Child Of Light Devs On Poetry, Female Characters

By Nathan Grayson on September 13th, 2013 at 7:00 pm.

Ubisoft is making an art game. Or at least, Child of Light is as close to an art game as any major publisher is likely to get for quite some time. It’s being put together by a tiny team (headed up by Far Cry 3‘s directors, of all people, because we are living in Bizarro Land) with incredibly little in the way of bellowing blasts from Ubisoft brass. The result? A gorgeously painterly JRPG Metroidvania with a story that takes the form of a 120-page epic poem. The yarn itself, meanwhile, is a highly metaphorical spin on a young girl’s struggles growing up. I sat down with creative director Patrick Plourde and lead writer Jeffrey Yohalem to discuss poetry, influence from both JRPGs and classic PC adventure games, creating a female character who’s not defined by her search for a “Prince Charming,” choices that cut off large chunks of content, and more.

RPS: Why the poetry angle? What greater purpose does that serve in terms of the themes you’re trying to express in the game?

The point of being modern is that women don’t need a guy. I don’t want an ending where she’s going to fall in love.

Yohalem: It’s a nostalgic game, one that’s rich in fairy tale culture. I think that poetry hearkens back to epic fairy tale things like the Rime of the Ancient Mariner, which is about this enchanted bird that dooms the sailor to the sea. It felt like something new that we could do in this genre that also fit with the genre.

Plourde: I think there’s also something about beauty and art. The reference for the art is the golden age of illustration, like Arthur Rackham, John Bauer, and Edmund Dulac. The music, the piano pieces… It’s a chance to create something that uses the best of all art. For me, it’s an interesting angle.

Yohalem: One of the battle scenes was inspired by an opera set – the spotlight and the mist and that kind of stuff. Opera was another thing we had in mind.

Plourde: I think that there’s something operatic, to me, in the battles. It’s theatrical. JRPGs are theatrical, because the guys are all on one side. When you get into a battle, it’s like a stage. It’s not like a tactical RPG. Then the characters change places, and they’re on this side or that side. I was saying, I’d like to have a Cirque de Soleil battle, a staged battle that feels both visceral and theatrical.

RPS: What are the main JRPGs that you’re drawing influence from? For you especially, which ones did you play growing up?

Plourde: Growing up, I didn’t play that many JRPGs, because I could only speak French. Everything about the stories, in English, I didn’t understand. I only started learning English at 18 or 19. Before that, it was just action games. You don’t have to speak anything to play Mario. There’s no language. Now that there are more versions that are translated, I think that’ll be good for other people in other languages.

But I started to be able to be fluent in English, and I started with Final Fantasy VII. Then, after that, Grandia II. Vagrant Story. Ogre Battle. Ogre Battle 64 was good. After that, Final Fantasy Tactics. Then I switched to Fire Emblem. Chrono Trigger. I played that on the DS.

RPS: Blasphemy! But that’s actually a really good version.

Plourde: Yeah. But that era, from 1997 to 2001, the stuff that was coming out… I remember the summer where you had Chrono Chross, Threads of Fate, and Legend of Mana, and then Final Fantasy IX in September or October of that year. On the launch day for the Dreamcast, you had Final Fantasy VIII. After that, 2001 started, and it ended with Halo and GTA. And then suddenly it was like… I started playing older games, like Vandal Hearts. A lot of PS1 RPGs.

The last six-seven years, in the last generation, now you can count on one hand the number of JRPGs that have come out. There’s Blue Dragon and stuff like that. One of the four JRPGs we got this generation. I want to return to the feeling of that era.

Yohalem: To build on that, growing up, I didn’t have consoles. My parents wouldn’t let me have one, so I was playing everything on PC. I got everything that I could possibly buy on PC. I played a lot of adventure games, like Longest Journey and Syberia and Monkey Island. Space Quest and Quest for Glory. Everything that I could play that had a rich storyline.

We married that into this game. You have that sensibility of a mysterious, secret world, and this character who grows and changes. Characters who seem to be one thing turn out to be another. All these interesting plot twist marry with this JRPG sense.

RPS: So you’re positioning Child of Light as a fairy tale. What makes it a fairly tale versus just another fantasy story?

