A PLAGUE TALE: INNOCENCE
Asobo Studio offers a glimpse inside its dark adventure
Publisher Focus Home Interactive Developer Asobo Studio ETA 14 May
Surviving in 14th century France during the Hundred Years’ War is tough at the best of times, but when you’re on the run from the Inquisition and paranormal swarms of bloodhungry rats are nipping at your heels, it can be quite a nightmare. So you’ll be pleased to know that you’ll be able to experience this hardship yourself when Asobo Studio’s dark adventure releases this May.
A Plague Tale: Innocence follows two young siblings who are torn from their life of nobility and thrust into an emotional journey of survival across France. You play as Amicia, a young girl caught up in the midst of war. Following a family tragedy, you are left orphaned and the responsibility of protecting your five-year-old brother, Hugo, who appears to be suffering from a mysterious illness, falls to you. In this harsh and unforgiving world you must do whatever it takes to survive.
The announcement for the game’s release date was accompanied by the launch of a behind-the-scenes web series. The first episode of which, titled ‘ Roots Of Innocence’, takes a look at the characters and themes that can be found within the game. The developers are aiming to explore the juxtaposition of childhood innocence and the harsh, brutal world in which these children must navigate, while at the same time not shying away from the realities that they face. “Killing adults as a child is not an innocuous subject,” explains creative director David Dedeine during the web series’ first episode. “It gave us the ability to build a strong identity. Maybe it will not please everyone, we understand that, but it does not matter, we don’t want to dilute our vision.” Asobo Studio does not disappoint. You’ll be forced into situations where you must do the unforgivable and unsavoury, like killing other people and hiding under dead bodies, in order to survive.
The video also gives us a glimpse of the game’s crafting and customisation systems. During your journey you’ll meet many other orphans, one of which is Lucas, an alchemist’s apprentice who will teach you new recipes to use with your sling. One will allow you to create balls of fire that you can use to scare away rats.
Rats are possibly the most fearsome enemy within the game. Swarms of these plague-infested rodents often lie between you and your destination and you must take advantage of the environment to circumvent them. Luckily Amicia is resourceful with her sling. In the gameplay demo, Amicia, Hugo and Lucas must traverse a battlefield. Dead bodies are strewn about all over the place, which the kids must clamber over. Along the way they come across the corpse of a dead horse whose body appears to be bubbling and bulging. Suddenly, it bursts and a sea of rats pours out. Amicia scavenges materials and crafts a flammable pellet that she launches at braziers and stacks of hay. The rats, fearful of the fire, rush away from the lit areas, granting the kids passage.
You can take out soldiers, too. The lanterns that soldiers hold can be knocked out of their hands, plunging them into darkness. With their protection extinguished, it doesn’t take long for the rats to surge towards the group and devour them.
The themes of danger, survival and the loss of innocence are there, but we’ll have to wait until May to find out if Asobo Studio has united them in a compelling way.
“You’ll be forced into situations where you must do the unforgivable”
AboveAmicia’s sling will come in handy. That guard won’t know what hit him.
leftUp to 3,000 rats can be squirming around on the screen at the same time.