History of World's End, Part 6

Early 2005 finds me deeply enmeshed in the process of the long-awaited (by me) conversion of the now-venerable Setoran story into video game form, via RPG Maker 2000. At last, I had a (still-evolving) plot and characters I was (mostly) satisfied with, and the means to realize my ancient dreams via creation of a mildly interesting Dragon Warrior clone!

I cannot help but elaborate on the state of the story itself at this time. The most generic trappings of RPGs and fantasy fiction were largely shed by now, in favor of a more realistic world with whatever supernatural elements it yet possessed shoved off, more or less, into the background.

By this point, Ivir Valtheyn (now known as Ivan Vaclav) had definitively become the main character. His status as an outsider, acquainted through his father with the workings of the Valelands but also of half foreign blood, as well as his fairly well-grounded and normal personality relative to the other characters, made him far better suited for a protagonist and/or narrator role than the increasingly strange and unearthly Aizu.

Apart from certain fundamental elements that I cannot yet elaborate upon, this was probably the biggest shift the story had undergone since its inception. Near every damn RPG I grew up playing had, as the central character, some sort of mysterious chosen-one type hero around whom the plot revolved.

I won't pretend it was an original idea by any means, but I really just wanted to have the work I was writing to have “normal” people in the starring role, viewing the escapades of the Savior-of-the-World du jour from an outside perspective.

Anyway, my digression is as extreme as my repetition, so let's get back on track.

In this iteration of the story, Ivir is a Boronachian (i.e. Voronese) draftee who flees the army after being ordered to slaughter the citizens of a small village, Setora, whose inhabitants have been deemed by Boronach to be too dangerous to live. He stumbles into the company of two travelers, the exile Tevoran (still a former councillor of Oskar's!) and his step-daughter Ythaea; Aizu eventually encounters them, and the plot proceeds from there.

That image you see up above you there was the result of a certain happy discovery: a character art creation program for RPG Maker 2000. No, I didn't really draw those at all! I just merely used this program's collection of clothing and hair elements and custom color capabilities.

Have I mentioned that I've never really been much of an artist? Shelve your boundless surprise at that statement, and know that those were the first ever images of (from left to right) Ivan, Tevoran, Ysabel, Aizu, and Martin that I'd created! Here's another one showing early versions of Reynold, a Voronese Captain, and Duriken:

As for the remainder of the RPG Maker game itself, it proceeded in the same way as the Valtheyn Brothers prequel I mentioned in the last entry, and was about as innovative or interesting. Look, the whole thing was pretty much intended as a vehicle for a story that I knew by now no one was ever going to read if it wasn't in video game form.

I kept working on this thing throughout 2005, slowly assembling maps and bastardized character artwork in an attempt to bring to life the story of the quest to overthrow the corrupt Boronachian government, to figure out the mystery of Aizu Setoran, and to determine the purpose of a certain evil chancellor in his pursuit of her (well, she was still a “he” back then, but you get the idea).

I probably could have kept working on this thing forever, since I think my plot was actually becoming kind of interesting at this point. Here's a later version of the party, by the way:

Why is Ivan quite so swarthy? Where's Tevoran's mohawk? Why's Ysabel blonde, and wearing a karate uniform? Why's Aizu still a boy? All of these questions and more will utterly fail to be answered in the next post, because I don't really have any good answers for them (with one exception — though even the answer to that is pretty stupid).

Enough of that though! I didn't really give a shit about RPG Maker anyway, outside of what purposes it held for my writing. I dumped the whole mess without looking back when on one slightly fateful day in late 2005, Crack asked me if I wanted to make a strategy RPG...

— Complacent


Next: World's End: Tactics (Available early to supporters on Patreon)