Today the long-anticipated A Plague Tale: Innocence launches on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. Developer Asobo Studios promises gripping storytelling, harrowing stealth, and a heart as black as pitch. It follows Amicia, a teenaged girl trained in hunting by her father, and her younger brother Hugo. Having been sealed away in his room his entire life, Hugo knows little of the world. When a plague descends on Middle Age France and powerful men attempt to capture Hugo for reasons unknown, Amicia must take him and flee. They are alone, pursued by enemies in a land beset by disease and vicious, terrifying rats.
“It’s definitely a dark game. We are coldly telling the harsh reality of the world of that time. However, there is no wanton violence. Amicia will have to take decisions that will cost her part of her soul. It’s a theme we explore in our game: how far will she go in order to survive?”
AURÉLIE BELZANNE, HEAD OF COMMUNICATION
Darkness, Death, and Disease in the Middle Ages
In books, films, visual art, and video games, the middle ages have fascinated us as a setting for decades. When utilising this setting, however, what artists often fail to capture is the grim harshness of the time. The despair, poverty, and hunger that coloured the lives of so many often get glossed over. As a result, when we think of the Medieval period, we often think of knights, princesses, even magic. A Plague Tale seeks to end this fairy tale. As a result, Asobo Studio’s depiction of France in 1349 seems terribly bleak. It’s dark, it’s terrifying, it’s filthy. It seems that the studio is taking the Middle Ages fantasy and turning it on its head. Elements have been emphasised, exaggerated, made fantastical. Enormous swarms of rats fill the streets and fields – a visceral and terrifying metaphor for the intangible reality of the Black Death.
“Rats are the embodiment of the plague, the physical interpretation of an intangible disease. It’s the element from history that we transformed to give it something more fantastic. they are both an obstacle for the player, a key narration element, and a triggering factor.”
KEVIN CHOTEAU, GAME DIRECTOR
The player will need to balance the need for light – to keep away the deadly rats – with the need for the cover of darkness to hide from enemies.
Stealth, Frailty and the Terror of Men in A Plague Tale: Innocence
At just 15 years old, Amicia proves no match for the armed and trained soldiers that pursue her and her brother. Consequently, stealth is likely to be central to the game’s core experience. In a market filled to the brim with video games starring near-immortal death-dealers, a frail protagonist is always welcome. The enemies of A Plague Tale include the ever-present rats, the English army, local French bandits and brigands, and the terrifying Inquisition. Amicia and Hugo must survive against the odds, and against their own human nature.
We here at GamEir can’t wait to dig our grubby little rat paws into A Plague Tale: Innocence. The pre-order bonus includes additional outfits and a coat-of-arms. These will still be available post-launch, however, as paid DLC.
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