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Yore Devlog #2 : Inspirations

– by Lisa SchaefferOscar Barda, and Simon Albou

Yore is made of many a story, and all those you’ll play will be yours.
However, there isn’t just one type of stories, is there?


You’ve been told bedtime stories; you surely had to read fables in schools; your family might have taught you superstitions, and sometimes, around a campfire your friends told you about weird urban legends that still haunt you to this day. You tried to explain the movie you went to see last night and might have rephrased some of its best moments to make it sound even cooler, or that last manga you read with your friends at recess, and during breakfast you shared your non-sensical dreams… but they did make sense when you lived them!

Maybe you wrote your own stories, novels ideas used to swirl in your mind, did you write them down? Do you still keep that notebook? Did you ever show it to anyone?

When we started imagining our next game, Yore, a game in which you combine stories and memories to create levels for you to play, we brainstormed, looking for stories that were deeply weaved in our culture, famous enough, in one form or another to be known by most of our players.

Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 17.38.29

Our sources for stories are the classics, Grimm, Perrault, the Thousand and One Nights, Andersen, but also other ones, our childhood cartoons, our comics, and so on. Surprisingly enough, in a good way, we all have different references, so when someone only heard about a story, the others might have read or even studied it. Due to this abundance of stories, making a game where anyone is able to recognize at least a few tales that are meaningful to their childhood is a really tough challenge. At some point, we had to accept that there was no such thing as “absolute cultural reference that everyone on Earth knows about”. So we focused on the story *we* wanted to tell, with pieces of tales that lit up nostalgia in our hearts, and were precious to our friends and relatives.

That’s how with the three of us, we began to compile a list of the stories that we though shaped our world (trying to manifest them in our game world in the form of objects to be collected). Then we asked our families and friends to tell us memories and stories from their childhood. We want the tales that touched human beings, not the best-sellers of whichever’s year.

Then comes the other true challenge for us in the making of Yore : how to allow players to craft the tales they will cherish as much as their childhood memories ? This process must feel natural and organic, so as not to bring any constraint to one’s creativity. Stories could certainly be cut into clean parts and then assembled mechanically for every single kind of story, but then the seems would show. We decidedly did not want to take that route.

Many theorists such as Vladimir Propp or Joseph Campbell tried to extract from stories their most universal structures, but even their models have limits.
Campbell’s Monomyth, described in his book ‘The Thousand Faced Hero’s Journey’, applies really well to didactic, adventure stories such as Odysseus or Harry Potter.

Propp’s structure is long of 31 steps split into 5 phases, no less. It’s quite similar to Campbell’s, and bears the same limitations: it fits an epic, or an adventure story, but both models seem structurally forced when applied to smaller scale folks tales, novels or even retelling of human memories.

There’s also the fable, which aims at conveying a message to the reader. This lesson is often a glimpse at what life, and other people, can do to you: acts of mercy and kindness, treachery, or simply ‘seize the day but please, stock up for winter’. Fables are much more directed in their politics or narrative, they aim to convey or explore themes by abstracting them in narration. This relationship to reality is partly why we chose to subtitle our game “Slumbertime Fables” because there is a deep connection between the stories and the reality that birthed them.

And then there are memories. A smell, a particular light falling on the clouds in autumn, or the sound of someone cooking in the house. Memories are the seeds that can bloom into magnificent stories, and gather your memories is most certainly the way to find inspiration and write some great stories or fables.

In Yore, these memories will be Valériane’s. As Oscar explained in our announcement trailer, you will explore Valériane’s house alongside her. You will reopen locked up wardrobes, family albums, try to access the attic, and look for mementos of her past life. Tickets, trinkets, clothes, and photos, souvenirs and baubles, finding the lives trapped in these objects…
And as Valériane remembers, you’ll learn more about her and combine those souvenirs to remind her of her life and infuse new life and meaning into those almost forgotten memories.

