“The Scourge of Aleria” is a game about ridding the once beautiful kingdom of Aleria from the rats and diseases that came with them. In the opening of the game, the player is introduced to Queen Diala and her animal kingdom of Aleria. It is a beautiful, sprawling, technologically advanced city, until approximately 5 years before the time of the game when a huge infestation of rats moves into the city and overpopulates, driving most other inhabitants out of Aleria or into the rich district. In the 5 years after the invasion, the city has fallen apart into a steamy, polluted, overcrowded, and messy dump.
You play as Max, a cat of the Queen’s guard who has been training since a kitten to protect the queen. After a near fatal attempt is made at the queen’s life, you are tasked with ridding the city of these horrible rats with any means necessary. As the game goes on, the player will meet other characters in the city who aid Max, make him new gear, and train him with new abilities. Towards the end of the game, the rats will retaliate on the queen, and Max will have to defend Diala with other members of the queen’s guard.
The game will be set in a large open-world style city with various districts. The main elements of the game are stealth and mobility. Max can climb and run up, along, and inside almost all buildings and landmarks. When he gets near rats, trails of smell will hint the direction of the rats. If max can approach near a rat undetected he can perform a surprise assassination. If the rats notice Max due to hearing him run or seeing him, they will scurry to a hiding spot. The players must then chase after the rats, avoiding obstacles, and accurately running after them if they hope to catch the rats. As the game goes on, rats will begin to arm themselves and travel in groups for protection. Players can set traps to ambush these rats, use environmental damage to harm them, or choose to fight rats in the open. Players will have to chain together attacks and use various skills in these fights. Various crypts of a legendary cat warrior named Gallaford are hidden around the city. Gallaford was a member of the first queen’s guard centuries ago. These crypts all contain remnants of Gallaford’s legendary sword and horn, which the player must eventually collect in Zelda-like dungeons and have put back together to fight back the rats in the final act of the game.
I wanted to explore gameplay as the cat rather than as the mice, so the player had a sense of power and able to hunt enemies. I wanted an open world for the player to play in for more varied choices and better player freedom, and decided to change the setting from just one castle to a large city (run by the queen in the castle.) Most story elements from the book are kept, but rearranged (such as the sword belonging to an ancient cat rather than an ancient mouse.)
PLAYER OBJECTIVES: Sneak and kill rats while avoiding detection.
GAME MECHANICS: Climb and run around the city, stealth assassinate targets. Fight using abilities and weapons. Solve puzzles in Gallaford’s crypts.
CHARACTERS AND KEY OBJECTS: Max, Diala, Gallaford’s legendary sword and horn
GAME WORLD: A large, steampunk themed city with a dirty, grimy color-scheme except for the rich district which remains white and gold with palaces and parks. Different areas in clude the mill, the waterfront district, the city center, the slums, the industrial park, the rich district, and the Royal Palace.
GAMEPLAY HIGHLIGHTS, HOOKS, FEATURES: Non-linear gameplay, freedom to roam around, various side-quests. Fast-paced action. Enjoyable dungeon puzzles.
AUDIENCE: Teen and higher, violence and language suggest games for kids around 15 or older. Patience and skill for sneaking around and mastering the controls also requires a slightly older audience.
GAME STYLE/PLAYER EXPERIENCE: “The scourge of Aleria” is intended to give players control over their experience. You can either take the game stealthily and deliberately, or chase and fight enemies. New skills and gear, and changing enemy tactics give the player a sense of progression.