Created by: Casper Cox
How Max Became Magnificent is a quest-based exploration game in which the player controls Max, an average young housecat, as he goes on a journey to save his hometown from being ravaged by mice. Along the way, he has many opportunities to change his reputation in the eyes of his townsfolk, fellow cats, mice, and his owner; the more things he does well, the more magnificent he becomes.
Everyone knows the tale of Max the Magnificent, a cat who, at an unfortunate fault, was bested by the royal mice of the Queen of All You Can See’s castle. But what no one knows is how that cat, formerly just known as Max, became so magnificent in the first place.
Several years before the occurrences at the Queen’s castle, when Max was just a kitten, there was a mouse infestation in a forest-trapped village. The Queen thought she had it bad with the royal mice, but her problems were nothing compared to this. The mice had overrun everything. Houses were filled with them, food storages were picked clean because of them, and illness was rapidly spreading from their presence. For a while, no one stepped forward to solve the problem, and because the village was surrounded by dangerous forest, word for help could not spread past the trees.
Within this unfortunate village lived Max and his owner, Franny. The two were very happy together until the mouse incident, but even through the start of the infestation they were doing fine. However, by autumn Franny fell ill. She could no longer move about their cottage, and could not take care of herself or Max. Because the mice had gotten to nearly all of the food, Franny and Max were beginning to starve as well. When Max saw the condition that his dear owner was in, he knew that he had to do something. Max remembered seeing something about a magical horn in Franny’s books; a horn tucked deep inside the heart of the darkest part of the northern forest. Although the woods around the village were filled with peril, he, with Franny’s encouragement, ventured out to find the horn, hoping that in doing so he could save his village, and, more importantly to him, save Franny and make her proud of what he had done.
Max traveled deep into the woods to find the horn. He met a handful of other creatures along the way, including a master mouse-catcher named Stella, a guilty rodent named Robin, and a far-too-dancey frog named Ripple. He won each of them over with promises and his kitten charms, and managed to bring the magical horn back to his village. When he reached the village, it was nearly too late. Everything was in shambles, and the townsfolk were on the brink of moving out – a dangerous feat because of the perilous forest. Max blew into the horn with a great breath, and produced a wind strong enough to blow all of the mice away. Max rushed to his owner Franny, only to find that there was no helping her at this point. She was still alive, and very proud of her Max, but they both knew she would be passing soon.
After Franny’s passing, Max, now known by all in the village as Max the Magnificent, left his hometown to find a new purpose in life with the hope that he could be seen as truly magnificent in someone else’s eyes, just as he was seen through Franny’s.
The main objectives of the game are to go on quests, both fetch quests and battle quests, in order to increase Max’s reputation, get him a step closer to saving his home and Franny, and to become Max the Magnificent.
The only playable character is Max. He’s a fluffy kitten with a patchwork of spots on his fur. His claws are dull and need to be trimmed, and his tail droops downwards with very little motion to it. He has lived most of his young life up to this point in fear of the mice which terrorize the townsfolk of his home and steal all of the food. Once his owner becomes deathly ill, Max realizes that something needs to be done and travels through the dangerous forests surrounding his home in order to find a magical item. More than anything, he wants to save his owner and make her proud.
Franny is Max’s owner. She is old and frail, and, after the mice stole most of their food, deathly ill. She’s also a retired herbalist, and has tons of books on magic, plants, and enchanted items scattered around her house. She motivates Max to gather courage and save the town, promising him that she’ll be proud no matter what he does. In Franny’s eyes, Max has always been magnificent, he just needs to see it himself. Franny survives until shortly after the mice have been chased out of the town, which is when Max packs up his life and finds another person to make as proud as he made her.
Stella is a tortoiseshell cat which Max meets in the forest. She is tough, courageous, and well-versed in chasing mice out of towns. However, she is old, and cannot go with Max to help him; she is able to teach him some of her tricks, though.
Robin is a mouse which Max meets near the item he seeks. Robin does not approve of what his rodent-kin have been doing in Max’s hometown, and agrees to help Max reach the item so long as Max will try to do as little harm to the mice as possible.
Ripple is a large frog which guards the wind horn. He is joyful and loves dancing. Much to Max’s dismay, in order to earn the trust of Ripple, he must set up a stage and perform a dance for the frog.
The main object in the game is a magical horn which, when blown, produces a great wind. The horn is crafted from silver, and has intricate carvings of puffs of wind around its end. Max hopes to use this horn to blow the mice out of his home.
Other key objects are bundles of food which the mice have stashed away in the forest. The more food that Max gathers, the better off his town will be once the mice are gone, and the better Max’s reputation will become.
The game will have a few different mechanics, namely fighting, quests, and exploration.
For fighting, some sections of the forest which Max must travel through are crawling with enemies – both mice and other small creatures. Max must get past them, either by defeating them or sneaking past, in order to progress.
Quests will be the most significant method of story and world discovery. There are fetch quests and fighting quests that Max must undertake while on his journey. The main quest of the game is to find the magical wind horn to save Max’s town. Other quests include finding food, finding objects to gain NPCs’ trust, and fighting enemies to protect NPCs.
Exploration will take place when traveling from quest to quest. As the player explores more of the forest with Max, they’ll discover hidden paths which loop back to other areas, and might also uncover hidden stashes of food to take back to the village.
Special Gameplay Features:
The main gameplay feature is that the things Max does while on his journey to save his town will affect his reputation. If Max goes against his word and harms a lot of the mice after receiving the wind horn, he’ll have a bad reputation with Robin, and with some of the townsfolk, but a better reputation with characters like Stella. If he puts more effort into merely blowing creatures away, he’ll have a better reputation with smaller animals like the mice and frogs. Different combinations of actions will result in a higher reputation, but, no matter what he does, he’ll have a good reputation with Franny, and will forever be seen as Max the Magnificent in her eyes.
The art style for this game is going to be a mix of the original art style of the book and a more cartoonish style in order to keep the game fit for its target audience. The colors will closely reflect the book’s style with some of its more vibrant tones in certain areas, but will have natural enough shades to accurately represent the main forest setting of the game.
The intended audience for How Max Became Magnificent is ages 10 and up. It will have a few darker nuances, especially with the story, but kids around this age should be able to catch on relatively quickly. The game will appeal to this audience through its range of gameplay types, storybook characters, overall story, and light bits of humor. Violence will be minimized by any defeated creatures turning into small clouds of dust. Think Cartoon Network’s Over the Garden Wall for the sort of feeling this game will produce; this game will have lots of similar traits, but in interactive game form rather than as a show.