This is it : now you know a lot about the origins of Yore’s lore! Don’t forget that you can help us make the game by sharing this update around you :)

Next time, we will tell you more about… us!. Until then, stay tuned on Twitter, Facebook and our forums, and have a great week!


Yore Devlog #1 : Valériane

Why is Valériane an old woman?

– by Oscar Barda

It might be trivial to ask that or even insulting to some…
«Why is that even a question worth asking?!» could one exclaim: why in the modern world would we even bother justifying ourselves on the gender of our character… Especially if it’s a woman since there are so few of them you can play in video games.

Well, we live in a world… Yeah that’s it.
Our game unfolds as a cultural object in a world. A world full of bias and doubts, a world sometimes full of discriminations and clichés and tropes which makes crafting a story and choosing its elements and ingredients a series of difficult choices, some of them seem to have no right answer.

The story of Yore was a very personal one, for me, I carried it for a long time under my vest, but there was something about my personal history, a ray of hope that shaped the person I am today originated when I told stories to 3 little girls I was babysitting something like forever ago.
So the first thing I did when I externalized the idea that would become Yore for the first time was to say it was the story of an old man. An old man, left alone and despairing that a sudden ray of hope for a future he might never even be a part of stroke, because that old man was me…

First test for the old man

But then, a lot of things changed in the world, a lot of things evolved and new subjects were brought on the scene and my story of one more man in a sea of male protagonists suddenly began to feel a little at odds with my wish to make the world of video games a better place for women.

So that nameless old grandpa became a nameless old grandma, since their story was yet to be written. Because the game’s idea was first built on the storytelling gameplay, there was no “what works best with the story”… It was all about what we wanted to add to the world in which Yore would come out.
The choice we laid out was thus: either our hero is a dude and we get one more guy protagonist out there or it’s a woman and… what does that mean.
Well, our main character is a stay at home person that lives in the memory of their loved one and isn’t actually doing anything with their life… Suddenly that person starts to take care of children and discovers the joy of telling stories… We felt that was such a cliché for that character to be a woman. Dressing back womanhood in the usual habits of motherhood and child-care.

Here is an example of what I was talking about earlier: both choices felt weird to our team… So what about a trans grandma ? Well, why not!?
However, for reasons that we will not reveal right now (elements of the story), so that our world feels folk-tales like, that solution didn’t seem perfect either. There is definitely bias here about what feels like this deep childhood nostalgia to us, and we do not mean to offend anyone. I just wanted to state that trans people exist and have to be treated as equal to others and included in stories, our protagonist didn’t feel like the right one for that job. Maybe next time.

We considered this situation at length, there is a very precise memory etched in my brain of the moment where we all felt silent and thought deeply in our meeting room, weighing in the options… Then we chose, knowing that none of the choices were without consequences, and Valériane became a woman, living in France (and why the story happens in France will be revealed in an upcoming update, coming to you at the end of December).

Again, our choice isn’t perfect, some other things came into consideration : during our research into what stories resembled ours, we remembered that an old grumpy man living alone had been cast in Up by Pixar and we didn’t want to feel too derivative.
There were other earthquakes in the world of video games and some biases against women were made even more apparent.
And to some extent, talking about a character that was raised in a small town, in a time when people used to have more defined roles in society made us feel kind-of-sort-of-not-really-but-maybe-a-little that casting a woman in a motherly role wasn’t as huge a problem for us as it would’ve been if the game talked about young women living in the future (full disclosure, there are some in our team that feel this is only rationalization :P).

After taking that decision because one had to be made, we started to flesh out Valériane as a character, her life, her story, her memories and feelings, and it became clear that we felt a deep attachment to this character that would make it really hard to start over again.
Although this article may feel very final, we are ever open to suggestions so if you have opinions on this decision, please take to the forums where we’ll be waiting for your reactions regarding this choice.

Back to the basics!



During the 3rd and 4th of October, we participated in a 24H game jam at the Gaité lyrique!
Here are some of the tracks EK of Bredrin Records created for our game!



