The Indie Game Magazine July 2015 | Issue 51 - Page 16

COVER STORY Whosoever Holds this Axe... by Vinny Parisi I ’ve always taken a keen interest in mythology. As a child, I was particularly enamored by Greek mythology, featuring stories of the Gods and their interactions with mortals making for some truly epic tragedies. I also fell in love with comic books at an early age, which for all intents and purposes, are modern day society’s version of mythology. I bring this up because it’s hard to be a Marvel comics fan and not mention the God of Thunder himself (or herself, if you’re keeping up on current comic events), Thor. Thor, to very briefly generalize, is based in Norse mythology. Norse mythology is centered around Yggdrasil, the tree of life, which connects all of the existing nine Realms. Earth, for instance, belongs to the Realm of Midgard. I mention this because reading Thor led me to pursue an interest in more traditional Norse mythology, which is directly relevant to this feature. Thor, much like Thunder Lotus 16 Games’ upcoming Jotun, takes its inspiration from Norse mythology, digging into a rich tapestry of lore as the basis for a grand adventure. But whereas the Odinson travels via Rainbow Bridge across the Nine Realms in search of glory, Thora – the protagonist player’s will adventure alongside in Jotun – is confined to the rather expansive gateway known as Purgatory. The basic premise of Jotun is that Thora must impress the Gods before she is granted entry into Valhalla, a place where the spirits of all proud Norse warriors go after they fall in honorable combat. The problem for Thora, though, is that she died an inglorious death, and must therefore prove herself to the Gods during her time in Purgatory before it’s too late. The details about how Thora died stripped of honor are currently a mystery, and Jotun designer/coder/business guy Will Dubé wants to keep it that way. Considering the game’s emphasis on story and exploration, the team’s The Indie Game Magazine desire to preserve any narrative details until players experience it for themselves doesn’t come as much of a surprise. What we can instead focus on, is the gameplay itself. With an Alpha available for Kickstarter backers and a demo making the press/convention rounds, much of Jotun’s combat has been proudly displayed over the past few months. In addition to this, details about the exploratory aspects of the game have slowly trickled out over months of development updates, courtesy of Dubé, as well as some new tidbits I pried out of him for this issue’s accompanying interview segment. But before delving into the n itty-gritty of gameplay, it’s important to understand Thora’s environment, and the role Purgatory plays in the game. As you’ll see from looking at screenshots, Jotun is hand-drawn in appearance, with an emphasis of large set pieces, both in size and scope. Despite the entirety of the game taking place in Purgatory, players will not be limited to a singular environment. Rather, Jotun will feature a distinct Region for each of the titans Thora must face in battle. Each region consists of two exploration levels, filled with secrets Thora can uncover to improve her combat prowess, and one boss fight. These regions will be aesthetically varied, featuring drastic changes in appearance that will send players on frozen ice-capades against a frost giant, to venturing through the recently unveiled Nidavellir, described as “an underground realm of treasure and darkness; home of the dwarves and the mighty Cave Jotun, Fé.”