History of World's End, Part 1

What eventually became World’s End was the end product of a long (d)evolution. I had wanted to create alternate realities in some form for as long as I can remember, but the feeling particularly crystallized after reading Lord of the Rings and playing various 8/16-bit RPGs in the 1980s and 90s. As a kid, I drew maps and pictures, wrote stories and character descriptions. I never knew or cared what would become of any of it – it was just what I enjoyed.

Despite my best efforts, I became a teenager, and grew embarrassed of my hobbies. To some extent, I still secretly maintained my aforementioned interests, but regarding their existence, I made damn sure to keep silent about them!

Nonetheless, being always the pretentious weirdo that I cannot escape being, I grew weary of all that. Amidst my growing irritation with various societal “demands”, I rather randomly conjured a vague idea in my head of a certain story.

This idea, nebulous as it was, was of molding a story around a “chosen one”/paladin type character who embarked upon some quest or another and ultimately came to challenge a body-possessing demon whose machinations threatened the existence, or maybe just the temporal prosperity, of a rather generic fantasy kingdom.

My only contribution to the realm of what could very generously be considered creativity was the idea that this “paladin” would slowly go brutally insane during his quest. I watched and read the Akira movie and comic around this time, and I can only assume my marginally original idea was spawned from considering the possibility of combining a Tetsuo-esque character type with that of someone like Cecil from Final Fantasy IV (or really with any sort of generic “hero” archetype that littered virtually every RPG at the time).

The story, such as it was, ultimately proved to be as banal as one might expect. Lacking much better to do after high school, I nonetheless secretly maintained it in various forms, both amidst a series of increasingly yellowed notebooks and ground into the wretched hard drive of a beleaguered 486-driven computer.

The bulk of the original material from the 90s is gone at this point, victim of my then-incessant urge to purge much of what I could not fail to see as garbage from existence, via deletion or open flame. Further bizarre urges had, at some point, forced me to stop deleting every last thing I’d written, however embarrassing I found them. So miraculously, some content from that time remains.

I recently thought I’d take some time to delve into all this old material in hopes of presenting a history of the construction of World’s End, and that’ll be my focus here (rambling and rather unfocused though it might be), proceeding chronologically through everything and offering what insights and musings as I can.

Of some note, perhaps, is that the names of Aizu and Tevoran still linger from the ancient story, or at least what said story had grown into by the early 2000s. In such, Aizu and his brother Theyn are the victims of an attack by slavers upon their village, Setora. (Yeah, Aizu was once male. More on that, and an anti-climactic reason for the change later.)

So to summarize the start of the story at this point in time: the only survivors, Aizu and Theyn, are captured, and after a dragon attack, they meet with a dwarf assassin named Khak, with whom they subsequently flee via some hidden dwarf-tunnel to a neighboring village, where they meet with a benefactor by the name of Udasai an-Tevoran, former spymaster of the kingdom of Boronach, which has become corrupted by the efforts of Arochyr, a formerly noble councilor possessed by the demon Phorex. Tevoran somehow recognizes that Aizu is the promised one, etc., etc.

It gets more ridiculous than that. This was not exactly high literature here. Re-reading my remnant scribblings of that time again, and still possessing faint memories of writing a great deal more of such a mess, I recall a few things and note a couple of others.

First and foremost, I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to write a novel or create a game. The whole thing, as conceived, if I can even remember the deleted material correctly, was a collection of documents that veered between a mishmash of bad Tolkien ripoff prose (“Of the politics in Boronach we ought now speak”), bad D&D ripoff “world building” documentation (the high elves live in the forest realm of Tchovar, and have +1 Int and -1 Wis), and bad Final Fantasy-style dungeon maps and charts (“here’s where you might pick up a potion!”).

Were I to go the game route, I still didn’t know what form it might have taken. At the time I’d seen some low-tier DOS renditions of Final Fantasy style RPGs, which gave me something to consider. I’ll make my game in QBasic, right...? (I didn’t know about RPG Maker at the time – more on that later as well....)


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