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Redwall and Some Ground Rules

Last week’s announcement took me by surprise – or rather, the overwhelming response to that post took me by surprise. I knew the Redwall community was big…really big. What I hadn’t accounted for is how active you are, how connected, how ENGAGED!  And of course many of you are asking questions that I can start to answer here, though for many of you this post wont tell you all the things you’re really looking for. Still – it’s a start.

Ground Rules:

Here are a few core thoughts we’re working with on this proejct.

  1. The Story is Sacrosanct.
    We’re going with the core notion that this is in no way a reboot or a ‘re-imagination’ or any of that silly nonsense. The Redwall books are awesome as-is and staying true to what Brian Jacques wrote is of critical importance.
    To that end, we don’t want to create anything that alters the story and by extension can’t make a game that allows a player to change the story…at least not in any big ways.
  2. Redwall World == Huge. Soma Games < Redwall World
    The world defined across 22 books is immense. It spans generations, perhaps centuries depending how you measure your mouse-time. With that fact well in mind, even a BA studio like EA would find it daunting. Nary a game-designer could build a single game that got it all in one place. Ergo, don’t cockily attempt the impossible.
  3. Quality is More Important Than Quantity
    Since Soma Games started we’ve held quality, especially artistic quality, as a core value. With Redwall, that will be even more important. With that and #2 in mind, when tension arrises between doing more or doing good*, we’re going with good.
  4. Food is Essential
    This might sound like a strange detail to include here but the feasts of Redwall are legendary and many fans have made it clear – a Redwall game without some significant attention to food is an Epic Fail. We hear you. Who’s up for a ‘make me a sandwich’ mini-game?
  5. This license is not an Opportunity, it’s an Honor
    This may in fact be our biggest consideration. It would be all too easy, and totally wrong, to take inappropriate liberty in the name of creative license or the idiosyncrasies of the medium. We want to move forward with a clear sense that we’ve been entrusted with something that isn’t ours and our role isn’t to add our two cents, but rather to make serious efforts to treat the story with as much respect as it deserves…and that’s a lot.

Some Upfront Concessions:

Along with what we want to do, there’s a lot to deal with as limiting factors. Fans of the series may already know these things but it’s worth pointing them out for those who aren’t uberfans.

  1. Redwall Abbey is Physically Impossible
    Either a ‘dirty little secret’ or ‘unbounded brilliance’ is the fact that there is no 3D world in which all the details of the abbey are reconciled. If all the descriptions of the Abbey are taken together it becomes clear that certain spaces and details run into each other. So either Redwall is some kind of extra-dimmensional TARDIS-like thing, or we just have to do the best we can and call it a WAG.
  2. Scale is a Mess
    In the same way the abbey itself is impossible, the scale of the Redwall world is…flexible. When we’re wrapped up in the magic of a novel, willing suspension of disbelief is more palatable then when I’m  playing a game where reproducible results are a pre-requisite. So just like with the layout of the abbey, the best we can do is hold our thumb out and make a best guess. If a mouse is 1 Martin tall, and badgers are roughly 3-4 Martin’s tall, we’ll say an Elm is 50 Martin’s tall and call it good.

Some Technical Specs:

OK, OK, I know lots of folks are asking for some technical specifics – I’ll drop a few but reserve te right to change our plans as the project progresses.

  1. Genre : Progressive Fantasy Adventure
  2. Platform(s): PC/Mac as primary experience. Tablets as secondary. A console option is a maybe, we’ll see how it goes.
  3. Launch Date: TBD, but not anytime real soon. Be thinking in the 9-15month range, not 2-3.

We’re not trying to be coy by keeping technical specifics to a minimum. But as we mentioned, this is still pretty early and just about anything can change. We want to prevent a situation where folks are excited about some particular detail and we wind up having to disappoint them. But as things firm up in the coming weeks we’ll be sure to lay out more specifics as they come.

I’ll wrap this post up now and come back with more later…

_____________________

* Yes honey, I know it should be ‘well’ but that messes with my consonance.

Tags: , , ,

Posted in Game Art and Redwall 1 year, 4 months ago at 4:28 pm.

30 comments

30 Replies

  1. Michael Apr 17th 2013

    You could argue that you are “doing good” by creating the game–that is, creating a positive outcome. And the alternative would interfere with your alliteration, not consonance (says the grammar nerd).

    Cannot express how great it is that a company this respectful of the source material is handling the game. Godspeed!

