So, for the first post, I wanted to write about where the idea came from. I am often asked where I get my ideas. So, if you ever wondered, here is one answer.
The First Idea
About three years ago, I saw that the Avernum and Geneforge series were drawing to a close, and I needed to come up with something new. This was, of course, both exciting and terrifying. Coming up with an idea that will determine the course of years of your life (and possibly put you out of business) is a stressful process.
About this time, my wife and I went to see a Hungarian one-act opera called Bluebeard's Castle. I am normally not a fan of opera. Exactly the opposite, in fact. But some friends had cheap tickets, and we had babysitting, so, you know, whatever.
And what was it like? Well, I will quote Wikipedia.
"The basic plot is loosely based on the folk tale of Bluebeard, but is given a heavily psychological reworking—some would say psychoanalytic or psychosexual"
So you know it was a totally fun time. As far as I'm concerned, an evening out is a failure if it doesn't involve the word "psychosexual."
Anyway. The opera is about Bluebeard, this incredibly scary guy who lives in this huge, dark castle. He brings home his new, young, pretty wife and is showing her around. His castle has seven doors, and he unlocks and opens them for her one after the other. Each door looks out onto some cool room or vista. Some open onto treasures. Others onto subterranean realms. Or far-away lands. (So this is already sounding like a Paper Mario game.) When each door is opened, they sing about it. At length.
So then they get to the last door. Bluebeard refuses to open it. His wife begs for him to. He refuses. This goes on for a while. Finally, Bluebeard gives in and opens the door. Bluebeard's other wives (!) walk out silently. They take his new wife and pull her through the door, which closes behind them. Bluebeard sings about how sad he is. Opera ends. Very psychosexual.
So I'm sitting there watching this, and what I'm thinking is this: Who is this Bluebeard guy? He's very powerful. Very rich. Has a castle full of magic doors. He mentions how he has great influence with the court. What's his deal? Where did all that wealth come from? What does he use those portals for? What is his day job?
And here was my idea. He's a warrior. Or an assassin. Or a spy. He can go wherever the king wants, and do whatever needs doing. Something needs to be found out? Some rebel needs to die? That's what Bluebeard does, and he is well paid for it.
Turning a Glimmer Into a Game
These ideas bounce around in my head for a few years, getting massaged into a more video-game-friendly form. And that brings us to Avadon.
In Avadon, the land of Lynauus is split in two. There is the Pact, an uneasy alliance of five nations, banded together for safety. On the other side is the Farlands, the enemies of the Pact, barbarians and monsters and old, crumbling Empires, kept weak and divided. But they long to get their revenge on the Pact. To put together armies and destroy these upstarts.
And the Pact is protected by Avadon. Avadon is a fortress in the wilds, a law unto itself, separate from the government. Its warriors are tasked to find problems when they are small and do whatever it takes to remove them. Avadon is ruled by Keeper Redbeard, the smiling, jolly, utterly ruthless master of the Black Fortress. He has been in charge for sixty years, though he doesn't appear to have aged a day.
As the game begins, you have just arrived at Avadon's gates. And you have found that, after decades of steely, unbroken control, things are going terribly wrong. Redbeard wants to see you. He needs a pair of fresh eyes, and it is a bad idea to disappoint him.
And that is where the new series came from. Over the next few months, I will say more about the world and the gameplay itself.