Thursday, 25 April 2013


W(h)ere is a game about a family of wolfweres that is an action-adventure game that serves as a more mature addition to the genre. It is a slightly older design of mine, but I will try and walk you through it. The main character is a wolfwere, who was separated from his pack (family) and brought to a strange island; he is brought from his forest to a laboratory on a remote island. The enemies are mostly animals, with humans introduced later on, and you use a variety of techniques to defeat your enemies and solve puzzles, taught to you by your other family members trapped on the island.

The game takes place in the third person perspective, it uses gritty violence and is in the adventure/RPG genre. The plot is essentially a quest for the family of wolfweres to escape the military lab and return home. Throughout the game, you learn new techniques taught to you by your escaped relatives. The game is played like most of its genre, only with the twist of being mature. [other games of its genre include Super Mario 64, Banjo Kazooie Series, Donkey Kong 64, etc.; just a clarification] The main world is the island, it is surrounded by water and is inescapable by traditional means. The various levels are caves, laboratories, ships, and other landforms and structures. They are only accessible in chronological order, with objectives and bonuses to each one.

Initially, combat is rather simple, with only a few basic attacks and weak enemies. Later on, however combat gets very interesting when you are fighting the military humans armed with guns, stealth becomes a large factor, deception and tactics become very important. The more advanced techniques require collectable tokens, accumulated throughout the levels. Those techniques are required to advance past later obstacles.
This game is essentially aiming at a more mature audience that grew up with the classics; there is a significant shortage of games of this genre and next to none in the mature range, with obvious implications. It is also a realistic sci-fi game though it might be called fantasy, also another scarce realm. It touches a number of untapped genres, combined with unique characters, solid gameplay, good graphics, immersive environments, and an involving storyline promises to be a significant title in the evolution of games.

The objective of the game is to escape the island laboratory with your pack. That is accomplished by rescuing your family members throughout the game, then sneaking on board a military ship as it is leaving the island (due to an evacuation order). A long series of events leads up to this point, and is caused by multiple conditions that were all triggered by the player.

Wolfweres are similar to werewolves (hence the name) with the critical difference that they are wolves for most of every month, they then turn into humans on the night of the new moon. Their wolf anatomy is slightly off from a normal wolf, they have ball-and-socket shoulders, and there is some sexual dimorphism; females have a thicker patch of hair on their back, often called their mane, which is often slightly off color from the rest of their hair. Wolfweres have dark and thick hair, a large head with a significant jaw. They have a short tail, and mostly solid colored hair. Wolfweres have cat-eyes, with a vertical slit for a pupil. The Wolfwere lifespan is approximately one third of a human’s, a good approximation of an equivalent age is simply to multiply the wolfwere’s age by three. Wolfweres are omnivores, they have significant food sources in both the plant and animal kingdoms. On the night of the new moon, they become full fledged humans, though many of them have unique hair patterns which are hereditary; they do not shave while in human form [as they would end up with strange bald spots when they returned to wolf form], they still retain their language, though they are much less proficient at speaking in human form. 

Wolfwere Culture
Wolfwere culture revolves around their clans, basically branches of a family that travel as a pack; working together to hunt, forage, raise young, and perform the various jobs life throws at them. When one from outside the family joins a clan, they are referred to as an Invited, though they are not officially invited until they bring a new member to the family. A clan typically has between eight and sixteen members, the oldest generation of which is referred to as Elder, of which there are only two; the alpha and their mate. The position of alpha is not defined clearly, it is not based on gender or age, and is not even necessarily stable between the two Elders; the alpha position often changes between them.
Wolfweres are named after animals that have common personality traits with, though they often have prefixes added depending on their order of birth. Firstborns are called Senior, secondborns have no title, Thirdborns (or Finalborns) are called Little. It is rare for a family to have more than three children, and as such third born children are named as the last. Only children are given the title of wise, it is referring to the fact that they will be better off not having siblings to compete against. It is not actually much of a benefit, but the title remains after the myth was dispelled.
Wolfweres who have no direct blood relationship refer to one another as siblings; brother or sister depending on gender. Wolfweres with direct blood connection refer to one another with the appropriate titles. It should be noted that their language is not translated literally, and many of the words are the closest english approximations to the wolfwere language. The invited mate of a sibling is referred to as a near-brother or near-sister, the wolfwere equivalent of an in-law; this applies to all relationships, near-daughter or near-son, with the near addition for each.
Wolfweres travel by the season; they cross the equator and move into the opposite hemisphere during winter, and as such they never see snow, but know of it from folklore. This movement is called the great migration, and was originally started to keep them alive during the freezing temperatures of winter combined with their frail human bodies, though they do not stay in the equatorial region permanently as they live in forests and could not survive long-term on the little food in the area.
Wolfwere language is based on barks, growls, and smells. It is customary to exchange scents upon meeting an unknown wolfwere. Most of their communication is barks, there are a wide variety of syllables and as such messages can be sent in only a few barks. Growls express emotion more than words, though they often deliver a much clearer message than words ever could. Not all growling means bad things, they can mean good feelings as well as bad, though the baring of teeth is more often a snarl than a smile.