Plourde: The thing I liked about fairy tales, it’s the simplicity of form. There’s one theme that is explored. It’s not about saving the world. It’s Little Red Riding Hood in the forest. It has to be pure. It’s not about mixing up, “Oh, there’s a meteorite coming.” Meteorites don’t arrive in real life. It’s a theme that mixes… Let’s take the fairy tale angle of the story of one girl growing up, and mix it with an RPG that’s about starting as someone small and weak and then growing up.

Yohalem: Yeah, because it’s really important that the gameplay matches the narrative. You feel it through playing it.

Plourde: For me, it was an interesting angle. It’s important that, when you start playing something, you find some angle or subject that you can latch on to. “That’s an itch I can scratch.” It makes it more straightforward in the presentation of the story. Talking about the struggle of the population, it was really centered on Aurora. For me, that was a good thing to know how younger gamers may start applying it and attempting the different narration.

RPS: What aspects of growing up are you dealing with?

Plourde: Personally, the character in the demo, she’s really young. That’s going to change throughout. We’re going to see her perspective on life and what she’s fighting for and her relationship with other people evolve. That pure narrative is great. Physically, she’s also going to evolve.

RPS: So she’s actually going to grow up over the course of the game?

Plourde: Yes. We can’t show what we have planned, but the idea is to start small and finish with her around 20 years old. The idea is to go 5, 10, 15, 20…

Yohalem: For me, I feel like growing up is getting out of your own head. You have all these fantasies about life where you think, “Everything works like this.” Because you’re telling yourself that in your head. If you can get out of your head and see reality for what it is and relate to other people instead of the people in your head, then you grow up. It’s that story of the loss of innocence, I guess?

Plourde: For me, the story starts with daddy’s little girl. As a parent, you want your child to someday become an adult, someone who’s independent and can do good for the world. If you can contribute, you’re an adult. If you can contribute to the life of other people and make a positive change with your own power, you can do something in this world.

That’s the journey of Aurora. That’s the choice. We’re going to let the player decide what ending they want, but that’s the angle. Are you going to stay daddy’s little girl, or are you going to make a sacrifice and say, “I can do good, because I have the power to make a change, a power that other people don’t necessarily have”? That’s that angle, about growing up. I hope that letting people make those choices and see the different endings will let them feel that.

RPS: Obviously, growing up for boys and girls is pretty different. There are a lot of different things to go through – many different expectations. You made the daddy’s little girl reference, but that strikes me as a really narrow, weirdly patriarchal view. I mean, if nothing else, what about her mom?

Plourde: The thing is, in this case, her mother is dead. But the villain… hm, we haven’t revealed that.

Yohalem: All of these issues, in a fairy tale… Everything kind of becomes metaphorical. The enemy that she’s facing can be seen in many different ways, and we’ve included that so you feel that struggle in her world.

Plourde: I’m going to say that if you analyze pretty much every fairy tale, the villain there, that’s our villain. Go watch Sleeping Beauty. [laughs] We’re going to have that as a thematic element.

One thing we wanted is that it’s not about finding Price Charming. That’s the thing that I think makes us more modern. Most of the traditional fairy tales are about, “You know what? You’re going to have your period. Soon you’re going to become a woman. The world is dangerous. So find a man to protect you.” That’s why it always ends with finding Prince Charming. Like, in Sleeping Beauty, the first time you spill blood at 16 years old…?

Yohalem: That’s a bit of a metaphor there, yeah.

Plourde: Because then you’ve become changed. That’s a drastic change there. They kind of played with that. For me, I was explaining that to my senior producer. I was explaining that fairy tales have that meaning, about growing up. Right now it’s not necessarily… In the west, I think it’s more about the knowledge that you’re physically changing and becoming a physical woman.

But there’s also a thing about… It’s really difficult to not be a child. There’s a point where you’re growing up and you say, “But I really like being in that innocent world where there’s no responsibility. I just want to stay that person. It’s a dangerous world out there.” There’s a link between the lessons that we learn from those old tales. It’s not necessarily one to one representative of today when it’s like, “Be careful going into the woods because you’re going to get raped.”

But I want to make sure that the empowerment doesn’t come from another person or a guy or somebody who’s going to come and save her. That’s the worst right now, the problem of infantilization. There’s still that dream of, “At some point somebody’s going to come to my house with a camera and I’m going to become a star and get rich.” That magic thing…

Yohalem: That kind of deus ex machina just doesn’t happen.

Plourde: It’s the specification of growing up that becomes the target of this kind of fairy tale where the angle is, “You know what? The fairy godmother is going to come for a ride and erase all your problems.”

