Level: Airship
Level: Blackwall Yard
Level: Embankment
Level: Catacombs

Chapter 5: Agamemnon Rising

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Experience the Level

The left column features videos and descriptions of the major events for each section.


 
Development and Analysis

The right column focuses on the planning, decisions, and iterations for the section.

This side also includes analysis of the section's successes and failures.



Summary of Events leading Up To This Level

Prior to the start of this level, the four knights at the center of the game's events—Malory, Galahad (the player character), Lafayette, and Isabeau—uncover evidence of a Rebel plot targeting Lord Hastings, a well-respected businessman and friend to The Order of Her Majesty's Knights.



They are unsure of the Rebels' intentions (whether to kidnap or assassinate Hastings), but the plans include a timetable which coincides with the maiden voyage of the East India Company's flagship vessel, the Agamemnon.

The airship is already in flight. East India guard uniforms discovered with the Rebel plans leave the knights unsure who aboard will be friend or foe, so they resolve to take control of the Agamemnon stealthily and attempt to stop the Rebels themselves.




 
Challenge

Until somewhat late in development, the plan for this level was for the threat to come from a Lycan on board rather than from Rebels.

The discovery of a Rebel plot against Lord Hastings was still the impetus for going to the airship, and there were still Rebels in disguise on board, but they were (potentially) there to observe Hastings rather than kill him.



When Sir Galahad fires on what he thinks is a Rebel infiltrator (largely unchanged from the events in Section 5), the target would suprise the player by morphing into his Lycan form and escaping. Since the knights are sworn to eliminate Lycans above all else, Galahad would spend the remainder of the level chasing after the beast. It would later be revealed that the guard had been a loyal bodyguard all along, confirming that the United India Company has half-breeds in its ranks.

Ensuring that this tapestry of misinterpreted clues and unclear motivations made sense to players was a challenge. Furthermore, Lycan sequences turned out to be expensive to animate.


Process

When the schedule demanded some things be re-thought, I was asked to draw up a plan for "how the level would change if the Lycan were removed completely."

What I proposed—what ended up in the shipped product—is what you'll see on the following pages. Only 3 locations out of 12 needed to be cut or re-designed. I was able to fit the other areas into the new story so the effort already put into them did not go to waste.

In the end, the shipped level has a clearer story, fits better with the narrative of the rest of the game, and puts the blame for the airship crashing on the Rebels (rather than on player-character actions which the player was likely to feel forced into).




Airship Exterior

This sequence sees the knights get dropped off on top of the Agamemnon from another airship, attach ropes to control their descent, and rappel down to an entrance next to one of the ship's engines.


Gameplay Video

(For our purposes, this means of entry shows off several different features of the blimp's construction, giving the player a strong sense that the environment they're exploring is believably constructed and therefore grounded in reality).

For the knights, this approach lets them get aboard unseen by passengers and at a spot unlikely to have guards—since getting inside at this spot while the ship is in flight would be impossible, wouldn't it?





 
Intent

This sequence exists to set the tone for the level—one of infiltration and adventure, like something out of a James Bond or Mission Impossible movie. The tragic end of this mission sets up a growing sense of darkness and urgency for the rest of the game, so it was important that the player have a "last hurrah," a moment of light before the darkness.




Development

To achieve the desired quality, this entire sequence was motion-captured. The capture session took place right as I came onto the project (meaning any further development work I did was limited to what could be done with the animations that had already been filmed).


Decisions

The main element that I pushed for was to allow the player to retain as much pitch/yaw control of the camera as the intended framing would allow. I felt it was critical that—since the player's control over their character's movement would be limited to "hold forward to progress"—we give the player as much agency as that framework allowed.

Plus, this is the best moment for the player to appreciate the incredible vista artwork. Being able to look around showcases the immense amount of work that those artists did as well as empowering the player.





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