending children and not us, the guards? Why should I say nothing about that? I’m both growing old of time and this. I want to seek the answers, I want to understand. – The protagonist
This year, it’s a child from the center of the Village, not far from the Village Hall. A child a bit younger than usual and a bit smaller. After chatting a bit with the wary surrounding neighbors, the child came to the Hall to discuss with the Leader. He’s given the dangerous task of bringing the Ritual Tokens owned by the Holders to keep the charm on the Village that repels mosts of the monsters outside and this time, it’s up to them to do it and that there wouldn’t be no one else up for this task this time, the other children are still infants. Hesitating, the child accepts half-willingly the quest.
Right after leaving the Hall, the child is stopped by a guard of the Village. The guard asks them if they know a bit about the quest itself and if they feel up to it. The child doesn’t reply. The guard sighs.
Alright, fine. Whatever the reason the Leader would have, I’m sure there is no real reason for you to leave this place. I’m going to be honest, child. I’d rather go and do the deal instead of you getting in danger. Do you remember the Hermit next to the Cascade? When I do my patrol I usually go check him to see if he’s still alive as no one else would.
If you want to bail on the quest, no matter when, go to his place and tell them to hide you. The day I’ll see you there in my patrol, we’ll advise on how I can take over your quest. If you need a weapon, go see the guard’s reserve and grab a sword, it’s on the house. I’m sure they’ll understand. If not, I’ll shake them a bit, it’ll be funny.
On those words, the child nodded and left the Hall’s garden. It won’t take long until the guard will see the child to the Hermit’s place. She’ll take the child’s Ensign, ask them to not leave the Hermit’s place until the guard comes back with the last Token. The Hermit, the child and the guard agree on this plan and the Guard, the Protagonist of the game, leaves on her quest.
The Protagonist is an old guard of a small Village with no prentention at the corner of the world. She is not really far from retirement but she can still handle her job better than the other guards, she lived a calm life as a sentinel, fending off a few waves of creatures summoned from a place nobody has never set a foot on. She’s determined to find out the origin of this Ritual and see if she can prevnt the future Bearer to disappear during the Ritual’s quest.
And that’s roughly the start of the other project I’m working on lately when not depressing over
Zone. The next half of the post is about spoilery bits so if you want to skip them out, I’m
hiding them under a clickable spoiler zone, given you have a browser that supports the
tag (so, not Edge or IE). Let’s see the reasons behind this project, shall we?
My motivation - the spoilerless part
This project has a weird thing : It’s in Haxe, and this language comes to me periodically, taunting me to make something in it. And it’s time I dusted off a project to continue a bit before dropping it back in the dust I took it.
This project is another instance of “I want to make the same kind of game than xxx”, this time a 2D Zelda-like. I have mostly the Oracle of Ages&Seasons games as inspiration and not Link’s Awakening, as Ages was my first Zelda, fight me.
This started by looking on a tileset, Zoria’s, showing it to a friend and foment a plan with her: why not seeing if we could both make a Zelda-like from the same tileset? Me being legendary unfocused, I didn’t go far and lost myself in the engine’s abstraction and data loading systems before being fed off this projects.
Also among other ideas I wanted to delve there would be the lifebar. Instead of just having Heart Containers, the feats the Protagonist would brave would be enough to revigorate progressively to her youth’s energy.
Among the ideas I played with, there was the one where I’d have for this game a protagonist pretty much different from what I had in my games, taking a twist on the Chosen One and the Coming of Age-ish quest. In a simplistic decision, the protagonist is an elder woman who took over the Chosen One’s duty and identity to have her own answers.
I might not be a good writer, so I guess I could eventually the right people to have some clues on how to write a story and their characters. My kind of goal for the Protagonist’s persona? Dola from Ghibli’s Laputa: Castle in the Sky. Rude and grouchy but soft-hearted.
I wonder how far I’ll go this time. See ya next time.
One last thing
“Zeldalikelike” is the current codename because it’s a pun between making a Zelda-like Zelda’s Like-Like; and I temporarily chose this codename because I am very inspired. Yes.
Spoilers about the story and my motivation.
Are we in the clear? Are you sure you want the spoiler part? I don’t really know how to hide a
secret so I guess I’ll write the plot twist on the actual first devlog post for this project,
what could wrong! Just let me pad for few lines and we’ll be good. Right? Fine. Anyway, here’s
Wonderwall the rest of the plot I have designed yet. I’ll stop doing the narrator game in
this section I didn’t plan to write in-universe this much.
The plot twist
Basically, the twist is that the Leader and the Holders crafted a curse on the Village to see themselves granted eternal life for the price of a sacrifice of a young soul every 15 years, let’s call this duration a cycle. This curse has been lasting for a few decades, hence the multiple children already gone. The Village has no knowledge of this, except for the exceptional longevity of Leader, hiding this in some made up story about being blessed by the local divinities.
Each time the Protagonist will meet a Holder to fight them, the latter will be surprised to not see a child this time but her, letting out a clue or two on what’s the real deal. The Protagonist will progresively catch on the plan and face the Leader roughly halfway in the quest, revealing she took the child’s role as the cycle’s Bearer. The confrontation will not happen well and she’ll be blocked from entering the Village again to avoid her to tell the truth to them. A bit later, she’ll understand that the Tokens are a way to get back in the Village and face a last time the Leader.
My motivation - the spoiler part
I thought having a character such as The Protagonist, replying to the Holders’ own surprise by her own questions would have been refreshing after playing so many mute characters, where you “would fill the blanks” where the silence was. It all started as a joke on a what-if, but I was content on how the idea looked like back then and would like to see if I can make such story interesting.