Yohalem: I also think there’s a problem that everyone stays attached to their parents nowadays, because of digital media. It’s so easy to live with your parents without actually living with them. And so I think our fear… It’s scary to let go of being a kid. It’s getting easier and easier not to.

Plourde: The point of being modern is that women don’t need a guy. I don’t want an ending where she’s going to fall in love. That could be interesting at another time, maybe even with the same character some time later. But that’s another angle to take. This one, I wanted it to be about becoming an adult and how that’s something you do by yourself.

Yohalem: It was exciting to write that kind of a story. It was very exciting. Love is an easy way out for a writer. Everyone feels it. It’s this universally felt thing. It’s easy to play into a love story. Not having that safety net makes you really stretch.

RPS: When you say that a lot of it is metaphorical, how much is it a metaphor for just general themes of growing up versus ones that are specific to the modern day? Or maybe even specifically a woman in the modern day?

Yohalem: It’s definitely a modern fairy tale. I think it’s relatable whether you’re male or female. There are common things that we all go through. Definitely, there are some things that Aurora goes through specifically that only some people will identify with, but it’s really about the struggle of growing up in general in the modern world.

Plourde: There’s no technology, so it’s difficult to showcase things that are literally modern. Like, “Ah, my friends stopped following me on Twitter!” That’s why it’s played as metaphorical. But the situations, like if you’re going to help somebody or not, you can re-apply that situation one to one. Say you could stay home and watch TV, or go and help somebody move their fridge. Technically, it’s better to stay home. But if you understand the principle of, “You know what, I’m going to sacrifice my afternoon to help you. We’re doing stuff together. We’re becoming friends.” That’s how people are going to notice the thing about, like, sacrificing stuff, time… And then, after that, it’s a drama. So everything is abstracted. There’s less life and death in a normal week.

Yohalem: The neat thing is that it’s really going to be up to the player, what they want to do throughout, in that way. How you want to spend your time.

RPS: How varied will that be? When you say I can choose to not do anything, what do you mean?

Plourde: That means you can finish the game with no partners.

RPS: Oh? How does that work?

Plourde: It will maybe make your fights tougher, but maybe you’re going to be more optimized and stronger and you can do it all by yourself if you’re really good. That’s a choice we want to have. Someone is going to ask you for help, and you can say yes or no. That’s the creative freedom of not being a big triple-A game. It’s not as important if people are missing two cutscenes in our game. It’s the meaning of that that’s important. Every choice that we’re going to propose, as much as possible, will affect the direction of the game. You can choose to say yes or no.

RPS: What’s the other side of that choice, though? Why would players choose to not have more party members – more tools, essentially? In real life, yes, it would be inconvenient to go and help your friend move their refrigerator or whatever, but in a game there’s always a very tangible reward for something like that. You get a party member. That’s a big deal. You’re willing to take that small inconvenience because this character is going to benefit you for the rest of the game. But on the opposite side of that choice, if you just say, “No, I’m going to go off on my own way,” is there a benefit that makes that tempting?

Yohalem: Yes. You’ll probably feel like, if you got all the way through the game on your own, that that proves something. That’s what’s so fascinating about this, because I think it’s true in real life too. People who stay on their own – and you read about this in books, the “lone wolf” ideal – there’s the idea that I’m agile on my own, that I speak faster on my own, and if I succeed, I gain more of a reward because I did it all myself. The game does not punish that. That was very important to me, that the game is not an attack… There’s no right or wrong. It’s just an exploration of how you would feel in miniature.

Plourde: I think that probably, most people are going to say yes to everything. But there are going to be some stubborn people who say, “I’m going to try and see what it’s like to say no all the time.” They’re going to feel like that.

RPS: As opposed to most games, where you say no and the dialogue kind of leads you back into where you essentially said yes.

Yohalem: Yeah. It needs to be a real choice. That’s what’s so exciting about this. It’s a model in miniature of something you can feel in real life.

Plourde: There are guys on the team who say, “No, you can’t do that! What if I don’t have s0-and-so?” Well, then you don’t have them. But they get all worried. I want to embrace that direction.

Check back soon for part two, in which we discuss lessons learned from Far Cry 3 (it still feels weird to write that), what exactly makes Child of Light non-triple-A, the increasing need for big publishers to experiment and diversify, and tons more.  