  2. Gabe T. Apr 17th 2013

    Hi I’m Gabe, a recent growing Redwall fan! I’ve been reading Redwall for a couple of months now, and I’m happy to say I’m on my third book, ‘Mattimeo’! The stories I’ve read so far are brilliant, and a real adventure! I never really read a book as much before I came across Redwall. The series is really intriguing, and I’m glad I was able to find such a masterpiece of a series.

    Anyways, thanks for all the announcements and everything, every time I see a new announcement I get all excited and immediately click the links.

    I’m hoping that the abbey will turn out all right just like how I imagined it in the book, not too small or anything. The Abbey is really big in my opinion, considering how many animals it can hold can care for. But I bet you guys have it all covered, please try to make it good with your best judgement! I’m rooting for you guys!

    On another note, what makes me worried is the ‘Character Size Comparisons’. Not to impose or anything, but all the creatures below the squirrel are a bit too small in my opinion, or rather the other animals are too big, especially the badger. If possible, I’d like to leave some reference material from an artist I hold in high regard. please feel free to click the link at the bottom of my post.

    Take your time, no need to rush, I want this game to be great! Take a year on it if you have to. I’ll be waiting to play it on the PC!

    If there is anything more I can do to help you guys out, that would be awesome!

    - Redwall Fan Gabe

    http://chichapie.deviantart.com/gallery/27016070

  3. Hi @Gabe – thank you very much for you input and your enthusiasm. With regard to the size comparison drawing, it’s worth mentioning that the image is from Sean Rubin (@seanrubin) who has been the official Redwall artist for the last several years. Obviously every artists has their own take on things but his take…well it carries a lot of weight.

  4. Lady Skywing Apr 17th 2013

    I hope the scenery does justice to what is described in the book.

    And I agree, Mr. Jacques didn’t make the scale consistent >_<

    One question though: Is this going to take place during one book and the player controls the main character, or is it going to be a "make your own character that goes on a made-up-by-game-designers adventure that takes place in the story world" kind of game, or something else?

  5. @LadySkywing – that’s a detail I intend to keep under wraps for the moment. :)

  6. LOVE that you guys are taking this on! We love Redwall in our house, can’t wait to see what you come up with!

  7. Is there any way it will work on Linux? Steam? Even Wine? Please…
    If not, I’ll still play it, but it would be a bother.

  8. @seth – Linux and Steam are good possibilities but no promises. Wine? Not likely…just trying to be honest about that.

  9. Thank god you guys are making it for pc primarily (pc’s can handle way more than mobile) and I’d hate to see the game botched by the limitations of mobile devices. Do you have any idea how much this might cost? Like a run of the mill pc game?

  10. Makaidos Apr 22nd 2013

    I’m super excited!!! Love to have regular updates and it keeps everyone’s ears up. Here’s my 2 cents:

    I think the scale size is great! Maybe the mouse could be 1 mouse-ear-length taller, but that’s just me. I think the badger is a great size because they are suppose to be big and ominous.

    A make a sandwhich game? Uh…..I’m sorry but it sounds a little lame to be honest. I’m really hoping for a high adventure, intense battle, riddle solving game. The food was great in the books and always made me hungry but for a game….it just sounds like what 6 yr olds might play. No offense intended here.

    The game-play sounds cool and I guess technically should be an episodic kind of game that makes the players keep to the story, but I feel that the next game (or gameplay mode) should definitely have a free-roam world where people can create their own redwall characters, form their own alliances, battle other alliances, and make redwall adventures of their own. Some people might want to be the villains and rapscallions, while others might want to defend their abbey from real human intelligence, (other online players) rather than the typical artificial intelligence.

    And there ya have it folks! My 2 copper coins are on the table.

  11. @jt: Ideas? yes.
    Ready to announce that? not yet… ;)

  12. another gabe Apr 22nd 2013

    Hey just another redwall fan named Gabe, I’ve been reading these books for years now and when I heard you guys were making a game I was so overjoyed. I just want to thank all the people involved in this, CANT WAIT!

  13. @Another Gabe – Thanks so much. As the artwork keeps rolling out and the design meetings get rowdy, we can’t wait either. :)

  14. Hi Another Gabe! reading your post made me chuckle..

    That aside, Facebook seems rather limited, and I’d like to help by inviting more people to the series. What better way could we do that?

    An official Redwall forums of course! Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a forum where fans could gather after the kick-starter begins? I feel as though it would be a great place to hype and talk about Redwall in general. It also would be a great place to organize and post fan art or other types of media for the game!

    Trying to find a way for people to get interested in or find their way into Redwall series is hard. When I mention the word “book”, it turns them off, always dismissing it with, “Oh I ‘might’ check it out’” or “Sorry, It doesn’t look interesting”. They’re truly missing out, and it’s sad.

