History of World's End, Part 8

As full of ill-conceived ideas as it was, my initial plot/design document nonetheless birthed many of the elements that ultimately made it into World’s End as it is now. I want to speed this history up and get to the more interesting parts of development, but I think some of this stuff merits mention.

Let’s start with the tavern fight, where Aizu wanders into the place and stumbles into the “Brigadiers” (then just mere mercenaries with none of the colorful personalities of the Redshields).

I thought it’d be fun if bar stools could be thrown around to damage enemies, and this grew into the now-instrumental game mechanic of throwing obstacles. This was probably inspired a bit by River City Ransom, now that I think of it.

We also see the Brigadiers (and Ivan) being inflicted with the Drunken status ailment, an early hint of the more prominent role drugs grew to play in World’s End.

Plotwise, we see the initial mention of Tiervan nobles being in league with Vorona. The party discovers this and is forced to flee (in a merchant caravan!) to Masori. As the city falls under Voronese siege, they meet up with the newly created Zofia. From there, most of the scenario I wrote is highly similar to the second half of Chapter 2.

The battle with the spawning Voronese in front of Zofia’s house is much as it is now, though she was actually supposed to use a three-shot cannon (similar to Fire Emblem’s ballistae. I was “borrowing” quite a bit from Fire Emblem at this time).

The underground tunnel journey was inspired in part by the Undersea Tunnel sequence in Illusion of Gaia. I liked the notion of the party trudging along a miserable path for a week, and thought it might offer a chance for character development. The characters certainly developed, but in a far different way than I’d planned.

The battle against the subhumans entailed the party needing to reach an “exit” on the far side of the map — the first appearance of the “escape” battle type which only surfaced in Chapter 3. Zofia’s role was to detonate explosives at certain spots to adjust the map terrain.

As for breaking Martin out of his prison, I planned something a bit strange: while Zofia and half the party would drill into the royal prison, Tevoran and the other half were intended to enter through the main gates and use Tevoran’s “mastery of etiquette” to proceed through the palace.

The player would make dialogue choices that would ultimately affect how many enemies showed up in the boss battle. Vera, in her first appearance, was to be a prisoner here as well.

Perhaps one of the biggest differences from the published World’s End is this: Tevoran was originally going to sacrifice himself to aid the party’s escape from the prison. I can’t imagine the game without Tevoran as he is now, but in this incarnation, as the overly knowledgeable former Spymaster of Vorona, I felt it was best to kill him off.

Also, did you notice how I’m referring to the characters by their current names? I had made the decision to dump fantastic-sounding names like Ythaea and Marovyr in favor of real-world equivalents, as I felt they far better illustrated the variety of cultures in the Valelands in a less obscure way.

Ivan First Attempt

One note near the document’s end emphasized that I needed to stop taking the scenario so seriously, and that sometimes humor and absurdity would make the story more interesting than melodrama or adherence to rationality. This alone would lead to a major shift in the game’s trajectory.

But enough of all that! At this time I grew fully aware that I needed to start assembling art, and lots of it. With a mouse, no less. The illustration of Ivan you see up there was my first attempt! Of course, much more had to be done, but we’ll get into that next time.


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