Game designer and director Patrick Plourde has been working with Ubisoft for almost a decade now and has an impressive range of credits of franchises like Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six, Assassin’s Creed and Rayman. More recently he scored a massive hit with last year’s release of Far Cry 3, which won fans amongst gamers and game critics alike.
Considering the success of Far Cry 3, which has so far sold over 6 million units, plus over 500k units of retro 80s-themed DLC Blood Dragon, it might be expected that Plourde would immediately move on to another AAA title, but the developer says that his new game will be the antithesis of AAA.
Plourde outlined his new game, Child of Light, to Polygon, and described it as being softer, smaller and more feminine than most games tend to be. Child of Light‘s aesthetic will be drawn from classic fairy tale illustrators like Edmund Dulac and Arthur Rackham, as well as JRPG titles like Final Fantasy 6. Plourde did extensive research in art galleries and museums to build up an idea of the look that he wants to create within the game. He also shared the first piece of concept art for the game, shown above.
It’s a risky venture for Ubisoft, which will finance and distribute Child of Light through digital download, but there is a growing demand for games that tread off the beaten path of military shooters and combat-driven fantasy or sci-fi RPGs. The acclaim for indie games like Dear Esther and Gone Home is a strong indication that Child of Light will find an audience, as will Plourde description of it as an homage to classic JRPGs.
In terms of gameplay, Plourde said that it will fall somewhere between Limbo and Final Fantasy, with turn-based battles and a side-scrolling environment that uses the same engine as Rayman: Origins. Its protagonist is a young woman whom the player will follow through a coming-of-age story. It’s not yet known whether Child of Light will actually feature any RPG elements beyond the influences in the art direction, but an official announcement with more details from Ubisoft is expected soon. Andrew Goldfarb of IGN also posted the following Vine, depicting a few seconds of what looks like the opening of the game:
Jeffrey Yohalem, the lead writer for Far Cry 3, who also previously worked with Plourde on the Assassin’s Creed: Revelations DLC The Lost Archive, is also the writer behind Child of Light. The two make a good team, in particular because they strive to make games with themes or stories that are in some way tied to what kind of game is being made. In an interview with Gamespot last year, Yohalem expressed his belief that, “if the story isn’t about the central mechanic, then you might as well make a movie.”
This can be seen in Far Cry 3, which is in many ways about what the act of using a gun for the first time does to Jason, and also in the ways that viewing the game from a first person perspective makes the player susceptible to the influences of an unreliable narrator. Similarly The Lost Archive, a 3D platformer in which the blocks created by the player can be destroyed or made unstable by the game environment, tells the story of a character who gradually loses the various support structures in his professional and personal life, until he is eventually driven to commit suicide.
With this in mind, it would make sense for Child of Light, as a coming-of-age story, to be told through the medium of an RPG game, since this would enable the player to tangibly experience the main character growing stronger and more capable as the game progresses. This definitely sounds like an interesting title, both because of the premise and the creative team involved, so we look forward to learning more about it.
Tell us what you think of these scant details and images for Child of Light, and if it sounds like something that you’d be willing to download and play, in the comments.