Wolfwere Characters

Note that Anaris is the main character
Name: Anaris (Little Spider)
Sex: Male
Age: 7 (equal to ~20 human years)
Eye Color: Yellow (wolf form) / Brown (human form)
Hair Color: Dark Brown
Name Significance: Little refers to the fact that he is the youngest of his siblings, spider is making reference to the species, who are known amongst the wolves for their intelligence and resourcefulness, as they have the ability to create complex webs seemingly out of nothing.
Distinguishing Marks:
Human: has a mane down his back and a thin beard, thinning out to middle.
Wolf: fairly unremarkable as far as wolves go. He starts off smaller than average, then gets larger as the game progresses; just to make it more interesting. Size based on max health.
Background: Anaris grew up with his family as most do, moving with the seasons and hunting animals as a pack. He has a strong relationship with his family, especially his siblings. Him and his brother both joke at their animal names, “spin a web brother spider” countered by “fly away brother bird”. His relationship with Alarid is also strong, they make a competition out of everything and work well together.

Name: Sicaris (Senior Bird)
Sex: Male
Age: 10 (equal to ~30 human years)
Eye Color: Hazel (both forms, though more yellowish in wolf form)
Hair Color: Black
Name Significance: The senior refers to the fact that he is the firstborn in his generation. Bird is referring to his good nature towards his siblings, as birds are known for their parenting due to the trouble birds go through to support their young.
Distinguishing Marks:
Human: Long hair on head, facial hair only small beard near mouth and moustache (lovingly called his beak)
Wolf: Sicaris is known for his size, as he is larger than most.
Background: Sicaris took it upon himself to play a major role in raising his brother and sister, he has a strong relationship with each. He takes his responsibility as Senior seriously and will go to extreme efforts to help them.

Name: Alarid (White one)
Sex: Female
Age: 8 (equal to ~25 human years)
Eye Color: Pink
Hair Color: White
Name Significance: Alarid’s name is fairly obvious, she is called the white one because she is an albino.
Distinguishing Marks: Alarid is easily recognizable due to her white color, as she is an albino. As such, she does not change form on the new moon (see Wolfweres), and is well known for both these attributes.
Background: Alarid has a strong relationship with her brothers, as they were raised together. She takes it upon herself to ‘defend the pack’ on the night without a moon (see Wolfweres) as one in wolf form can fight much better than a human. Her unique attribute is often subject to the jokes of her brothers, though she has an equal number about their human appearance.

Name: Delaris/Ancut (Senior Hawk/Elder)
Sex: Male
Age: 27 (equal to ~80 years)
Eye Color: Lime (wolf form) / Green (human form)
Hair Color: Graying Black
Name Significance: The Ancut title refers to the fact that he is the eldest of his clan (see Wolfwere culture) and is often used in place of his actual name. Senior refers to the fact that he is the oldest amongst his siblings, while hawk refers to his inquisitive nature and decisive action, as hawks watch carefully then swoop definitively.
Distinguishing Marks:
Human: Elder has long graying hair, which he usually ties back. He has a gray beard, which is short, except for a goatee. He has a large scar over his left eye, and has a medium build.
Wolf: Elder is easily spotted due to his larger than average size as well as his coloration, though he can be further identified by the distinct scar over his left eye.
Background: Delaris is the elder of his clan, and as such knows how to make Charms and is the only one who can teach you to use them. The distinct scar on his eye is a reminder of the encounter with Balaris’ bear.

Name: Maltarid (Wild Rose)
Sex: Female
Age: 18 (equal to ~55 human years)
Eye Color: Yellow (Wolf form) / Brown (Human form)
Hair Color: Brown
Name Significance: Wild rose is referring of course to the plant, as she is beautiful but deadly (as roses have thorns). It is also said that she wore a rose in her hair as a human, and that contributed to her name (and why she was named after a plant and not an animal)
Distinguishing Marks:
Human: Maltarid has light brown hair and very little body or facial hair, though the hair on her head is unusually long (comparative to other wolfweres’ human forms)
Wolf: Maltarid is typical in appearance, though her brown fur is notable. Her mane is darker than the rest of her hair (see Wolfweres)
Background: Maltarid is known for her double-faced attitude, she will be a rose one minute and a thorn the next; she is quite straightforward and her husband keeps her under control. Being an Invited (see Wolfwere culture), she has a weak relationship with Balaris’ parents.

