Heroes of Legionwood #8: Quest structure and focus

Hello there, heroes.

Development of Episode 3, End of Days, is coming along smoothly, so I thought I’d treat you all to a series of dev blogs detailing several of the game’s features and plot elements. In terms of design philosophy and goals, End of Days is actually a little different to previous installments of Heroes of Legionwood in a few notable ways, and I thought it’d be interesting to go into detail about what exactly you can expect.

The first notable difference between End of Days and the previous episodes is its scope and quest structure. Funnily enough, this is simply carrying on a pattern already established by Age of Darkness and Resurrection, which were both subtly different. Episode 1, Age of Darkness, focused on a journey over a relatively large geographical area, featuring several towns and sidequests requiring backtracking to previously visited locations. By contrast, Resurrection‘s structure was much tighter, featuring adventures set inside and around one city with a little less linearity.

End of Days is different yet again, returning somewhat to the linear structure of Episode 1 but retaining the content density of Episode 2. In short, you can expect Episode 3 to be a little more linear when it comes to area progression, with less of an emphasis on optional content, but with more to do in each area and a much bigger content ratio in the main story. To demonstrate this, check out Episode 3’s opening dungeon in comparison to the sewers from Resurrection:

As you can see, in terms of sheer size, Episode 3’s dungeon is definitely bigger, but there’s more to it than that. Unlike Resurrection‘s opening dungeon, this cave in Episode 3 has different versions depending on how you ended the previous installment, with different enemies, a different objective and alternate ways through. There are a number of skill checks and talent uses that affect the difficulty and the boss fight, too, and provide options for different party builds. Compared to Episode 2, there’s simply more content here – what might have been reserved for optional sidequests is right there in the story dungeon instead. The trade off, of course, is that there’s less of a focus on the optional stuff this time around. Side quests still exist, of course, but they’re much simpler and there are fewer of them, at least compared to stuff like the shipwreck exploration or the Champion’s Arena in Resurrection.

Most of this structure is due to the scope and context of Episode 3’s story. Basically, the stakes are high in End of Days (hence the title). The Darkness is finally descending, and you’re racing against time to re-unite the Lore Shards and stop it before there’s nobody left to save. You’re not simply searching for something, like in Age of Darkness, or engaging in faction politics like in Resurrection. With that in mind, it doesn’t really make sense for your characters to be meandering around doing sidequests. Instead, you’re moving quickly from one self-contained area to another in a linear fashion, but in each area there’s much more to do and more scope for your choices to affect the story itself. We’re wrapping up story arcs here – it’s all about building up to a satisfying conclusion.

And that’s all for now. Join us again next time and I’ll go into detail about how exactly we’re going about this. Episode 3 is where the consequences for your choices will finally start to manifest in a big way.

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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