The unique mixture of historical fiction and supernatural fantasy at the heart of The Order: 1886 is what caught the attention of most when the game was revealed at E3 2013, but since then the developers at Ready at Dawn have emphasized just how important the story and mythology of the game will truly be to player investment.
Calling on the legend of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table, new details explain how the game's main characters will be paying tribute to the legendary knights, and how each will be granted a personality of their own.
The first cinematic reveal trailer for The Order gave a brief glimpse of the core characters, as the four-member squad did battle with supernatural monsters using anachronistic weaponry. As part of Game Informer's ongoing coverage, the developers confirmed that they had taken some liberties with history, crafting an alternate version of the 19th century in which a centuries-old battle between The Order and the monstrous 'Halfbreeds' made the Industrial Revolution a necessity for human survival.
To take part in the fight, the player must step into the shoes of the knight known as 'Galahad,' named for the right-hand man of the legendary King Arthur; in the fiction of The Order, a very real group of knights formed by Arthur to combat the supernatural threat still looming over London. Sir Galahad is no slouch, but three additional knights will be joining him in the fight - characters we now know a bit more about.
For starters, there's the older, grey-haired knight seen in the trailer at Galahad's side. This is none other than Sebastian Malory a.k.a. 'Sir Percival' (another of Arthur's knights) possibly intended to be the descendant of Sir Thomas Mallory, the author responsible for collecting Arthurian tales into a single collection in the 15th century. As Galahad's mentor and closest friend, Mallory shares many of his protege's concerns over The Order's inability to defeat the Halfbreed menace.
Joining Sirs Percival and Galahad is a young woman by the name of Isabeau D'Argyll a.k.a. 'Lady Igraine.' Although Igraine is accepted as the mother of King Arthur, Isabeau began her career in The Order as Galahad's own student, having excelled to the point of earning her place at his side. The pair apparently share some romantic feelings towards one another, but as is so often the case, their order forbids that they act on them.
But before gamers begin to regret that the only woman on the team will be present purely as a romantic interest, The Order's creative director Ru Weerasuriya maintains that “Isabeau is every bit the knight that Galahad is,” meaning the two will be competing on the battlefield as often as anywhere else.
Which brings us to the greenest recruit on the team, and an early sign that Ready at Dawn isn't pulling any punches in rewriting the history books. He is currently without a codename (a sign of just how early in his career with the Order the game will be set) but history buffs will be all too familiar with the Marquis de Lafayette. As a hero of both the American and French Revolution (earning him the title 'Hero of Two Worlds'), The Order turns Lafayette's military prowess to the secret war being waged in Europe, aiding them greatly in their efforts.
Of course, even casual history enthusiasts will note that Lafayette's death in 1834 makes his presence in The Order: 1886 something of a mystery.
It could be that the game's character is simply a fictional descendant of the famed French general, or this might be a sign that in the alternate history Ready at Dawn has created, genealogy itself has been affected. So would that mean America is still under British rule? Just speculation, but our interest is more than piqued.
With a trusted veteran, a strong female warrior, and a famed historical figure (who will apparently be bringing a sense of humor to the proceedings), The Order: 1886 seems to have its bases covered. But what do you make of the cast? Does the blend of Arthurian lore and 19th century industry prove that genuinely new IPs can still be created, or are you skeptical the story can tread new ground - in story or gameplay? Share your thoughts in the comments.
The Order: 1886 will be released exclusively for the PlayStation 4, at an unannounced date.
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