Soulcage was a really big project, together with a group of four people; we designed and implemented a full 3D action-adventure game with a complete playable level. Every model, environment, puzzle or menu that appears in the game was built from scratch. Project took about 8 months to completion and it was a real success in terms of quality and timing.
This article is focused in one of the main parts I worked on, the story design and the intro implementation. For some other parts I also worked on, check the next project in the list, The Soulcage Game Project.
Game Background Story
Once upon a time, there was a land blessed with the power of magic. This gift was given by gods only to women and the priestess were the only ones that could control the magic. The kings of that country corrupted the hearts of priestess to use magic for their own purposes and, that way, they conquered nearby kingdoms and spread the horror thought that land. Time goes by and one by one all the blessed priestess died, some in battle, some due to its dark heart. Finally, when the last and the oldest priestess died, the last remnant of magic disappeared.
The legend said that magic disappeared as a punishment from gods for being used for bad purposes but a prophecy said that, one day, one girl descendent from the ancient priestess, would return magic to that land. That day has come.
King’s Guard Captain stands in front of the cradle where his just born baby lies; she is a girl and she is the last descent girl from the ancient priestess. He knows the power of magic is within her and he blames himself for that. He is the Captain of the King’s Guard and the King is his best friend; they rise together and he knows perfectly the purposes of the king, who has been waiting long time for that moment. The king desires the power of magic above all and, surely, he will corrupt the heart of his daughter like the ancient kings did with priestess… and he can not allow him to do that. For that reason, he decides to finish it in the only way he could imagine.
A scream breaks the night while the soldier brandishes his sword. When the other king’s guards arrive to the room, King’s Guard Captain is down in his knees, with the sword in his hands stained in blood; the baby is not in her cradle and all is tinted in red. The King gets mad of fury and orders to kill the Captain in the public square for his betrayal; his friend and King’s Guard Captain has child his own daughter and, that way, the last opportunity of getting back magic to that kingdom has disappeared forever.
Captain is killed in the dawn; the King is watching from his balcony in the castle. Next to him a young boy is crying in silence; his father has killed his sister and betrayed the king… and now is going to pay for his sins; not only with death but also being buried in the worst place where a soul could be left, the Prison of Souls. The boy takes the pendant from his neck and holds tight in his hand, as the death axe falls down, the pendant shines for the last time.
One young man wakes up in the morning frighten, again the same nightmare, the axe falling down, his father dying and those voices… That morning the king, his adoptive father, has called him in his presence for a secret mission; he has to go to the Prison of Souls, a dark tower in the border of the kingdom to get a sword; his father’s sword. Fifteen years has passed but the boy still hates his father for being a betrayal and killing his own sister, he would never forgive him.
Quite far from the castle, in a small house next to a waterfall, in the middle of the woods, a young thief is preparing to go to the Prison of Souls, no thief has ever returned alive from that doomed tower but she is the best thief of that land and she is sure great treasures await for her in the top of the tower.
Here starts the adventure!
The objective was showing the background facts to introduce the player to the game. Obviously, we couldn’t explain in detail the entire story; just some snapshots to get the player interested in discover more about that world.
The storyboard presents the King’s Guard Captain killing his baby and getting into prison. After that it tries to reflect the big emotional load in the moment the Captain is killed following the King’s rules. Finally, the images of Captain’s son next to the king crying in silence for his father and hating him for betray the king.
The first idea was converting this storyboard to 3D animation or kind of comic animation. Finally there was not enough time and resources and I designed the final solution. The idea was quite simple; just show the storyboard with some text about character’s thoughts… and the results were quite impressive.