    @Cryptopur – I know this may be a feeble asking in attempt, but will there be anything like that in the near future? I’d like to see one, if possible.

  15. Ryan Brown Apr 23rd 2013

    Seeing you mention the food makes me feel a lot better, but one of my concerns is with the violence in the books, in that I’m worried that you will PG the story too much. In the books violence is always portrayed often brutally in the beginning, with heroes being bloodied, family members cruelly killed, all in the name of establishing the villainy of the antagonist. My concern would be that you would turn away from this in the game for the sake of making the game “child friendly” Can you answer how you see handling violence in your game?

  16. Hey Guys & Gals of Soma,

    When I was about 7 years old I was given a copy of Salamandastron and it awoke in me an unquenchable thirst for reading.
    In the 18 years since then I’ve read Redwall book and and any other I can pick up and am working towards being a writer myself. All of that was started by Redwall books.
    Now you’re making it into a video game… THAT IS AWESOME!
    I cannot wait to play this game and I’m excited to see what you can do with it.
    One request: don’t make them look cheesy like in a child’s TV show, these are warriors we’re talking about here. From dibbuns to Abbesses, vole-wives to Badger Lords, all of them have displayed vast amounts of courage and a willingness to fight to the end to protect whats right.
    Make them look the part.

    Thanks again,
    Ian

  17. Sando Calrisian Apr 23rd 2013

    I had the distinct honor of meeting Mr. Jacques when I was much younger and having one of the Redwall books, for the life of me I can’t remember which, signed by him! Redwall, the first book in particular, sparked my passion for reading and I have many fond memories of growing up with those books.

    I am practically joy puking while reading about the prospect of a Redwall game! It sounds like the folks at Soma grok the series and what it means to fans. With eager anticipation I await the kickstarter so I can help conjure this into reality. And the *ahem* Official Redwall Game forums.

    I like the idea of a sandwich making mini game, and sandwiches are mighty tasty, but it seems to me that the picnics and feasts had much more diverse fare than sandwiches. Perhaps in addition there could be an optional feast preparation game involving resource management.

    In any event, I wish you all the best!

  18. @IanS – Warriors top to bottom, the lot of them.

  19. @RyanBrown – The question of violence in the books, and therefore in any game, is a big one. We do have an answer for you and it’s something we have in the front of our minds, but it deserves a post all to itself.

  20. @Cryptopur Yes, it probably wouldn’t work on Wine but maybe :)
    Please do Steam… :)

  21. Awesome, maybe you should get the guy who was making redwall the game before http://redwallthegame.blogspot.co.uk? Defo make the game come out faster

  22. I have only one question: will there be hares? :D :D :D

    @Gabe T. – you asked for a forum several days ago, I see; I think it’s worth noting there is an official redwallabbey (dot) com forum where fans do gather daily. :)

  23. @amy, Redwall without hares just wouldn’t be Redwall would it. So consider that a resounding yes!

  24. Michael's mom May 5th 2013

    Hi, My son Michael, 10 1/2 years old, has just finished the entire series. Along the way, he has re-read Redwall at least 10 times, plus several others 2 or 3 times. He has been trying to encourage friends into the series, but the other 9-10 year olds are slow to get into it. HOWEVER, we started giving Redwall audio book as birthday gifts and now there’s a little club growing…..

  25. Nashog Jun 9th 2013

    @Amy If you are talking about the Redwall wiki then yes I would say fans are very active on there.

    I do Rp on Redwall Wars wiki and since we are essentially creating a redwall game every time we make a new Rp I was wondering what levels of freedom there will be. By this I mean will it be Elder Scrolls level of freedom where we can go do whatever you want or will it take a more linear path where you are very restricted.

  26. Yesss! I can’t wait for this to come out! :D

  27. kaflooger Sep 5th 2013

    I think you should make one with 1-4 or 5 and you can jump through the story lines so you have quality and quantity then you can see how it sells and make a sequel with 5or 6-9 or 10 and so on.I think you shouldn’t just make #1 because a lot of people like different books more

  28. kaflooger Sep 5th 2013

    I also think that @ryanbrown should be pleased could you add in the options a button to control the blood and gore so more of an audience can play

  29. I for one think combat should be a key element in this game. Though it would be more true to the series, I too would limit the blood and gore so that young readers can play. When I saw trailers for the game Overgrowth (Fighting game where you play as a rabbit) I immediately thought of Redwall and the boxing hares. I think a customized fighting style for each animal would be very cool and entertaining. I also think this would greatly expand your audience too for those who don’t want a game that’s just puzzles.


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