Hot off the heels of the Assassin's Creed Liberation HD announcement
, Ubisoft has another big announcement for us; this time, in the form of a brand new IP. Child of Light
, a downloadable RPG for both Xbox 360 and Xbox One, takes you on a magical journey with Aurora, a young girl who has been stolen from her home and is on a quest to return to where she belongs.
Child of Light is a reimagining of classic fairytales, inviting players on an epic adventure into the magical painted world of Lemuria. Players will uncover mysteries, participate in turn-by-turn combat inspired by classic JRPGs, and explore the mystical kingdom. The game puts players in the shoes of Aurora, a child stolen from her home, who, in her quest to return, must bring back the sun, the moon and the stars held captive by the mysterious Queen of the Night. Helped by her companion Igniculus the firefly and several unlikely allies, Aurora will face her darkest fears, including dragons and other mystical creatures in this modern take on a coming-of-age story.
Aurora and ourselves are in for quite a ride. Ubisoft has confirmed that players don't have to be alone either. Aurora's firefly companion can be controlled by another player if they so choose, and both players can experience the journey together. What's unique about Child of Light
is that, with the power of Ubisoft's UbiArt Framework, the game's concept art can literally come to life. This powerful engine was also used for Rayman Origins
and allows artists and programmers to put their art directly into the game without editing it, so playing it will be similar to stepping into an interactive painting. You're probably rather intrigued by this and more than likely want to see what it's like in action. Here we have some in-game screenshots, along with a few pieces of environmental concept art.
Are you convinced yet? An official announcement trailer has also sneaked out of the darkness so you can see the power of UbiArt in action. "Beware of the night, child of light..."
Finally, a Q&A with Patrick Plourde, the game's Creative Director, and Jeffrey Yohalem, the Scriptwriter for Child of Light
, has appeared to give people an insight into how the game formed and what challenges were overcome to get it to where it is today.
What were your inspirations to create the Child of Light’s universe?
In 2007, I went to see the ‘Once upon a Time… Walt Disney’ exposition at the Art Museum here in Montreal. Looking at the references , from Arthur Rackham to Kay NielsenDisney used to create its classic movies was really inspiring to me. The idea that stuck with me was to, one day, uses those references and have a chance to do my personal take on it.
Fairy Tales strong use of Symbols makes them universal and open to be reinterpreted. The idea is to use those symbols that live in our collective ‘DNA’ and to spin them in a tale that feels modern: An active heroine, no prince charming at the end, focused on the idea that we need to grow up, leave home and take responsibility to make a change in the world.
That was the initial spark toward building the universe of Lemuria.
Jeffrey, how did you write the script?
The script is written in verse, largely in ballad form. It’s exciting and challenging to work within such a rigid structure. Pat and I developed the story together in October, and I’ve been working on it since.
Because the text in the game is largely written, not spoken, my goal is to pack as much meaning into as few words as possible. Much of the story is told through gameplay, the story’s evolution is tightly linked with Aurora’s evolution.
It’s also important that I remain flexible. The script changes during the development process. As the levels of the game evolve, the script evolves. We’re working in tandem.
Patrick, as the creative director, can you tell us what are the key challenges you are facing while developing Child of Light?
Self Doubt. That’s always the main issue. Is it a good idea? Is it going to be fun? Is it relevant? I follow my heart and my guts, but since this project is more personal, I feel naked sometimes. I hope players will fall in love with the game.
Otherwise, the switch from 3D to 2D was another big challenge. In 2D, you can’t lie. Everything exist
on the screen, you can’t turn the camera around to reveal something or to tease. It’s all there on the screen. All my design reflexes in previous games were built on using 3D to tease exploration, to generate Gameplay challenges, etc…, so that was something that hit me hard when we started to play the prototypes. But don’t worry, I got over it!
For which public did you create this game?
Primarily the game is a love letter to JRPG fans. That’s our core audience. We hope we can reach players that haven’t played the genre in a while and rekindle their love for this type of adventure, players who were raised on the golden age of Squaresoft.
I also feel we can make an impact with women. There’s a serious lack of representation of strong female leads in games and I feel we can make a difference.
What did the UbiArt Framework bring to the game?
The first advantage is that we can produce a lot of content with a small team in a reasonable time frame. Something that we could NEVER have done in 3D. When you make a JRPG, it requires a LOT of assets, both in the number of environments and enemies, something that would have required a much bigger team. Going with UAF gives us the opportunity to create the game we want, and take more creative risks. For example, we can actually draw a character in the morning, and have it animated and working in the engine in the afternoon. It’s better for iterations and allow us to create a full bestiary.
The other one is that we can create a rich High Definition world in 2D, in 60 FPS. The tools for the artists are really great so that will enable our team to create a really magical world.
What would you like to be the emotion that people will keep in their mind after finishing Child of Light?
[PP] Happiness. I hope they will feel they went on a Journey with Aurora and that they believe in the magic of Fairy Tales.
[JY] Joy. The triumph of the human spirit.
[PP] Ubisoft’s strengths include its diversity and the freedom it gives its creative teams. We want Child of Light to be like a playable poem, a love letter to art and video games.
Are you itching to accompany Aurora yet? There is currently no exact price or release date, but Child of Light
will step into the light sometime in 2014.