I’ve decided to share some spoiler-free information about Searing Blade.
My main influences with Searing Blade were the Legend of Zelda series, Darksiders series, the game El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron; and possibly the Diablo series (namely Diablo II) to some extent.
For the humour, I drew on experience from Midnight Eyes,its spinoff, and my non-fiction book Out Of This World. For example, Cherubs will not be portrayed as baby cupid-like beings, except in parody of this portrayal. Humour was absolutely essential, because I want this to be an uplifting and cathartic angel story that portrays angels – who have tended to have rather humourless portrayals in Popular Culture, and tended to have quite darkly toned portrayals [some bordering on Horror genre] – as more than capable of being humourous.
With the cutscenes, I was mindful to avoid the ‘Playstation 1 and Playstation 2 RPG/earlier Metal Gear Solid games’ plague of cutscenes of 5-10 minutes (or sometimes longer!) that were placed before a fairly difficult boss with no scene skipping, meaning every time you retried the boss fight you had to sit through a long, unskippable cutscene over and over – and as such I focused on being as succinct and humorous as possible. Seamless and intuitive scene-skipping would be implemented in additional to this.
I also devised ways of making exploration as tedium-free as possible, and make the travelling and exploration feel modern and intuitive. The gameplay is intended to give the player a sense of empowerment. Accessibility of its subject matter is also a priority – to be a ‘primer’ for those completely unfamiliar with lore about angels, and there is also an in-game document that lists the names of most angels that either appear or are referenced in the game, including their name written in Hebrew, the translation of their name, and a short description.
I completed my goal 50 pages of in-game documents (as of 2:40 PM 31/1/17), and some in-game documents material were able to be pushed back to the second game. The player would be completely free to either read or ignore these documents at their leisure – at no point would the player be forced to read an in-game document to advance the main plot and unable to progress unless the document has been read. I aim to challenge myself further by increasing this amount by 50%, to 75 pages of in-game documents, for the second game.
When I started working on the main script for Searing Blade in mid-late 2015, I was able to draw on roughly 10 years of writing experience and skills developed from other projects – and once finished, I went back and made significant tweaks and improvements that expanded earlier parts of the game. I own – and have finished – hundreds of games, including all main series Legend of Zelda games except Zelda I, Zelda II, Four Swords, and Triforce Heroes; and was able to use this as ‘research’.
Searing Blade release date: Watch this space!