You’ll discover a land of RPG opportunities, reveals Spiders’ CEO Jehanne Rousseau
Format PS4 ETA 2019 Pub Focus Home Interactive Dev Spiders
Anyone who’s had a Mass-Effect-shaped hole in their life for the last few years will welcome Spiders’ new RPG. While it may not be a space opera, GreedFall’s 17th-century-set roleplayer promises the sort of choice-led depth and narrative scale we’ve come to love from BioWare.
“We tried to include in the universe and story a lot of different ideas in GreedFall,” explains Spiders CEO Jehanne Rousseau. “[…] Exploration and discovery, but also disease, loss, politics, diplomacy, environment, and even colonialism.”
Set on a mythical island, you’re one of many new settlers to arrive and reap the spoils that come from being part of an invading society. That’s not to say the indigenous people are compliant. While you can tap into magical as well as period weapons to loot the land, its natives will call on the protection of the Earth itself. Naturally, there are parallels to the European discovery and colonisation of America.
“We’ve tried to avoid lecturing the players, and we have no real historical ambition. It’s a videogame, and it’s a fantasy universe,” qualifies Rousseau.
RUBENS IT IN
Grounding the narrative themes and period styling is a unique art direction that calls on the traditions of Flemish painters, drawing on the late gothic and early baroque periods. Rousseau says the team didn’t want to create an historical game, but the costumes, architecture, and politics of the time were a perfect fit for the themes of exploration and colonisation.
Rousseau says: “We wanted the rendering to be different from photorealism and we looked at the paintings of the same era – the Flemish paintings, but also the chiaroscuro from the Caravaggio school are so magnificent and sounded like a logical choice based on our universe that we decided to use them as much as we could as a reference for the colours, shapes, lighting, and contrasts.”
It’s a design choice that affects the kinds of creatures you’ll face. Some are based on the types of animals explorers of the period would have discovered, or perceived. So you’ll battle beasts like the Ulg, a giant wolverine, or
“THERE ARE PARALLELS TO THE COLONISATION OF AMERICA”
the Lewola, a large reptile that resembles a komodo dragon.
“Some others are huge creatures that the natives of the island call Nádaig, which means guardians in their language,” says Rousseau. “These creatures are not only impressive, they have their own history that players will be able to discover during the game.”
This sense of immersion recalls the best of BioWare. Rousseau explains the team has created a consistent world of interconnected factions, geography, histories, magic, politics, and religions.
“Even if the players can’t see everything in this one game, it helps a lot for writing the characters and different scenarios of the main and side-quests,” reveals the CEO. “So yes, the world of GreedFall is a broader world than what the player will experience. And who knows, maybe it won’t be only useful for this game but also to develop another in the same setting?”
While the game draws on real history, there’s a good dose of magic to liven up the world and its story.