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Reflections of Sorrow Prelude

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I'm purposely not going to say anything about the setting. All I'm giving you is what you'd get if you just switched the game on and started playing. I'd much appreciate feed back on the following questions: How interesting was it? How clear was it? How much did it grip you? How much did it make you want to play the game and find out more? How do you think it could be improved? How well written did you think it is? Feel free to throw in anything other thoughts. Thank you very much. I greatly appreciate any feed back you can give. Oh and before you say its too long - it will last around 7 minutes, which is ok if you ask me. Just look at the openings of all the Metal Gear and some of the FF series. So you select 'New Game' on the title screen, and this is what follows... Slowly, a soft melody begins to fade in like a gentle breeze. White text unfolds on a black background. Do you remember the tales of old, Kalum? Fade in a close up of a man in his late 40s. He has short, greying hair and a well kept moustache and beard (also starting to grey). His features are worn, but he wears a warm smile. His eyes are distant. The tales of a time when there was no war and we Gravarians lived in peace. They say children played happily together in the fields and their mothers watched contentedly, without fear or worry. Fade in a still image of a beautiful village with farmers planting crops and children playing together in a field, watched by their mothers. Fade to black after a few seconds. Back then our great cities were bathed in light and rose majestically toward the heavens. Their beauty was a testament to the joyous lives our people lived in those blessed ages over five centuries ago. Fade to a long shot looking down upon a vast and beautiful, white city. Awe instilling architecture stretches to a snow peaked mountain range in the distance. Fade to black after a few seconds. There was once much harmony to be found in Gravaria, for our people were without fear. Fade to the streets of a great city. Light streams down through the clouds to cast the walls of the magnificent buildings into a luminescent brilliance. City folk are going about their daily business with smiles on their uncaring faces. Fade to black. Then they came. The music suddenly turns dark. With their cruel weapons and dark arts they poured out of the north like an unstoppable flood, consuming all in their wake. Fade up the dark and menacing music with an image of foreign looking warriors slaughtering a village of innocent Gravarians who attempt, in vane, to flee in terror. Fade to black. The horror that was wrought upon us by these malicious murderers, who called themselves the Tamuroths, struck fear into the hearts of our people. We pleaded with them to cease their brutal attacks, but these cold warriors only responded with the meticulous slaughter of innocent men, women, and even children. They were without mercy or reason and it seemed that they would swarm over our great country leaving nothing but pain and shadow. Fade in a long shot looking down on the Tamuroth hordes sweeping across the land, covering it in destruction. Fade to black. But we resisted! Music changes to a dramatic note of hope. Our King gathered to him all the Knights of the realm and led an epic resistance against the Tamuroth invaders, and eventually pushed them back behind the border. Fade in an epic battle scene, the armour clad Gravarian Knights desperately pushing back the strangely garbed invaders. However, there was no rejoicing, for countless lives were lost, including that of our great King. All grieved for the sacrifice they had made. Music takes on a sad tone. Although we had suffered unimaginable losses, Gravaria was free from the oppression of war. But it was not to last. Some time later the Tamuroths gathered all their strength and amassed at the border. Once again the two great forces clashed and both sides suffered equally devastating losses. Fade in image of two huge armies (one with many young men) poised on either side of the border ready to face each other. So balanced were we and the Tamuroths that neither side could emerge victorious and for five hundred years war raged at the northern border. Images of battle scenes fade over one another, each new scene depicting more advanced weapon technologies than the last. Fade to black. Then fifty years ago something happened that should have swayed the tide of battle in our favour… A great scientist by the name of Davak Borundar finally finished