Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Enchanted Assemblages: Lorraine, City of Dreams

Beautiful city lights, oh what secrets do you hold?


Simply put, it is a city. But not a metropolitan one inhabited by people. Rather, it is a ruined city inhabited by the dead. In the mythology of my translated-adaptation, Lorraine was the capital of a small republic under assault from an aggressive neighbor. Their culture was one of child-worship; they believed small children were literal divine gifts and so their entire civilization is oriented around the aging process. I haven't yet hammered out the specifics of this process. But suffice it to say, their culture is greatly different from our own culture.

They kept the city safe thanks to a magical barrier bequeathed to them by the Gods. However, upon the sabotaging of that barrier's power source, the protective veil failed and the city was swiftly captured. Upon its capture Lorraine was demolished; its people were forcefully exiled, the city torn down block-by-block, and many civilians massacred. Soon, the city was all but forgotten.

Historically, Lorraine is inspired in-part by contemporary Palestine-- a small, youthful, densely populated nation facing great hostility and abuse by a powerful neighbor. Although in my own universe the inhabitants of Lorraine were ultimately defeated, I have more hope in real world affairs that the Palestinian people will triumph over Zionist fascism; after all, in this universe I am emphasizing the violence of imperialism and the tragedy of occupation, so, of course, the people will be overcome in order for our protagonist to encounter the horror of his primary antagonist.

In-game, Lorraine is a shattered city overgrown by vegetation. It is what would happen if New York was evacuated of people and vines, trees, and all manner of wildlife invaded, making a home. Indeed, the aesthetics of the city will suggest that it is truly a relic discarded by time. More aptly said, the player will encounter this city simply by wandering into the deepest parts of a very old forest; it is an oddity happened upon by chance and almost mystical in its sudden appearance, surreal in its discovery.

The player will have to navigate through its abandoned streets finding clues as to its history. This is the primary exploration site in the game and so combat will be secondary; what little encounters there is will be with the forces of the primary antagonist, but will be independent of the specific goal which the protagonist faces. What I hope to gain from setting the stage in such a manner is a sense of environmental reading, something which pays attention to history as well as the physical landscape when players make their decisions regarding procession. So, it is going to ultimately be a complex hermeneutic-- something which combines the difficulty of modern games like Dark Souls with the sublime experience of 'Chose Your Own Adventure' novels. (I will outline this more in a later post).

Accordingly, I do not envision a boss battle for this section. In my current vision of the gameplay modes, each section is fairly well delineated in terms of what sort of "reading" the player will focus on with subordinate readings for additional augmentation; so the close reading of combat will feature as an auxiliary form of engagement, but will be, in this case, subordinated to the Marxist reading of adventure. Both, as any literary critic will know, are mutually supportive of one another and so it merely a form of engagement, something to illustrate how it can be altered further. Boss batttles will feature as their own form of reading and will encompass a specific place in the adaptation.

Okay, so that is it for now. Expect another post in the further which outlines the culture of Lorraine in more detail.