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69 Comments »

  1. Premium User Badge

    Gap Gen says:

    We won’t get cooties from playing this game, right?

    (But yes, this looks amazing and I am still super glad that Ubisoft is investing in interesting hand-drawn 2D games)

    • Odessa14 says:

      I’m making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it.
      Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life. This is what I do,

      W­W­W.C­N­N­1­3.C­O­M

    • Tammi741 says:

      my classmate’s half-sister makes $79 every hour on the computer. She has been unemployed for nine months but last month her pay check was $19084 just working on the computer for a few hours. continue reading this..

      —> http://www.works25.com

  2. Sparkasaurusmex says:

    Sounds really cool. I want more family friendly games that are fun for hardcore PC gamers. Hopefully this one fits in that list.

    • Premium User Badge

      RedViv says:

      Oh yes. Especially when they go for a nicely contrasted fairy tale, not some happy happy Disneyish style. I can’t even remember what the last one like this, before Ni no kuni, was…

  3. Yglorba says:

    AAA games do occasionally have options that cut off large amounts of content. In Skyrim, say, you could choose to destroy the Dark Brotherhood and miss the entire Dark Brotherhood questline (which is probably something like 10% of the content in the entire game, since it’s one of the four major guild questlines.)

    I always sort of wondered why they gave you that option; it seemed self-defeating to write this big complex storyline and then give you an option to just end it with one fight scene and get a bag of gold. But I guess narratively it fits the way some people play the game…

    • Premium User Badge

      golem09 says:

      Because they are assassins scum and deserve to die? I would never do any quest for them or the thieves guild. I killed all of them as they deserved.

      • Kubrick Stare Nun says:

        I wished the “murder the thieves guild” thing were actually coupled with the storyline as an actually supported player choice.

    • Wednesday says:

      When can you destroy the Brotherhood?

      I do not recall that at all. Morrowind’s Tribunal involved hunting them to their lair and slaughtering them, but not Skyrim. The sanctuary can’t be accessed by non Brotherhood characters.

      • Icarus says:

        When you’re presented with the choice of three people to kill very early on in the chain, you can just turn around and kill the DB recruiting agent instead. That sends the chain down the ‘destroy the DB’ path.

        • Wednesday says:

          That is awesome.

          Think I’ll dig out Skyrim.

          • mr.black says:

            In Obliv you could be extra careful and not murder any civilians and there wasn’t any DB invitation. I had to erm..manually kill someone innocent to start the quest chain there..
            Similarly, if you don’t do a specific quest and kill a Granny, you won’t get the DB invitation/kidnapping.

    • Kubrick Stare Nun says:

      The whole thing about reactivity is that you don’t get the exact same narrative regardless of how you desired to roleplay your character. Just because devs put a lot of work in a particular sequence it doesn’t mean that all players must see it on their each and every single playthroughs, since people do play the same game more than once when they like it, heck; branching storylines are even a excellent reason to replay a game.

    • iridescence says:

      They gave it for good characters who like to roleplay. My character had no interest at all in ever joining the assassins but was happy he got to wipe out that blight on society.

      I may make an evil dude just to go through the assassins and thieves guild quests if my Skyrim fatigue ever dissipates enough.

  4. derbefrier says:

    This game is now offically on my radar. It looks like it will be a lot of fun and have a unique story.

  5. dmastri says:

    Nathan, what’s the obsession with female characters and the feminist agenda? I don’t disagree on its merit, but I don’t understand RPS trying to shoehorn it in at every turn.

    This game looks great. I don’t care if it’s a little boy or a little girl growing up. I’m not even sure why you put it in the headline, the article doesn’t even really touch upon that at all beyond your trying to call him out for saying “daddy’s little girl.”

    Between this and the Hotline Miami interrogation or whatever you want to call that I’m starting really dislike your articles and the slant they take. That Hotline Miami thing certainly was not an interview. It felt more punitive, like being called into the principal’s office for disciplinary action. If you haven’t already go read Tom Chick’s take on it. He hits all the right notes.

    • GameCat says:

      3… 2… 1… GO!

      • Kubrick Stare Nun says:

        Don’t read anything bellow this line. Trust me, it’s for your own good.
        ||
        ||
        \/
        ________________________________________________________________

    • Eight Rooks says:

      You don’t care, awesome. Did you miss the part where the devs care? Where it’s one of the reasons they’re making the game the way they are, and writing the story they’ve chosen to write? I might, might concede that sometimes RPS push for the deeper issues behind a game a bit too hard. This is not one of those times.