EK also created ALL OF THE MUSIC of our musical-dexterity-arcadey game, inSynch!


Songs of Video Games Playlist

Version Française après !

by Lisa Schaeffer

As we were listening to Bioshock Infinite’s “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” cover, we had a YouTube recommendation for another video game song. We started building a little playlist, and we’ve found enough to give it a real purpose.

The rules are quite simple: only songs – sung lyrics – composed for a video game.

Many songs were created for movies, animated or live action, from famous Disney songs to aptly named ‘musicals’. Not long after a lot of them became popular, then classics.

Video game music isn’t new, but it was only in 2010 that ‘Baba Yetu’ – main theme of 2005 Civilization IV – got nominated, and won the “Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s)” category.
Before that, the Spike Video Game Awards (VGA) and VGX had a several music categories, from 2003 to 2013.

It is a mesmerizing soundtrack, the vocalists are fantastic, and Christopher Tin’s music composition gives epic and hopeful dimensions to the track. The lyrics are a Swahili translation of the Lord’s Prayer.

We couldn’t help but notice a fading, but existing, difference between English and French:
It is far more common to use song for any kind of track in English, here, look at > this < : in every “10 SONGS” article, you’ll find less than 3 actual songs, meaning, sung lyrics.

In French, we’re sliding towards this too, people gets less and less angry if you say ‘DAMN THIS MUSIC IS MY JAM’ when it’s actually a song, and so on.
But I’ll never forget the difference thanks to my highschool music teacher’s stare.
We’ll continue to add songs from your suggestions! Tweet us @themgames with the link and leave the rest to us!

C’est parti d’une énième écoute de la cover “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” dans Bioshock Infinite. Puis d’une recommandation YouTube avisée.
Et ça s’est fini en playlist et maintenant, on continue en curation !

Les règles sont simples, seulement des chansons, avec des paroles, composées pour un jeu vidéo.

Beaucoup de chansons ont été composées pour le cinéma, que ça soit en animation ou en comédies musicales, et sont devenus des succès.

Or il a fallu attendre 2010 pour que ‘Baba Yetu’, le thème principal de Civilization IV sorti en 2005 soit nominé aux Grammy Awards et gagne cette compétition dans la catégorie “Meilleure composition musicale accompagnant un choeur” (“Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s)”, la catégorie va encore changer de nom en 2015).
Les Spike Video Game Awards (VGA) et VGX, de 2003 à 2013, avaient plusieurs catégories musicales

La composition de Christopher Tin ajoute ce qu’il faut de grandiose aux choeurs, dont les paroles sont une traduction Swahili de la prière Pater Noster.

Ce qui ressort de cette playlist est le manque de clarté dans l’univers musical du jeu vidéo :
Lors de nos recherches nous avons remarqué que les anglophones utilisent beaucoup ‘song’ quand bien même le morceau est entièrement musical.
Nous, francophones, on se fait reprendre en 5° au collège par le prof de musique qui t’enlève deux points pour avoir écrit ‘musique’ au lieu de ‘chanson’. Pas juste.

La playlist va s’étendre et s’affiner, et ce grâce à vos suggestions !
Envoyez-nous vos chansons de jeu sur notre twitter @themgames, on se charge du reste !

Fresh, homemade DOTA 2 data!

By Lisa Schaeffer and Oscar Barda

An Introduction
We play an unreasonable amount of DOTA 2 here at Them Games. In fact, we play it so much that given our jobs as game makers, we couldn’t but notice that no new hero has been added to DOTA 1 since May 2013 (Nerif the Oracle and Kaolin the Earth Spirit were then ported to Dota 2 and modified but no new design has surfaced in the last 2 years).
But if you caught the DOTA train after the DOTA 2 stop, you might not know that Heroes used to be designed by the community. People would ping the designers or just add new heroes themselves (because DOTA was a map made in the Warcraft 3 editor so anyone could edit it).

