Having spent the entirety of its existence assuming The Pillars of the Earth [official site] was probably Pillars of Eternity I have found out today that a) it isn’t and b) it’s a point and click about CATHEDRAL CONSTRUCTION IN 12th CENTURY ENGLAND! Oh, also c) it’s out now and there’s a launch trailer to watch…
“An adaption of the best-selling historical book of the same name by Ken Follett, The Pillars of the Earth is a one-of-a-kind 2D interactive novel. The story follows a memorable cast of characters in this twelfth-century tale of the construction of a mighty Gothic cathedral which stunned readers and critics alike with its ambitious scope and gripping humanity.”
That’s a basic overview but there’s a better quotation later which fleshes out those conflicts and characters a bit:
“Set in the tumultuous period of 12th century England, The Pillars of the Earth sees main characters such as Jack, Aliena and Prior Phillip fight to construct a revolutionary gothic cathedral in the fictional town of Kingsbridge and put their town on the map economically, socially and politically. Such aspirations draw the ire of the the town’s rivals Bishop Waleran and William Hamleigh, a vengeful noble rejected by Aliena, who see the town and its rise to importance as a thorn in their flesh. They want to see Kingsbridge burn. This epic tale crosses decades and immerses readers in medieval life yet enthralls them in tales of heart-rending intimacy and humanity along the way.”
Adam had a brief hands-on with the game earlier this year and it sounded really promising, with a lot of thoughtful work that sounds like it’s not just inheriting and running with a bunch of genre problems or just taking basic point and click or Telltale storytelling formats wholesale. It’s even in little things like a “think” option which lets you ruminate on objects and people in your surroundings in a way which helps express the detail of the world.
Adam only played a short demo so it’s impossible for us to say whether the final game has made good on those ideas yet – I’ll try to take a peek this week as it sounds really interesting, though! It also divides into chapters so that makes the idea of playing it while also working around Gamescom and things seem manageable.
Just as an FYI, I wrote a kind of biography of Canterbury cathedral for my undergrad degree – that cathedral was founded in the 6th century AD by Augustine of Canterbury but the architecture is a complicated jigsaw of later work. The 12th century is particularly important because Thomas Becket was murdered in the cathedral in 1170 and the veneration of Becket which followed necessitated that the cathedral (and Canterbury) accommodate that strand of pilgrimage. There was also a fire which necessitated a bunch of rebuilding work in the choir, hence the appearance of things like flying buttresses.
There’s always money in the banana cathedral, Michael.