Monday, 23 April 2012


The Hills (working title)

The cool morning air was fresh out on the deck, though that was to be expected five-hundred feet up above the sands, hundreds of miles from the nearest town or harbour where often times the stench of industry permeated for leagues. Nazim turned to lean atop the starboard side, gazing off into the far horizon with longing. The hills of Azai were gorgeous during the summer, a large open expanse of sand and rock crowned by an ever blue sky. The 'hills' were in fact dunes in a desert, but so large the traveling merchants named them more appropriately.

Something took his eye, small at first but getting larger, a glint in the air. White, or was it yellow? Flapping atop of black half circle. The realisation caused the blood to run from his face. Wasting no time he rushed back into the captains cabin forgetting even to knock.
They've found us. Those bastard slavers have found us!”

The Hills is an epic adventure that lies somewhere between law and crime. As you take on jobs the player is presented with many choices opting to be more lawful or criminal. However it is not so simple, more often than not you may need to take a job you don't want solely because you need it. This principle echoes the struggle in real life that we don't always get what we want, and when times are hard we do what needs to be done. As a smuggler yourself, the choice is yours, however so are the consequences.

Here are some of the perks of this game:

  • First-person RPG for PS3/Xbox and PC allows for a more immersing experience coupled with next-gen capabilities that will be sure to leave players breathless.

  • Unique characters - Throughout the course of your journey you will meet many interesting characters, some of which will play pivotal roles in your story if you choose to pursue it. What makes these characters more interesting is the ability to play as them after a time. Going through and reliving some of the stories they told you with abilities and visuals unique only to these characters. For example, The Lady, an agent of a mysterious organisation, works more on talking to people and reading body language, therefore an enchaned UI supports this literally allowing the player to read the character.

  • Visuals – Very few games have set their games high up in the air, despite a lot of The Hills being down and inside dungeons and/or open environments a large aspect of the game evolves around being in the air. To expand on this there are 'floating' towns and air battles akin to that of a naval warfare.

  • Story – The Hills is no fairy tale, a lot of what happens is harsh and unrelenting as best to reflect the life of a pirate whereby jobs are few and far between and needs must want you do them. What seperates this from most stories is it's dark and true to life nature where there are no heroes, only people doing what they think is best.

The Hills is a dark, thought provoking tale of hardship and morality where you always feel like death is but a day away, leaving players in a state of deep thought constantly battling with their own ideals and the helplessness of certain situations.

Playable Character
Allowing for a fully immersing experience and what better way to kick that off then by allowing the customisation of your own character? Given that the game will be in first person you won't see the face while experiencing the combat and exploration phases of the game. However you will see your character many times through cut scenes, different perspectives and through menus which are accessible anytime.

Many of the options you will be able to customise include: gender, voice, complete creative control of the head such as hair (as well as facial), eyes and proportions as well as body size, skin colour and accessories. The voice is very important as we want players to feel like they're playing someone with character, not an emotionless void who merely stares at those who talk to them.

On top of the main story arch there are sub-stories along the way. Nothing dull like collecting twenty bear asses but actual stories whereby the player shouldn’t feel like they're being ripped away from the main story. More importantly these stories are seamless within the main arch and so transitioning is subtle.

The Hunter-Seeker
These hunter-killers are rarely seen so far from the seas yet stories are shared around of their ruthless predatory nature. Rumour has it they are sent forth from the sea with a simple goal: Seek. Kill. Noone knows who hires them or who they bow to, all is known that when one is sent out, it finds the mark and completes the mission before returning.
A perfect balance of assassin and warrior, the strange, and seemingly indestructible, coral armor combined with naturally thick skin and skullplate provide the Hunter-Killer with enough protection for general land-dweller weaponry while not restricting movement of the upper body allowing for free movement when unleashing a flurry of attacks with their coral arm-blade, spiked leg armor for puncturing those who are not careful and if it comes to it, a maw of needle-like teeth. Great strength, speed, endurance with some known to have been cunning make this a creature you really don't want coming after you.

The vessel you are a member of the crew on, a dodgy looking ship but it flies well enough and gets you from A to B with only your average heap of maintenance required. One of the main parts of this game is being upon your aircraft going over landscapes and witnessing the views. To keep the player occupied in this the ship is always in need of repairs, things need to be taken from the hold and moved around as well as general handiwork and navigation. In the start you are but a crew member, as the game progresses you become a first mate and then the captain. Whether or not it's of the Firefly depends on how you play, you could get something better, but there could well be sentimental attachment to this ship as it has a character of its own and with all the maintenance and running around on it the aim is to get the player attached. If they don’t, there are other ships.
Ships can be upgraded, with customizable interiors. Upgrades include speed, defense and offenses like cannons and hooks. Why? Because the sky is filled with those that would see you fail and/or take your cargo if that is their inclination. Rumours from the East tell of giant winged beasts being sighted.

Temple ruins
An integral part of this game are the locations you go to, not random dungeons but story integral parts, there's always a reason to be in a place and these temple ruins are one such place. Abandoned long ago by an ancient civilization these ruins are merely a shadow of their former greatness. While in these ruins the player is in a game of cat and mouse with the hunter-seeker.

Based on the zone you're in within The Hills the player will be exposed to completely different atmospheres, to help invigorate this sense of place the setting. To help this props such as merchant stalls, barrels, monuments and houses will populate the towns to give a cluttered market feel that makes the player want to get through to their purpose in town and get out, ever keeping a hand on their purse and keeping tabs on the exits as you never know when merchant princes will require you.

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