Nowadays, Dota 2 belongs to Valve and although modding is being added as we speak, there will still always be an official DOTA 2 on one side (with millions of dollars in the balance) and community created maps, mods, and Heroes on the other.
So to herald the coming (back) of the age of people creating their own Heroes (and we’re probably going to be among them, teasing teasing teasing) we went on to compile a heap of informations about all these characters.
What kind of stats would be interesting, what conclusion do you make of them combined?
Note: We have a lot of ideas and this article will change very soon, send us your feedback!

Gradient Classification

DOTA 2 Heroes Gradient

Heroes Classification by Main Color
Click to fullview – Cliquez pour agrandir

DOTA 2 Heroes are designed by Valve with specific color palettes and settings.
For more information on Valve’s take on character design in DOTA 2, here’s the Official Character Guide, with explanations on the palettes, settings, silhouettes, and much more!
Now, what kind of useful information this homemade gradient classification can give us?
First, there aren’t a lot of Cyan/Green Characters, and a lot of Blue & Red ones.
We cannot say that it is a ‘Dire is red, Radiant is blue’ (Roshan is coming for you) separation as Heroes are mixed in both colors.
Second, most Heroines are in the blue-ish area, the four exceptions being Lina, Windranger, Enchantress, and Queen of Pain. Again, that is not really a hint for their alliegance, as Lina is on the Radiant side and Queen of Pain on the Dire side of life.

Races of DOTA 2

The goal of this table is to allow you to see what races and species already exist in the Dota 2 universe and get inspired (maybe you would like a character to be the cousin or the kin of another hero, or maybe they’d be the worst enemy of your favourite hero or a cursed Wildling or ride a Thunderhide?).

We’ll say our thanks to Hefaistus and 1337_n00b of the DOTA 2 Dev forum for this Lore Thread.
It’s not perfect: we grabbed information from comics, official lore, DOTA 2’s Gamepedia (thank you so much guys), facial features (like ears, eye shapes etc.) body types and body features (number of fingers, tails, fins etc.) and… Yes, personal cuts. We had to, really, there’s just not enough information to actually sort the 110 heroes (without even counting the two yet-to-be-released ones) without making some choices. Otherwise it would have been 110 individual rows.
Its race section is more than useful to understand how difficult it is to choose either a race or a category. For exemple:

  • Dazzle & Huskar are both from the Dezun Tribe.
  • Huskar has been brought back to life, he’s Undead, right?
  • But they both share physical Troll traits with Shadow Shaman & Troll Warlord.
  • What do??

Well, we had to choose, and it’s not perfect, but the lore isn’t either, yet is deepened with each new Hero. Stay alert!

Race Name Heroines & Heroes N# of Heroes
Keen Folk Alchemist Techies Sniper Tinker Clockwerk Gyrocopter Timbersaw 7
Oglodi Axe Disruptor Warlock 3
Ogres Ogre Magi [Alchemist’s Ogre] [Ogre Creeps] 1
Trolls Witch Doctor Troll Warlord Shadow Shaman Dazzle Huskar Batrider [Troll Creeps] 6
Celestials Storm Spirit Ember Spirit Earth Spirit Brewmaster 4
Undead Lifestealer Undying Wraith King Death Prophet Lich Clinkz Razor Necrophos Phantom Lancer Kunkka Vengeful Spirit Abaddon Pudge Pugna [Ghost Creeps] 14
Plants & Animals Broodmother Sand King Nyx Assassin Venomancer Weaver Treant Protector Ursa [Wolf Creeps] [Harpy Creeps] [Wildwing Creeps] [Hellbear Creeps] [Thunderhide Creeps] 7
Slithereen Slardar Naga Siren Tidehunter Slark 4
Godlike Zeus Io Medusa Elder Titan Phoenix Keeper of the Light 6
Humanoids Mirana Luna Lina Crystal Maiden Windranger Phantom Assassin Templar Assassin Legion Commander Beastmaster Chen Lone Druid Anti-Mage Sven Omniknight Dragon Knight Lycan Silencer Invoker 18
Skywrath Skywrath Mage 1
Gargoyles Visage 1
Demons Doom Shadow Demon Shadow Fiend Terrorblade Bane Queen of Pain Lion 7
Halfsteeds Centaur Warrunner (Centaur)
Enchantress (Dryad) Magnus (Magnoceroi) Leshrac (Prob Dryad)
Elementals Ancient Apparition Spirit Breaker Morphling Tiny Earthshaker Chaos Knight Spectre Nature’s Prophet Enigma [Golem Creeps] [Golem Ancient Creeps] 9
Drakes Jakiro Winter Wyvern Viper Puck [Dragon Ancient Creeps] 4
Uniques Tusk Juggernaut Oracle Meepo Drow Ranger Bloodseeker Dark Seer Rubick Outworld Devourer Bristleback Nightstalker Bounty Hunter Faceless Void 13
Satyrs Riki (Satyr) [Satyr Creeps] 1