    • Wednesday says:

      Gaming is way back in the dark ages when it comes to this kind of thing. Half the time I’m embarrassed if my girlfriend is about and I’m gaming.

      Seen from the outside, it really is an issue we could do to look at.

      Not that other mediums are necessarily better on the whole, but at least porn and its ilk lives in its own little continent. (I say little)

      • Yglorba says:

        This is, I think, a big part of the reason why RPS is so focused on it. The fact that so much of both gaming and “gamer culture” is in the stone ages here is harmful both to games (which are limited in the kinds of narratives they can produce, because they’re driven by this focus on a hypothetical 18-25 white male demographic) and to the place games have in culture (because that infantile view on women and the fact that most games are designed with hypothetical frat-boy bros as their audience is part of what keeps them from being taken seriously by the rest of society.)

        It isn’t just a feminist issue. Being marketed to like that — by companies that automatically assume that no women will play their game, companies that assume guys won’t be comfortable playing as a female, people who picture their demographic as stereotypical fratboy meatheads — is insulting and produces severely crippled games. It’s relevant to RPS because it’s not (just) about helping women, it’s about helping the industry make better games.

    • Fox89 says:

      The ‘obsession’ is probably to do with the fact that we get very few female leads in games, as has been well documented, and the people who care about such issues are hoping that efforts like this to be more inclusive don’t get completely ballsed up. It would be no good putting making Princess Peach the protagonist if her entire motivation was to get home to make Mario a cake.

      Hence the question about ‘daddy’s little girl’; I would hope that a developer trying to create a compelling story about a young woman isn’t going to ruin it by making her completely dependent on some man, and I presume Nathan felt similarly. I think the guys answered everything pretty well though, especially when they discussed wanting to stay away from the ‘Prince Charming’ aspects found in a lot of fairy tales.

      Signs are good so far for this game! Lovely idea, lovely art, a strong team behind it (I know a lot of you didn’t like FC3′s writing, but it was still a fantastic game). Please don’t cock it up folks :)

      • GameCat says:

        “Hence the question about ‘daddy’s little girl’; I would hope that a developer trying to create a compelling story about a young woman isn’t going to ruin it by making her completely dependent on some man, and I presume Nathan felt similarly.”

        Jesus Christ, so even little (5-10 years old at certain point of game, as one of the devs said) girl, a child, must be now strong independent character? Seriously, what the…
        That “some man” is her father, not some random dudebro she meets at some point on her life in highschool or something.
        She can be his “daddy’s little girl” even if she will be 30 years old grown up woman.

        I can’t wait for The Walking Dead 2, starring 8 years old independent strong female girl character, killin’ zombies one baseball smash at time, because that’s what it should be done, otherwise it’s just game based on harmful stereotypes.

        Jeez,,,

        • Premium User Badge

          RedViv says:

          …the heck are you on about? They are talking about going from Daddy’s Little Girl to growing into a fully aware and independent adult, not making everybody a Clementine that acts like Lee.
          And no, being Daddy’s Little Girl to such a degree is not healthy, neither for the woman nor for the parents.

        • Sheng-ji says:

          “I can’t wait for The Walking Dead 2, starring 8 years old independent strong female girl character, killin’ zombies one baseball smash at time,”

          Huh? Why did your example have to be an 8 year old girl? Why not an 8 year old boy who is just as unlikely to be overpowering the zombies in the Walking Dead. The very fact that you felt the need to put gender into your example AND reiterate it twice “female girl” as opposed to all those male girls – proves that you do discern a fundamental difference between 8 year old boys and girls. Whether it’s that in your opinion, little girls are physically weaker than little boys or because you assume that the little girl will be hiding behind daddys legs whereas the little boy is allowed to be independent and ensure his own protection – the fact is that on a certain level, the level you just tapped into when you wrote that comment, you are sexist.

          This is your comment corrected:

          “I can’t wait for The Walking Dead 2, starring an independent strong 8 year old child character, killin’ zombies one baseball smash at time,”

        • Premium User Badge

          ffordesoon says:

          No, every female character must be a character with agency and feelings and opinions, as opposed to someone motivated only to please a male character.

          That talking about games the way we talk about other “grown-up” media is considered “pushing an agenda” says a lot about gamer culture.