Name: Balaris (Wise Bear)
Sex: Male
Age: 19 (equal to ~60 human years)
Eye Color: Hazel (both forms, though more yellowish in wolf form)
Hair Color: Dark Brown
Name Significance: Wise is a title given to only children, while bear refers to his personality. He is practical, strong (of heart and body), and resourceful; which are all traits associated with bears.
Distinguishing Marks:
Human: Balaris has thick hair on his head, back of neck and shoulders. It is not long, but is very visible (~1”). He is well built and has an under bite.
Wolf: Balaris has thick, black hair around his shoulders, is fairly large, and has a white coloration on his right ear.
Background: Balaris was a troublemaker when he was young, likely the reason he is an only child, though had some sense knocked into him after having his life saved by Delaris, in an encounter with an actual bear.

Name: Leterid (Little Mouse)
Sex: Female
Age: 28 (died at age 23, 5 years ago)
Name Significance: Little refers to the fact that she was the third and final child in her family, Mouse refers to her personality, as she is resourceful and caring, traits associated with mice.
Background: Leterid is well remembered for being a strict but loving mother, and adds with pride that she finally straightened out Balaris’ mischief. She died due to a disease that her aged body could not fight off.

Name: Felimaris (Wise Lion)
Sex: Male
Age: 35 (died at age 24, 9 years ago)
Name Significance: Wise is a title given to only children, Lion refers to his personality. He was proud and strong, loved his family and defended them fiercely; all traits associated with lions.
Background: Felimaris is remembered for his pride and strength, as a clan leader to aspire to, and his seemingly effortless methods of keeping others on track. He died of old age.

Name: Olarid (Little Monkey)
Sex: Female
Age: 9 (equal to ~25 human years)
Eye Color: Green (wolf form) / Blue (human form)
Hair Color: Light Brown
Name Significance: Little refers to the fact that she is the third and youngest among her siblings, while monkey refers to her personality. She is curious and energetic in her pursuits of knowledge, a trait associated with monkeys.
Distinguishing Features:
Human: Olarid has a rare trait, she has red hair in human form. She is rather hairless, except for moderately long hair on her head.
Wolf: She has lighter hair than most, as well she has a distinct petite form. Her mane is slightly darker than the rest of her hair. (see Wolfweres)
Background: Olarid was raised in a different clan, her parents and siblings taught her everything they knew and answered her every question, but could not satiate her curiosity. She met Sicaris by chance, when they were both hunting the same deer. She has a weak relationship with Sicaris’ family, though better with his siblings than parents, as they now hunt in fours.
The family tree.

Non-Wolfwere Characters
Note that these do not actually have names, as your character cannot understand English, but their names are based on their phonetic interpretation by the wolves (and given a small spin in the process)

Name: Samaris (Samurai/Sameul)
Sex: Male
Personality: Materialistic, cold
Appearance: short blond hair, gray suit, blue eyes
Age: ~45
Position: Head of Research
Significance: Serves as a boss, as well is responsible for the experiments done on your family

Name: Karmarid (Dr. Cameron)
Sex: Female
Personality: Caring, inquisitive
Appearance: long blond hair, thin-framed glasses, white lab coat,
Age: ~25
Position: Scientist: Animal Care Specialist
Significance: She is the one who ‘carelessly’ let out Alarid, she helps out you on a few occasions [like g-man does in half-life], because she feels bad for you because of the unpleasant experiments done on the wolfweres.

Opening Cinematic
In the opening cinematic, your pack is hunting some deer, when a strange noise comes from the side, it sounds like thunder (gunshot). The deer flee, and your hunting efforts are in vain. Suddenly, a group of newmoons (humans) emerges from the bush, covered in a strange greenish fur (camouflage clothes), Elder asks the newmoons what is happening, they panic and point their staves (guns) at Elder and a dart hits him. The other wolfweres see this and move to attack the newmoons, then more come and fire at the pack. You are hit in the neck and black out as the chaos continues. (fade out)
You wake up in a large metal cage, in a white-metal room with two newmoons grunting excitedly, in white fur. //[these wolves are a new species! They may not even be wolves!][what do you mean?][their DNA is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before, look at these isotopes][isotopes? You mean they have radioactive blood?][not quite, it seems to be oriented to change based on radiation in the environment.][they have unstable blood?][we’re not sure, it’s unlike anything anyone has ever seen before. The specimens are being held for further study](barking from cage)//“what is going on? Newmoon brothers, help me out of here!” (scientists look over, grunting incomprehensible jargon [english])//[he’s woken][we should get him sedated and back to storage](fire a tranquilizer into the wolfwere)//“brothers, what are you doing?” (fade to black)

I have a plot written that flows through a series of levels, however this post is already very heavy on text. As such, I will include it in another post.

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