The third episode in the three-part web series covering the development of Absobo Studio’s upcoming A Plague Tale: Innocence has released, which gives a bit more insight into the rats, the role the Inquisition plays in relation to the plague, and how they work as antagonists against the orphans trying to flee the war, escape the plague, and avoid capture.
The Inquisition in the game are aware of the dangers of the plague, and they understand how to utilize their resources to keep them at bay. The game has another layer to the plot that unfolds around the Inquisition’s role in how the rat plague has manifested into a seemingly unstoppable force. Whether they’re trying to control them or stop them isn’t made clear, but players will have to attempt to navigate around them if they hope to escape, mainly because the little boy in the game is being overtaken by a disease and the Inquisition is after the duo. Hence, this requires using the environment and some light weaponry against the Inquisition to get the rats to devour them whole.
Unlike other games out there, the main female protagonist and her deuterogonist little brother are not “strong independent” characters who can take on armies. They’re unable to fight the soldiers head-on that they encounter throughout the game. So they have to rely on using their wits to incapacitate the soldiers, either by forcing the rats on them or using the environment to subdue them. You can get a glimpse of how it plays out in the video below.
There’s also some interesting insight from the art director about how the team managed to make the rats in the game stand out both when light is shone on them and when they are masked in shadows or fog.
For the shadows the art team used the silhouette of their shapes and the rats’ glowing eyes to make them appear more present in darkened areas. For areas canvassed in fog, instead of enucleating the rats’ shape and presence, the team decided to have the shaders highlight the edges of the rats while they’re in the fog, so that you get the shape of them while traveling through areas where visibility isn’t very high.
The video also explains that the team designed their very own engine to allow for up to 5,000 rats to populate the game area at any one time.
Asobo seems intent on not entirely toeing the Leftist-line with A Plague Tale: Innocence. While the main playable character is female, she’s not the typical “stronk independent wahmen” that we see so often in nearly every video game and movie that has come out in recent years. For one, they actually attempted to make her look normal and attractive. Secondly, she’s not some uber-powerful warrior woman who can best any man in combat; quite the opposite, really. Players are encouraged to flee from combat as often as possible, giving the game more a survival-horror tinge to it than you might be expecting.