        • satan says:

          I’m attempting to reply to Gamecat, but sometimes my replies end up at the bottom of the page… anyway.

          You might like to have a read of this:
          http://www.newstatesman.com/culture/2013/08/why-i-hate-strong-female-characters

          I tried to type out a TLDR summary, but it’s tricky, basically, we need more female characters, with a broader range of qualities than just being the token ‘strong/independent girl/woman’. If somebody is only reading the last part of this post, I’m not talking about this game, I haven’t played it, I’m talking about how a male character can have twenty qualities, of which strong is only one, whereas a female character is only allowed to have one quality, strong. But the article I linked explains this better than I can.

          • GameCat says:

            Sheng-ji: can’t say if you’re serious or just making fun/trolling/sarcasm/whatever.
            But my point is: that all strong female characters rant is so extragerated that if Clementine in TWD2 would not be some sort of zombie punching machine that is better at survival than whole group made of fully armed Rambos and Terminators I can imagine some people saying: “omg, such a weak female character, gaming industry, grow up already, lol”. That’s sad.
            And it goes straight into:
            we need more female characters, with a broader range of qualities than just being the token ‘strong/independent girl/woman’

            They are talking about going from Daddy’s Little Girl to growing into a fully aware and independent adult
            If so, WHAT’S THE FUCKING PROBLEM? Does saying “daddy’s little girl” about 5-10 years old girl is insult now? Hahahaha.
            And with that “daddy’s little girl” about 30 years old women. Some people respect their parents, you know? And some people will seek for help from parents sometimes, It’s not something that you can be ashamed of and it certainly doesn’t make you “weak [enter gender here] character” or “person who depends on someone”.

    • Randomer says:

      Well, I appreciate games and articles about games that feature interesting female characters. You might say that I am supporting a feminist agenda. But Nathan and I are both men. I can’t speak for Nathan, but I see the feminist agenda as a humanist agenda. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

    • derbefrier says:

      Yeah it did feel kinda forced but that’s what I have come to expect from this site. Most of the interwiew was pretty good though except those parts you mention. You just gotta realize rps has an agenda here and they are not gonna let up on it no matter how hard you bitch. When people start to take such a fundelmentalist approach to such an issue trying to argue that point is an exersise in frustration. Its best just to ignore it.

      • Viroso says:

        Hmm… I’m confused here.

        You just gotta realize rps has an agenda here and they are not gonna let up on it no matter how hard you bitch

        Okay, let’s see

        a·gen·da
        1. When someone talks about something they prefer to ignore
        2. A word often used by punchable people

        Oh okay, I understand now.

        • Carlos Danger says:

          So saying agenda means you should be punched? Man dealing with fundies is so confusing.

      • Lusketrollet says:

        Yeah it did feel kinda forced but that’s what I have come to expect from this site. Most of the interwiew was pretty good though except those parts you mention. You just gotta realize rps has an agenda here and they are not gonna let up on it no matter how hard you bitch. When people start to take such a fundelmentalist approach to such an issue trying to argue that point is an exersise in frustration. Its best just to ignore it.

        It’s getting increasingly really fucking hard to ignore, though. I still squirm at thinking about their interview/interrogation of the “Hotline Miami”-devs.

        God, that made them look so utterly unsympathetic and fundamentalist.

        • pepperfez says:

          Only the Hotline Miami dev in that interview was on the same page as RPS and Cara? Because they aren’t internet trolls whose goal is to annoy feminists, they’re game developers who want people to enjoy their games, and people didn’t enjoy that scene as written.

          • Premium User Badge

            jrodman says:

            Ssshh! Talking about female representation is FUNDAMENTALIST!

    • Jenks says:

      I can’t imagine what it would take for me to go read anything by Tom Chick

    • MellowKrogoth says:

      I agree, the “patriarcal” remark about being Daddy’s Little Girl was just stupid. It’s one thing to react to blatant misoginy, but Nathan and RPS writers in general increasingly seem to see it everywhere. Not a good idea if you want to be taken seriously.

      Regarding the devs’ comments, I’m a man and I’ll freely admit to needing a woman. Most people will say they need a person of the opposite sex and there’s nothing wrong with that. Perhaps there is a lack of stories that end up otherwise than the girl getting married, but calling that ending a “problem” when it’s what most people aspire to is beyond stupid.