  • Out of 18 Humanoids, only 4 are people of color: Chen, Windranger, Legion Commander, and Anti-Mage to an extent.
  • Lifestealer might be an Oglodi, according to a response from Bristleback.
  • Shadow Shaman is half something, half Hill Troll.
  • Brewmaster is half something, half Celestial.
  • Phantom Lancer might be dead.
  • Vengeful Spirit has been torn apart then ‘recreated’ into a pure form of Vengeance by the goddess Skree’auk.
  • Pugna might be an undead entity controlled by a juvenile but powerful Grandmaster whose Temple turned to ashes, and we do not know what became of his body… So Pugna the character could just be a vessel, mentally controlled by another person… Lore theories, I swear.
  • The Slithereen are an underwater, cross-species elite, between Nagas and others.
  • Elementals have a connection with nature, without being almighty like the Celestials. Chaos Knight embodies the battle of Darkness against Light. Nature’s Prophet is a seed planted by a goddess. And so on.
  • Uniques are the last of their species, such as the Juggernaut, last of the Faceless Ones, or Outworld Devourer, last keeper of the edge of the world… or we just don’t know, like Oracle or Dark Seer.

Heroes Repartition by Side per Attribute

DOTA 2 Heroes Gradient

Heroes Classification by Attributes
Click to fullview – Cliquez pour agrandir

[Radiant is Green – Dire is Red – Abyssal Underlord & Arc Warden have been added]
The repartition between attributes is fairly balanced:

  • There are more Radiant Heroes than Dire Heroes, so there can’t be any 50/50, but 59 to 51. That ain’t bad.
  • By Attribute: AGI 35 < STR 37 < INT 40
  • The main difference lies in the Strength Heroes, at 16 for the Dire and 21 for the Radiant.
  • There are more Intelligence Heroes
More stats on Attributes and Roles

Officially, Heroes and Heroines can have multiple roles, between Carry, Disabler, Lane Support, Initiator, Jungler, Durable, Nuker, Pusher, Escape, and Support.
For example, Sven has officially four roles: Disabler, Initiator, Carry, and Support.

On Strength Heroes
There are 37 Strength Heroes. Of these, the most prominent role is Durable with 29 Heroes.
This is noteworthy as ‘Durable’ isn’t a term widely used in the community vocabulary, compared to ‘Carry’, or ‘Support’. But it is logical, as Strength adds hit points.
There is only one Female Strength Hero, Legion Commander.
There are two Neutral Strength Heroes, Phoenix and Io.

On Agility Heroes
Most of Agility Heroes are Carry, with 29 Heroes sharing this role out of 35.
This is the category in which there are the most Female Heroes, up to 9, almost all of them having mainly a Carry role.

