– by Lisa Schaeffer, Oscar 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.
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!