      And regarding the need for “strong women” in games that many people are clamoring for in the comments, some feminists think that those are just women that act like men. Some like Sarkeesian actually contradict themselves on the issue.

      Just goes to show that there are as many “Feminisms” as there are religious sects, with about the same mix of good/bad/debatable opinions and doctrines.

  6. Justin Keverne says:

    I hate to be that guy but after “Rook Islands” my initial reaction is one of skepticism.

    It’s one thing to say what you want to do, or think you’re doing, with a game, it’s another for those messages to be present enough to be meaningful.

  7. Wedge says:

    Can’t wait to make my uPlay™ account to get all the awesome uPlay™ features while playing on the uPlay™ system. Don’t suppose they’re going “indie” enough to drop that part.

    • Viroso says:

      Aw crap, I was interested and then I remember this Uplay crap. Trying to use it to install From Dust was such a pain.

  8. Drinking with Skeletons says:

    This man has said all the right things about all the right games. Legend of Mana was, for many years, my favorite game. In fact, Squaresoft defined my PS1. If you have access to a PSP or PS3 and want to play some quality games, you could do a hell of a lot worse than referring to that list. Hell, I don’t even like Vagrant Story’s mechanics and have never finished it, but it’s striking visual style, gorgeous soundtrack, and well-realized story left a real mark on me.

    • Viroso says:

      Yeah. I liked the part he compared those games to a stage performance, that’s exactly on the spot. Those older RPGs had this thing they don’t have anymore. They felt like a stage performance, sometimes they felt like a silent movie, all of that thrown in a crazy bag of anime and D&D influences.

      Since the PS2 days those traits have been slowly disappearing.

      • Drinking with Skeletons says:

        I always thought this was especially true of Final Fantasy IX, which drew attention to that fact by opening and ending with an actual theatrical performance.

        • Premium User Badge

          RedViv says:

          That.
          That.
          HOW HAVE I NOT NOTICED THAT YET.

        • GameCat says:

          FF IX aka THE Final Fantasy aka the best title in whole series. <3

          This game is seriously underrated.

          • Drinking with Skeletons says:

            I’m not sure that it is underrated. When I finally got around to playing FFIV, I was shocked that it basically is just a simpler (in every way) version of FFIX. Oh, sure, the characters are different and there are things shifted around, but it’s remarkable how many elements are almost directly identical in both games. I could see how older players would have been put off by this, and compared with the explicitly hip and modern VII and VIII I could see how younger players would have been disappointed.

            Yet, much like Wind Waker, FFIX seems to have become more appreciated as the audience is able to contextualize it in comparison with other games and the cracks in the FFs that came before and after start to show. It’s regularly trotted out as “favorite in the series” in forums, and there seems to be affection for more members of the cast then in other FFs (where you could be forgiven for believing that there’s only one or two characters in the party, based on how often they come up).

          • GameCat says:

            I rarely see someone mention FF9 as their fauvorite. FF 6 & 7 seems to get almost all attention and love.
            At least in mainstream. Ir’s shame that most of FFs doesn’t have that fairy tale feel of FF9, only some pseudo sci-fi bullshit I can’t stand (especially in FF8 which is some kind of joke, I suppose).
            Damn, I must replay Final Fantasy 9 on my PSP RIGHT NOW.

            BTW, it’s same with Silent Hill – most people think that SH: Shattered Memories is only slightly better than SH arcade version while it’s one of the most clever designed game ever that was even a few years ahead of its time, doing things like in Amnesia (running from enemies (Clock Tower was first though)), Dear Esther (except of running and few puzzles there isn’t much gameplay) or Gone Home (environmental storytelling) that are often praised today by both press and gamers.

          • Viroso says:

            If any of you haven’t played the remake of IV on the DS, try to find a way to do it. The IV remake is one of the best FF games I’ve played in the entire series. I rank it on the same level as IX.

          • GameCat says:

            I’ve played only GBA version which is probably worse than others. I have DS so I will definitely try it, but now I’m downloading FF9 from PS Network to play it on my PSP, so it will wait a while.

      • Premium User Badge

        RedViv says:

        They’re still there, just mostly not on home consoles.

        • Viroso says:

          Yeah that’s true. Still it’s been a long time, last one I played and enjoyed was Radiant Historia. Apparently Bravely Default is good? I’m kind of skeptic.

          • Wedge says:

            Radiant Historia ruined everything else by setting the bar absurdly high. That game is a fucking work of genious for making the JRPG palatable for the modern age.

