While it’s unsurprising that a children’s book has shallow characters and a morally simple plot, I’m interested in how “The Royal Mice” would look with more depth. This adaptation seeks to add that depth, as well as a neutral perspective from which to view the story’s events.
In terms of gameplay, the game would be an exploration based platformer. The player would control an unnamed mouse who observes the events of the book. The player would have to navigate rooms of the palace and avoid various dangers in order to witness the story unfold. Depending on which areas the player visits, they will see different the story’s different facets.
There are a few ways to add more depth to the game’s characters, as well as a bit of moral greyness. To start, rather than being purely heroic Cadbury is arrogant. Him acquiring the sword and horn will lead not only to the mice living safely in the castle, but also to him ruling the mice with the power of the summoned ghosts. Additionally, if the ghosts are summoned to fend off Max, they will slay the cat rather than scare him off, making the mice’s “salvation” more unpleasant. Further filling out the “pure evil” Max is the fact that if he fails to rid the castle of mice, the Queen will have him killed. Lastly, despite her cruel treatment of Max, the Queen gains some depth from the Royal Mice spreading deadly diseases throughout the castle rather than just being a nuisance.
The player will also be able to affect the story through the actions they take in the levels. For example, the player could find the sword and horn before Little Francis and choose to use it for their own goals rather than hand it off to Cadbury.
The ultimate goal of the game is to modify the story of “The Royal Mice” so that the overall plot stays the same, except for an ending determined by the player, where no choice is wholly correct.
Player objectives: Navigate levels to witness the story and affect it, avoid being caught by enemies and traps.
Game Mechanics: Classic platforming elements (jumping, running, etc.), a system of hiding from enemies.
Characters and Key Objects:
The PC– a nameless mouse who can observe or change the events of the story.
Cadbury– The loud and arrogant leader of the mice. He believes that only he is fit to properly lead the mice, and will go to great lengths to secure his power. Although his hubris might get him in trouble, he would not willingly endanger the mice he seeks to rule.
Guinevere– A noble mouse who’s currently being courted by Cadbury. She doesn’t care who’s in power as long as the mice are safe. She is willing to do anything to preserve them.
Little Francis– A young mouse who is dazzled by Cadbury’s charisma. He wants to emulate the ‘heroic’ mouse, and is always looking for ways to impress him. Aside from his hero, however, he is often caustic and rude.
Gilbert the Elder– A mouse of exceedingly advanced age. He has not grown this old through chivalry, and will use the knowledge he has gathered over the years to preserve himself above all else.
Max the Magnificent– A mighty mouse hunter summoned to rid the castle of mice. He will mercilessly kill any mouse he finds, partly out of the fear that if he fails to do so he will meet a similar fate.
The Queen of All You Can See– The queen of the kingdom, she has become horrified by the sickness spread by the castle’s mouse infestation. Saving her court from this threat is her top priority.
The Sword and the Horn– A legendary knight’s sword and hunting horn, hidden away in the walls of the castle. Blowing the horn will summon a host of ghostly mouse warriors, while the sword grants its wielder the authority to order the host.
Game World: The castle of the Queen of All You Can See. It consists of lush chambers, bustling kitchens, cold stone hallways, blustery castle parapets and other castle features.
Gameplay Highlights/Hooks/Features: Observing and affecting a new take on the story of “The Royal Mice”, platforming through storybook-style levels, discovering different sides to the game’s events through exploration.
Intended Audience: Older audiences, specifically those who can appreciate the story’s new moral ambiguity.
Game Style/ Player Experience: The game’s artistic style will be similar to the original’s storybook style. The player experience is designed to make the player think carefully about how they want the game to end, and wonder afterwards if they could have made a better choice.