In the enchanting world of Chants of Sennaar, a mesmerizing puzzle game awaits, where language is not merely a means of communication but a captivating journey in itself.
Playable today on Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One, players can now embark on this linguistic odyssey, where they will dive into the depths of five meticulously crafted languages, each with its own unique history, grammar, and cultural resonance. The creation of these languages was a labor of love, blending elements of real-world cultures and linguistic principles to create languages that slowly reveal the truth of the world and people around you. In Chants of Sennaar, words hold the key to unraveling ancient mysteries and forging profound connections.
Inspired by the myth of Babel, Chants of Sennaar casts you as a Traveler, who seeks to unite cultures fractured by language, all living within a single mysterious Tower. In this puzzle adventure, you’ll travel to different cultures and decode their languages yourself and, in doing so, learn the history of the world you’re travelling through.
In Chants of Sennaar, language transcends its traditional role, becoming a vital puzzle-solving tool and a conduit for storytelling. As players navigate the linguistic landscape, they immerse themselves in a world of diverse cultures, unraveling the mysteries that lie within. By embracing the power of language, we hope to inspire players to appreciate the beauty and complexities of communication in our own world.
The game Heaven’s Vault inspired us to pursue the concept of crafting an original language from scratch. We expanded upon this concept by creating living dialects actively spoken and utilized by the characters, fostering interactive linguistic experiences for players. By intertwining the languages with gameplay mechanics, we transformed the learning and discovery process into a puzzle itself, making language acquisition an integral part of the game’s progression.
To ensure that each section of the world felt fully realized, we established the cultures of each group of people within Chants of Sennaar early on. This includes their history, architecture, technological advancements, and fundamental beliefs. By bringing these fictional peoples to life, their languages followed suit.
For instance, the Devotees, the first group encountered in the game, are inspired by ancient Middle Eastern civilizations and medieval Latin Europe. Consequently, their written language fuses elements of Mesopotamian cuneiform writing and the Phoenician alphabet. The Devotees’ peaceful and disciplined nature, driven by their belief in a benevolent “god”, is reflected in their language through a vocabulary rooted in simplicity and exchange.
Each people in the game possesses their own language and grammar, intimately tied to their culture and primary concerns. Drawing inspiration from Nordic tribes, the Warriors employ a language reminiscent of the Futhark runic script, characterized by an authoritarian vocabulary and an imperative mode of expression. The poetic Epicureans and industrious Alchemists, on the other hand, exhibit entirely different writing systems and vocabularies, mirroring their distinctive pursuits.
Determining the number of languages was tough, but we settled on having five distinct groups inhabiting the Tower, each having its own language; with this number we’ve achieved a nice level of dramatic stakes while still ensuring accessibility for all players. The creation of these original languages involved a combination of cultural background, research, and artistic design. Our artistic director, with a deep-rooted interest in linguistics and visual communication, brought his expertise in graphic design to bear on the development process. Drawing from a wide range of graphic and semantic systems, including Phoenician, Kufic, Sanskrit, Futhark, Korean Hangeul or Cistercian numbers, we crafted distinct and credible languages for the game.
Beyond the mechanical aspects, Chants of Sennaar explores themes of division, mistrust, and the challenges of coexistence. Most importantly, it also highlights the transformative power of communication, open-mindedness, and embracing diversity.
Remember, the power of words can transcend boundaries and shape destinies. Are you ready to embark on this linguistic odyssey? Play Chants of Sennaar now on Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One, or try the demo for free.
Chants of Sennaar