If you’re familiar with most games, chances are you’ve found yourself playing one that belongs to an established series you’re not overly acquainted with. That’s a matter of concern for the upcoming release of A Plague Tale: Requiem on October 18, which expands the series three years after its prequel, Innocence, started it all. New and existing players alike might be wondering how Requiem defines itself in relation to Innocence. Today, I’m pleased to shed some light on the subject.
Players can enjoy Requiem without having experienced the events of Innocence; that is something we’ve worked hard on. Requiem is in the continuity of Innocence, resuming the story existing players are familiar with. But we’ve been committed to making a game that is accessible to an audience who is completely new to the series. Requiem is yet another experience rooted in Innocence, with plenty of novelties along with its next-gen experience. It would be a real shame not to welcome new players to join in.
Welcoming a new audience
The idea was to introduce every character and give them life in the present, guiding players to meet these characters, getting to know who’s who, and how they’re related. Of course, there’s no formal introduction of Amicia, Hugo, Lucas, or Beatrice. It happens organically. We simply make sure that the opening sequences have all the elements needed to understand the existing dynamics. For instance, you’ll pick up on the fact that Lucas is Beatrice’s apprentice just from their interaction.
A complex lore to present
The most challenging part to introduce to a new audience has been the lore — it complexity unfolds in Innocence, with mystical, almost esoteric elements which are not easy to grasp. You can’t just export everything from one game to another. So, it’s been quite a challenge to find how to make sure new players would not get completely lost. In particular, the Macula (the disease which affects Hugo) and its consequences, needed to be clear.
Welcoming familiar players back
There was a risk these adjustments could impact the experience of familiar players negatively, and that’s one more of the challenges we faced. As I mentioned, we made sure not to fall into anything formal when it comes to re-introducing essential elements. This prevents a feeling of repetition for familiar players, who will enjoy the opportunity to reconnect with the characters and the world without being thrown back in at the deep end.
Same world, new dynamics
Between these two audiences, we’ve constantly looked for the right balance, with the goal to create something organic and provide a radically new experience. That’s our way of including familiar players: giving them more of the same universe without having to repeat the same thing they’ve already done.
Take the rats for instance, they’re still a central element of the game. They return in Requiem and familiar players will be anticipating them. But it must still be exciting. So, they will make their entrance at a specific time, and in specific conditions, which won’t repeat how they’re handled in Innocence and that’s something we’ve thought long and hard about! This has been a guiding principle throughout the entire production.
A fresh start
Aside from renewing existing elements, A Plague Tale: Requiem brings completely new elements. On the whole scale of the game, there is a radically different dynamic. In the first game, Amicia and Hugo’s adventure was set locally, in the region of their household, and their driving force was to run away from the Inquisition. Requiem is a journey, with the discovery of Provence, a region full of new possibilities, along with the quest for a prophesied island. It allows us to introduce new characters with new personalities and to create dynamics which didn’t exist in Innocence.
Amicia and Hugo are no longer known to the local population. They’ll have to face its hostility or accept their help. So, there’s a change of setting which affects the story in a way that both refreshes the Plague Tale experience and makes it friendly for newcomers to the second game.
Amicia and Hugo’s quest is also an inner journey, a struggle to outlive the traumatic events they faced in Innocence. That makes it a story where past and present come together to form a consistent whole, where the past echoes but doesn’t paralyse — that goes for our heroes and for our players alike!
A Plague Tale: Requiem releases October 18 on Xbox Series X|S and PC and will be available day one with Game Pass. Pre-order now on the Xbox Store to get in-game bonuses and stay tuned for more exclusive details!
A Plague Tale: Requiem (Pre-order)