By Alec Meer on April 23rd, 2013 at 1:00 pm.
Turns out Bethesda have done the smart thing, and announced a crossover between the Elder Scrolls and Dishonored. Redwall will bring the Redguard to the city of Dunwall, as the warriors of Hammerfell use roof-based exploration to uncover a slightly incoherent conspiracy. Pre-order now for the exclusive Pinky Demon character skin.
Just wishful thinking, alas. No fantastical universe crossovers for you, young fellow-me-lady! Perhaps, though, it’s no less preposterous a concept than making a game based on Brian Jacques’ long-running series of children’s books about mice vs rats (and other talking beasts too) in an abbey-based war. Soma games, an Oregon-based Christian developer, have the license, third-person action is the apparent genre, and Kickstarter will provide the funding.
Wrote Soma’s Chris Skaggs, “To long-standing secular Redwall fans: Fear not! We are not making a ‘Christian’ video game. To Soma Games fans who know about our faith: Fear not! We are not making Diablo for Mice.”
But Diablo is already all about using a mouse, silly!
Yes indeed, Soma do the whole faith thing, though they’re at pains to point out that they are “a group of Christians making video games, we’re not what you might call a “Christian Video Game company” and it’s important for us to be very clear about this to avoid inaccurate expectations.” I think it’s fair to say that the likes of Wind-Up Robots and Wind-Up Football aren’t exactly standing outside a shopping centre, waving around a megaphone and bellowing that we’re all going to hell for the crimes of unmarried genital-rubbing and buying smartphones. If you’re interested in more about Soma’s attempts to reconcile church and play, Kotaku ran an interview with them a couple of years ago.
While they’re determined that Redwall will not be overtly influenced by their beliefs, they seem convinced that it shares similar values. “Redwall feels like the spiritual successor to Chronicles of Narnia. While in no way a Christian series the books are deeply spiritual, epic in scope and tone and full of the “right messages” for courage, self-sacrifice, peace and humility.” The Redwall books, as far as I can ascertain, largely avoid specific discussion of religion and faith, although it often talks of a little-detailed afterlife for its anthropomorphic animals. I can appreciate why Redwall fans might be concerned, but it is only fair to give Soma the benefit of the doubt for now. They’re also claiming they won’t do anything which alters the events of the books.
Whether Brian Jacques is comfortable with this arrangement we can’t ever know, as he passed away in 2011 – although Soma’s Skaggs writes that initial discussions about their doing something with the license began just a couple of days before Jacque’s death. Oddly though, Skaggs professes to have never read a Redwall book before starting negotiations – and that’s perhaps a far greater reason for Redwall fans to exercise due caution until more is known.
As for the game itself, we only have concept art to go on so far. However, Soma’s Redwall is actually reviving a slightly earlier attempt to make a game based on Brian Jacque’s war of the rodents. All of this may be subject to change as they shape the game to their own design, but initially the project was known as Redwall: The Warrior Reborn, and claimed to be “a ‘progressive adventure’ designed for multi-platform deployment and an immersive adventure within the storied walls of Redwall Abbey.” Progressive and immersive, eh? That’s a whole lot of ive. It’s from that the concept art stems, so I’d advise against reading much into it just yet.
The next stage is Kickstarter, which means once again there’s the slight discomfort of an already successful license asking for a helping hand. I suppose it has been a couple of decades since a Redwall book was a component part of every other kid’s schoolbag, however.
Look out for that soon, I guess, and as for the finished game, they reckon it’ll emerge in the ” 9-15 month range,” with “PC/Mac as primary experience. Tablets as secondary. A console option is a maybe, we’ll see how it goes.”
Again, they’re keeping details close to their chests, but they’ve laid down some ground rules about what might and might not be possible and the issue of reconciling certain inconsistencies in the books in a follow-up post here.
I remain unclear as to what exactly they mean by ‘adventure’, but I’m left thinking that a stealth-centric game of thievery and rat-avoidance might be the better approach. Dishonored with rodents, basically. Oh look, I’ve gone full circle on this post.
Thanks to GM.