creating his life’s work; a type of offensive armour capable of deflecting the dark arts of the Tamuroth warriors. Fade in image of Tamuroth warriors fleeing a platoon of Gravarian Knights wearing the new type of armour, which seems to absorb the black magic upon impact, channel it up to the Knight’s shoulders, then fire it back at the Tamuroths through pod like cannons surmounted on the shoulders. Fade to black. Hope filled our nation and the people rejoiced seeing victory on the horizon. The war should have ended fifty years ago, but songs of triumph we sang too soon. Without warning an unknown faction emerged from inside our own ranks and incited rebellion against us, destroying the factory where our newly developed armour was being manufactured. Fade in a night scene of a factory exploding amidst a dark, gothic city. Cloaked figures can be seen fleeing from the carnage. Fade to black. Even though the rebels were few in number, they proved extremely difficult to neutralise, always striking unseen from the shadows in which they hid. After the first rebel attack, Davak immediately began construction of another armour facility, but before it could be complete he went missing and every blueprint of the new armour was destroyed. Fade in an image of a man in a long coat and hat (presumably Davak) cautiously hurrying along a cobbled street. In the shadows, cloaked assailants are poised to jump out at him. Fade to black. Once again we were forced into a stalemate against the Tamuroths. Who ever was behind the rebellion seemed intent on preventing our victory. It was then that the King’s brother, Prince Rovudar, founded the Assassin’s Covenant – an elite group of individuals dedicated to destroying the elusive rebels. Fade in medium shot of 9 elite Assassins silhouetted atop a battlement. When I found you I brought you back to be trained in the Assassin’s Covenant. I was so proud watching you grow into the most talented of the elite. Fade in another close up of the narrator. He wears a stern yet sorrowful expression, like that of a man who knows sorrow intimately. I’m sorry I wasn’t often there for you Kalum, but I had my duty leading the Gravarian Knights on the front line. You and the other Assassins were to be the key to ending this war, for with the rebellion crushed, we would be free to draw all our forces against the Tamuroths and bring peace to Gravaria once again. Music begins to feel tense. I regret to be the bearer of ill news, my friend, but what I am about to say can wait no longer. Only this very night, Flame – your friend and fellow Assassin was arrested for the attempted murder of our King! Music becomes increasingly dark and dramatic. Fade in a medium shot of a woman with fiery red hair, dressed all in white. Her expression is that of malice. Thankfully the other Assassins managed to stop her, but they suffered dearly. She burnt them alive, Kalum! Fade in image of 5 Assassins writhing in flames. Through the fires, the woman in white is gazing upon them with manic eyes. Jaro, Rayne, Tanatus, Serrin, and Iona are all dead! Yourself, Mirade and Sindas are all that remain of the Elite. Not only that, but it seems Prince Rovudar – the founder of the Covenant - was orchestrating the attack against his own brother! It seems that he and Flame are in league with the rebellion. Fade over another close up of the man in his late 40s. He seems to suppressing any grief in order to deal with the matter at hand. Rovudar is currently being held at a maximum security prison, but Flame’s whereabouts are unknown. At the same time as the failed attempt on the King’s life, the Assassin’s Covenant head quarters was stormed by rebel soldiers. The narrator looks down - deep in thought. Music becomes intriguing. It can be no coincidence that these events took place simultaneously. No - Flame and Rovudar are in league with the rebels. There can be no doubt about that. We do not know why the Rebels attacked the HQ, or where Flame is, but they’re planning something… I can feel it. The narrator looks at you directly. Kalum, go to the Covenant headquarters. Flame herself may not be there, but some clue as to her intentions or location may be found. I am once again needed on the front line to repel another Tamuroth attack, so I will not be able to aid you directly. I shall, however, send a more than capable man to assist you as soon as circumstances allow. Mirade and Sindas await you outside the Covenant headquarters. Neutralise the rebel presence there, then route the location of the renegade traitor - Flame. When you find her, you know what to do. Godspeed, Kalum. Fade to black.