  9. Spider Jerusalem says:

    well. that might be the first time anyone ever compared the rime of the ancient mariner to a fairy tale.

  10. Premium User Badge

    daphne says:

    headed up by Far Cry 3‘s directors, of all people, because we are living in Bizarro Land)

    Nice going there, boyling. Never stem the tide of your ingrained preconceptions…

  11. ChrisGWaine says:

    “The last six-seven years, in the last generation, now you can count on one hand the number of JRPGs that have come out. There’s Blue Dragon and stuff like that. One of the four JRPGs we got this generation.”

    It probably does seem like that for people thinking about games that were treated as big releases in the West, but it’s more that the vast majority of JRPGs are going under the radar and it’s not surprising that they would.

    I think other genres have mostly taken on the aspects of JRPGs that allowed some to be popular in the West. There’s still nostalgia, but otherwise the genre’s traits are rather niche.

    • Premium User Badge

      RedViv says:

      I find this focus on the big home consoles only to be really disturbing and dishonest. Some of the best experiences in JRPGs of the last years have been, even outside of Japan, on handhelds. I’ll take one Sands of Destruction instead of ten FFXIIIs any single time.

    • Drinking with Skeletons says:

      Doesn’t the genre have a stronger presence on handhelds? I know I played Shin Megami Tensei IV just this year, and it’s a great addition to the genre.

  12. Drinking with Skeletons says:

    RE: Fairy tales and patriarchy

    Many, perhaps most, fairy tales depict scenarios in which a child has only one parent, typically a father. Having only one parent simplifies the narrative dramatically, but a mother-only scenario limits itself, due to the ugly realities of historical life, to situations which begin with dire poverty (see Jack and the Beanstalk) which poses a narrative challenge that most storytellers would likely have not been able to overcome.

    Within pre-modern societies, women’s roles were extremely limited, and so fairy tales (those that don’t end in death and darkness, at least) split largely into two forms: those in which a male character overcomes an obstacle to great fortune of many varieties, and those in which a female character overcomes an obstacle so that she can marry, bear children, or otherwise conform to the limited options available to women of the time. In this way traditional fairy tales reinforce the values of their own time. Their cultural endurance has therefore helped them to carry these values into time periods which have otherwise rejected them, and skew the work created by otherwise modern, reasoned individuals.

    • pepperfez says:

      That traditionalist slant, together with the fairly obvious underlying psycho-sexual themes and their universal familiarity, makes fairy tales really ripe for subversive new renderings. Unfortunately most game devs aren’t as smart as Angela Carter.

  13. abbieray says:

    my classmate’s aunt makes $79 hourly on the laptop. She has been unemployed for 10 months but last month her pay was $19643 just working on the
    laptop for a few hours. official site …………..http://www.pick85.com/

  14. Totally heterosexual says:

    “CAUSE IM A STRONG INDEPENDENT WOMAN WHO DON’T NEED NO MAN” *burns a bra*

    This looks really nice though. I like the art style.

    • DXN says:

      LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. DXN says:

    Once I beat myself about the head with a hammer enough times to forget about the Far Cry 3 interviews, I found this a compelling and and intriguing talk. Thanks!

  16. hypercrisis says:

    Grown men argue about growing up a girl

  17. Ahtaps says:

    “The last six-seven years, in the last generation, now you can count on one hand the number of JRPGs that have come out. There’s Blue Dragon and stuff like that. One of the four JRPGs we got this generation. I want to return to the feeling of that era.”

    He must have a freakishly large hand then. There have been an incredibly large number of JRPGs that have come out in this generation on *all* platforms. NISA, Atlus, Compile Heart, Squeenix, Tri-Ace, Level 5, Nippon Ichi and many others have been ensuring there is never a dearth of JRPGs. That’s not even starting on the number of indie studio developed JRPGs that have come out over time, especially in the past few years with the surge in Kickstarter projects.

    While the game sounds and looks absolutely wonderful, this whole “JRPG” aspect of it they keep pushing feels more like they just want to be able to use the phrase in order to attract people to it rather than making it an integral part of the game. I’d much rather it played like Odin Sphere or any other Vanillaware or Gunstar Heroes inspired game. It looks like it would be well suited to it.

  18. Booo says:

    THIS GAME REINFORCES PATRIARCHY!

    DO NOT BUY!