By Spencer . March 9, 2009 . 2:35pm
Avalon Code puts the Book of Prophecy in the hands of a hero or heroine. This magical item is more than a story device. The Book of Prophecy lets players change the world by altering codes. Where did this idea come from and how does it make Avalon Code different from other RPGs? Yoshifumi Hashimoto Scenario Writer and Producer at Marvelous Entertainment explains.
Yoshifumi Hashimoto Scenario Writer and Producer: Avalon Code is an action RPG where the main character obtains a blank Book of Prophecy. He/she will fill the book with information which you think is important to keep with the help of the 4 spirits. Since it’s the “book that makes the prophecy come true,” you can modify what happens as you wish. For example, you’ll be able to use the Book of Prophecy and your stylus to alter a girl with an incurable disease to become healthy again.
The inspiration actually came from the DS game system itself. When you hold the DS sideways it looks like a notebook, so I thought it’d be fun to write things in there. From that concept I thought of making a game that you can rewrite what happens in the game.
What goals did you have in mind when designing Avalon Code’s combat?
Since this project is by Marvelous and Matrix, who’s responsible for games such as Alundra, we really wanted to have a Matrix feel to it. Matrix has been developing action games for a long time and we definitely wanted to implement their skills in this game.
We also wanted to have a battle system where there is “stillness” as well as “movement.” So you can fight, write, and sometimes run away while changing the codes. To use the Book of Prophecy in battle we thought it would be more interesting and fun if you get to fight like an action game, but at the same time have the option to stop the game and use the book.
Also the Judgment Ring System where you shoot the enemy up high in the air to the point that you’ll be able to see the field map is something I wanted to implement back in the ROM days. However, when the game media format changed from ROMs to CDs, it became very difficult to do this without taking up too much memory. Since Avalon Code was for the DS, I finally got to implement this system into a game.
One big difference in Avalon Code is you can adjust enemy weaknesses with the Book of Prophecy. Why did you create this system?
After coming up with this system where what you write in the book is reflected in the game world, I thought it would be fun to see an enemy that read “Fire resistant monster” and erase the “Fire” to make it an ordinary monster. In the beginning of the planning stages I thought about the players actually writing “become weaker” into the book, but realized that this will take too long from the time the user thinks about it to the time it’ll actually change. Plus I wanted players from other countries to all play the game the same way, so I decided to go with moving codes (icons) around.
It sounds like a lot of the game revolves around using the Book of Prophecy and changing codes. Can you elaborate on how else the book can be used?
Basically for anything!
For certain enemies, if you take out the “rock” code you can make them weaker, but if you add more codes to them, they can become stronger as well. Also the characters (NPC) have hidden codes that you will be able to unlock by using the book, but unveiling it or not is completely up to you.
You can really do as you wish. Other than the gameplay itself, you are able to change the menu window color, switch the sprit that’s giving you advice, and check out the map with your book as well. Also, if there’s a character you really don’t like, you can stock all the codes you have into their code grid as storage if you want to.
When you start the game you pick a male or female protagonist. How does this choice effect the game?
The gameplay itself will be similar regardless of picking a male or female protagonist.
However, if you select a male protagonist you will be able to fall in love with a female character, and the female protagonist will be able to fall in love with a male character. Depending on the gender, you will be able to have a different experience than the other, and of course the relationship events are not the same so you’ll need to play as both genders to see all the events.
The reason I wanted to have both male and female protagonists is because I wanted the players to be able to relate and become the main character to fully enjoy the story.
Can you tell us more about the romance system?
The story as a whole will not change, but by having a romance you’ll be able to see different events for each character. If you really get your romance level high for a particular character, that character will start to appear in event scenes that they are not usually in from the middle of the game all the way to the end. Basically, the more you get your relationship level up the more elements of the game you’ll be able to see.
Are there any story branching elements in Avalon Code?
There’s no difference in the story by talking to or having a romance with a particular character, but you will be able to see events that tell you more about who they really are.
Even if you see the same event, seeing another event about that person may change your perspective on what’s going on.
By utilizing the Book of Prophecy the book’s value will go up. When the book’s value reaches a certain level you’ll be able to see what’s going to happen in the near future.
For example, “Troops are gathering at *location name*”
If you hurry over there you’ll be able to get items or grab more information for your Book of Prophecy.
How open ended is Avalon Code? Are there multiple endings?
There’s only one main story, but depending on who you befriend there will be some extra content. And after you clear the game you can go back and be able to see another world depending on the information you gathered.