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Well initial reaction 'great another lone survivor rpg', the initial introduction really didnt strike me as anything breath taking. That said as you started to expand on the extended war driven societies my interest was aroused with the whole development of technolgy etc. The internal political conflicts reminded me a lot of Robin Hobb's Assasins Apprentice Trilogy, so as long as you don't go down the cheery road of moral superiority (ie. you are the good guy, whatever you do must be for the moral good, you have no real option to do anything wrong or even the option to decide the characters long term actions) I would be entertained because the gritty world of a professional assasin in a medievilish war torn world fighting a guerilla war appeals to me - as long as I have some say in characters long term actions - I don't want a Fable styled adventure shafting me down really shallow, linear paths. I either want freedom of my own destiny like Elder Scrolls series or a really meaty, gripping narritive that is more like an interactive movie like Metal Gear or Final Fantasy 7/8. (personal judgement but that was the peak of series, mostly because of multitude of themes explored eg. love, hate, war, peace, technology vs. supernatural and the list goes on.)

I assume you are going down this more detached lead character path letting the player decide the characters actions rather then the player roleplaying a pregenerated experience because Kalum exhibits no personality of his own so far where the cinematic metal gear or final fantasy would have clearly begun to define the protagonists role in the world and their own attitudes to society eg. Snakes complete bad ass intros with his contempt for authority, danger, pushing technology and human body to new limits etc. Or Seifer and Squall hacking each others faces with large gunblades gives a nice warm intro into their healthy relationship.

One issue I did have was continuty of the narrators voice. The narrator is initially established as omnipotent third person, then this perspective becomes uncertain until the end where I felt the narrator was some kind of character speaking directly to Kalum establishing almost a second person or internal overtone with the player. I really would like to see that either fined up or the distinct division between the history and the present situation made. Eg. Snake has a history lesson, he then acknowledges his mission commander as way of introduction clearly defining past and present tenses and establishing the narrator as a witness character within the text.

I realise you are deliberatlty being vague but can you give any idea on the intended age of your audience? I think my suggestions may be a mature for the younger audience you are aiming (at least I think thats what you are aiming for :D).

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A bit long, you may want to try to compress a few details here and there.

One point of conflict in my mind, why would the man who created the assassins to kill the rebels be a rebel? Wouldn't he been better off NOT creating the league? I'm not sure if you have that figured out or not, but it seemed odd to me.

However, overall it seems like a well thought out opener, I enjoyed it. You have alot going for you, keep it up.

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Thanks for the feed back.

Quote:
One point of conflict in my mind, why would the man who created the assassins to kill the rebels be a rebel?

My initial intent was that Prince Rovudar would play a central part in the intrigue - the player is meant to ask that very question for it has a very interesting answer. Now that you mention it though, it could seem like an unintended plot hole because there isn't any emphasis put on his motives. I think I'll change that a bit so there can be no confusion. Thanks for raising that point - I might not have noticed it otherwise.

Quote:
A bit long, you may want to try to compress a few details here and there.

Out of interest, which parts would you omit or compress? I understand that you don't have all the information you need to really make that call, but as a viewer, which bits seemed to you like they didn't really need to be there?

Quote:
I either want freedom of my own destiny like Elder Scrolls series or a really meaty, gripping narrative

This game leans strongly in the direction of really meaty, gripping narrative, but you also have some control over your destiny. You play through Kalum's key memories in which there is a lot of hidden depth. Something doesn't seem quite right in these memories and for those who search, there lays a dark secret waiting to be uncovered. Doing so will result in a change of destiny in the present - and ultimately decide the fates of millions. This is a very sophisticated plot. The story is dark, gritty, and harrowing and is aimed at more of a mature audience.
I agree with you, Averous, that the role of the narrator needs to be more clearly defined, and I think it will become so when you see the prelude come to life with artwork, animation, music and voice acting.

I really appreciate you two taking the time to read my work and give feed back. By working together we can improve each other's ability.

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Too many names! This is a game, not the Old Testament! If you really need them all, try to introduce them bit by bit, preferably with proper build-up and enough emotion to make me really remember them all. Funny names without meaning are just funny names.

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Original post by Sirano Simons
Quote:
A bit long, you may want to try to compress a few details here and there.

Out of interest, which parts would you omit or compress? I understand that you don't have all the information you need to really make that call, but as a viewer, which bits seemed to you like they didn't really need to be there?



I myself would omit or compress ( depending on what you want to do), everything before you talk about that you have been at war for 500 years. If you have in game books that you can read, like in Oblivion/Morrowind, have some predate the war such as someone diary that talks about the intial invastion.

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