On Intelligence Heroes
In this category, 26 out of 40 have a Nuker role. ‘Nuker’ is used, but ‘Ganker’ is way more used in the community.
Here, there are most of Neutral Heroes: Puck, Visage, and Ancient Apparition.
Also, here is the rest of Female Heroes, up to 7.

Heroes Repartition by Gender per Side

DOTA 2 Heroes Gradient

Heroes Classification by Gender
Click to fullview – Cliquez pour agrandir

[Neutrals are Green – Females are Blue – Males are Red]
This pie chart is far more interesting, as it shows us the repartition by gender of all Heroes.
For example, Broodmother as the feminine pronouns (she/her), she’s female. Puck has neutral pronouns (it/its), it’s neutral.
Males are pretty obvious.

  • Ok, so we’ve got a lot of dudes here, but combined with what we know of the races, few of them are Human-like (10 out of 87) the rest beings Insectoids, Elementals, and the likes.
  • Totally on the contrary, nearly half of the Heroines are Humans (8 out of 18). Is there a lack of imagination in Heroines Designs? Maaaaybe. It’s noteworthy that Death Prophet, Naga Siren, and Queen of Pain have Human-like features.
  • Again on the Heroines, there’s a clear majority on the Radiant Side, with two third, and one third on the Dire Side. All Dire Heroines are non-Humans.
  • Now, on the Neutrals: they aren’t a lot, but they matter.
    Most DOTA 2 players think Puck is female because of its voice actress. Its creature design tending toward blue and purple/pink colors would confirm that, but the lore says clearly ‘it’.
    Another case would be Visage, why would it be Neutral while most of Heroes don’t have more male attributes in their designs? For example, Viper, Outworld Devourer, or Morphling? We’ll never know.

As you can see, DOTA 2 has a lot of different races and backgrounds, yet genders are still pretty much like they are on Earth: males, females, and some animals or otherworldly entities that just don’t like to be called either he or she.
We at Them Games feel that there are too many dicks on the dancefloor and urge you, if you were to create some new heroes for DOTA 2, to create Big women, old women, tall and short neutral people, various shapes and races and colors! Make the world of DOTA 2 a weird and interesting one to play in! It’s a game in which you can play an Undead Oglodi, a Greek god, and monsters from the infinite corners of the universe…
Why not a more diverse crowd?

Petits essais dessinés ep.7 Le sens de l’urgence

Oscar (@Osskx) aborde une problématique du game design :
comment faire ressentir l’urgence dans un jeu ?

Forces du Mal menaçant de conquérir le monde en 200 heures de jeu ; explosions de vaisseaux à rallonge ; énigmes infinies… Toute la cohésion d’une histoire est en jeu lors de ces moments critiques, alors qu’elles sont les pièges à éviter et les pistes possibles d’amélioration ?

Et n’oubliez pas de venir nous dire ce que vous en pensez sur les réseaux sociaux !
Ici pour Twitter
Ici pour Facebook !
Ou sur notre site

The Legend of Zelda : Ocarina of Time
Broken Age, Double Fine
The Witcher 3 :
Red Dead Redemptio
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Un Béluga
Massive Chalice
Fable III

A très bientôt pour de nouvelles vidéos !

Petits essais dessinés ep.6 Le controller hacking et les expositions de jeux vidéo

Oscar Barda (@Osskx) regarde en détail ce que c’est que le controller hacking et sa place dans l’avenir du jeu vidéo et plus spécifiquement des expositions de jeu vidéo ! En bonus, Oscar nous présente des exemples qu’il a filmé lors de Alt ctrl GDC.

Où trouver des jeux avec du controller hacking ou du controller modding ?
ALT CTRL GDC (Los Angeles – États-Unis)

A MAZE. FESTIVAL (Berlin – Allemagne)

ZOO MACHINES (Tourcoing – France)

Et n’oubliez pas de venir nous dire ce que vous en pensez sur les réseaux sociaux !
Ici pour Twitter
Ici pour Facebook !

A très bientôt !