Mythos Update #2: Length and Progression

It’s time for the second Mythos: The Beginning update!

As of this week, I’ve reached two important milestones in Mythos: The Beginning‘s development. Firstly, last Monday marks one month since beginning work on the game for the Indie Game Making Contest. Secondly, at the time of writing, Mythos has finally reached 50% completion. Depending on how you look at things, this may seem like a marathon feat of endurance — I’ve only been working on the game for a month, and it’s already literally halfway done.

But here’s where we reach a slight problem: the “half” of the game that I have done so far only amounts to just over three hours of gameplay. Assuming the second half is just as long, we’re looking at a final playtime of around six hours. That’s pretty short for an RPG, but it’s higher than average for a survival horror game. By making a game that attempts to be both a traditional C-RPG and an old-school survival horror game, I’m running a considerable risk of alienating certain players. RPG fans will think the game is far too short, while survival horror fans will likely find it far too long (for reference, Resident Evil 2 can be completed within 2 hours).

Each area in Mythos has its own brand of terror.

Each area in Mythos has its own brand of terror.

So, what exactly is going to be in Mythos? For the most part, Mythos is structured in much the same way as my earlier One Night games — the objective of the game is to explore an abandoned building, gradually unlocking new areas and rooms over the course of the game until you’ve gathered the necessary items to defeat the final boss. In Mythos, this exploration is divided up into five main “stages”: the children’s ward, the main building, the catacombs, the upper floors and the Old Ones’ world. In typical RPG fashion, each new “stage” contains harder monsters and puzzles. For the most part, these areas are visited sequentially, but as Mythos is a survival horror game, they also contain key items and puzzle elements that prompt backtracking to a previous area.

That all sounds quite typical for a survival horror game but, as pointed out before, it’s pretty simplistic as far as RPGs go. There is a way to address it, though: re-playability. So far, the direction in which Mythos is going greatly encourages making each playthrough of the game different. Unlike in a normal survival horror game, Mythos has three different character classes, four non-combat skills and over 25+ combat abilities — that’s quite a lot of ways to build your character.

Rather than artificially padding out the game to make it a longer RPG, what I intend to do is emphasise the existing RPG elements and make each character experience the game in a different way. As you can already see in the demo, the order in which you progress through a given area can change depending on your character’s abilities. Characters with Subterfuge can unlock certain doors without needing the key. Characters with Persuade can convince NPCs to help them out and make parts of the game considerably easier. Characters with high Intelligence can bypass puzzles entirely. My goal in Mythos is to allow for each character to have different ways to progress in the game.

So, while the game may not turn out to have an epic final playtime, it’s designed so that you probably won’t see everything in one playthrough. Didn’t master your Occult Lore skill? You’ll miss out on some extra story details. Don’t have the final level of Subterfuge? You’ll miss out on an item that subtly changes the ending. Each character’s exploration of Harborough Asylum will be unique to them — that’s what “role playing” is supposed to be.

About dgrixti

I develop games and I write. I'm studying for a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing and I've been published in a number of literary journals all over the world, and my first actual book is being launched in July 2012 by Disposable Fiction. I like writing speculative fiction, horror and literary fiction, sometimes all blended together. You can find elements of my writing in my games, because I consider my games stories that happen to have gameplay.
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