Leap of Fate – From Comic Books To Videogame

By Square Enix Collective . May 17, 2014 . 5:00pm

This developer blog is part of an ongoing series of posts organized by Square Enix and Siliconera to help bring exposure to indie developers on The Collective, a crowdfunding platform founded and managed by Square Enix.

 

Leap of Fate

By Mattieu Bégin, co-founder at Clever-Plays

Leap of Fate webpage

 

 

Leap of Fate is a game that features a powerful mage facing a twisted version of reality. It is defined by frantic action, a huge skill tree of magical powers, and a whole lot of dying.

 

Although the game is action-focused at its core, it also contains a strong narrative aspect. And this is what I’d like to share with you in this post.

 

At Clever-Plays, we have always been big fans of comic books of all sorts, ranging from Tintin, Asterix, Marvel, DC, and manga to a slew of indie titles and to more mature graphic novels. Mixing drawings with stories usually creates something magical that draws you in powerfully.

 

With respect to Leap of Fate, and to me in particular as the game’s writer and designer, there is a handful of titles that have had a strong impact on me, chief among those were Hellboy, Hellblazer and The Books of Magic.

 

So, what do these titles have in common? I’d say a mature exploration of magic or supernatural events in a real world setting. These three series do a wonderful job of letting you follow characters who live in our own reality, who are real human beings (well, Hellboy is borderline here …), but who must deal with forces that regular people can only dream about.

 

There exist so many myths, stories and conspiracies around us, and they make our real world a fascinating canvas for storytelling. The illuminati, the HAARP station, esoteric and hermetic teachings, Nostradamus’ prophecies, miraculous healings, The Philadelphia experiment, psychics. The list just goes on and on, and it is fascinating to explore.

 

And yet, this is a severely underused theme in games and movie, with the vast majority of magic-themed entertainment taking place in a medieval fantasy setting, usually featuring fireball wielding mages and a great evil that threatens to conquer the world. Nothing wrong with that, but we tried something different.

 

More precisely, Leap of Fate asks the question: What if magic really existed in our world and was hidden in plain sight to all except those who know what to look for? To explore this fantasy, we delve into the life of a fugitive mage named Dusk. He just fled from the Cabal, an overly tyrannical secret society, and he hides in the alleys of New York City, stuck between normal life, which he does not belong to, and the arcane circles of those who are after him. But he is not aimless. He wants to reach a hidden temple that, according the myth, will meaningfully alter his fate.

 

Another element that we took straight out of comic books is the concept of alternate realities. It’s always fun to speculate about what would happen if history had unfolded differently, and companies like Marvel and DC have been very successful at that.

 

In Leap of Fate, there is a large number of cinematic endings, which we call Fates (hence the play on words of the game’s title). Depending on what character you play, what achievement you unlock, what magical upgrades you manage to create, and how well you perform, different Fates will be triggered.

 

For me as a writer, this is incredibly stimulating. Let’s take Dusk, the main character. What if he ended up becoming a powerful and respected mage in the arcane circles of NYC? Or what if he exited his trials with vengeance on his mind and decided to go after the Cabal that previously scared him emotionally, thus starting a grueling underground war? Or what if an artifact that he picked up during gameplay actually was a trap designed by a powerful occultist, which now takes control of his mind and turns him into a slave to perform ruthless killings? Possibilities are endless, and we chose to take advantage of that fact.

 

So there you have it. Hopefully, you’ll be as entertained as we are by Leap of Fate’s storytelling.


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  • revenent hell

    Surprisingly I don’t dislike the looks of the game, I actually like the style chosen for it and it gives off that “comic book” feel perfectly.
    What I did find off putting was actually reading this article. I’m not sure why precisely. Normally I don’t find it irritating to read about what inspired a game to be created but here its written out in such a way I get the impression the person was just trying to fill up space with as many words as he could….

    • Shady Shariest

      There are some people that are straight to the point.
      So it’s very likely that he was just avoiding saying too little :x

  • Demeanor

    Extremely interesting read, and I still need to check out the trailer lol.
    I agree that occult themes have enormous potential and are underused in the videogame landscape (aside from Nocturne and a bit of the SMT saga/spinoffs I can’t think of other series that make use of them); I also found myself thinking that if I ever create a story, it will be in a contemporary settings with a hidden side tied to the occult, like wanting to solve a mystery concealed to humanity, and to do that you need to learn and make use of the unseen laws.
    This post kinda derailed from the typical gaming ones XD In any case, I hope we can see a stronger use of this theme in the upcoming next gen.
    EDIT: reminds me a bit of Dead Nation. The mc needs better animation to be sure XD

  • Godmars

    This proved that creativity in game making went to PCs after after the HD crazed chased it off of consoles.

    • Demeanor

      It’s kinda returning with indies, I’m seeing a lot of crazy and awesome stuff on my ps4 XD
      Just to name one, Mercenary Kings, a modern take on Metal Slug, is way more fun than MANY bigger budget titles I could name. :D

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