When we began developing Source we set out to create something completely new and unique, yet deeply versed in the classic Metroidvania adventure game style. To us, a Metroidvania is a special kind of adventure game that has a few main components that need to be just right.
First off, there needs to be an expansive, mysterious world to explore. Second, there should be permanent upgrades that are vital to your character’s advancement and survival. Lastly, a rich, visual story should unfold simply by playing the game itself. In just a few months of development time we’ve managed to uncover how we will attempt these familiar traits of the genre, and maybe even evolve them a bit further with Source.
The world of Source, even in its earliest versions, has always been an alternate dimension full of life, energy, and bio luminescence. Early on we looked at ’80s computer graphic movies like Tron, deep sea marine life, and fine surreal art for influence. The reason for this eclectic mix of inspiration was to find the middle ground between the familiar and the unknown in order to help drive the exploratory nature of Source.
For instance, if everything looked realistic you would be able to take all the plants, trees, and creatures at face value, moving on without a second thought. By inventing all our own foliage and living creatures we’ve been able to make a very mysterious world, which allows the player to see through “infant eyes”; essentially seeing the world for the first time.
As the world started to form we began to arrive at our character, the firefly. This was born out of an idea I had while doing chores in the backyard. I saw a humming bird fly from flower to flower, and loved the elegance and tranquillity of the creature. At that moment I saw the entire game; how the ecosystem of Source would become an elaborate system of plants and creatures, and how all of these beings are tied together by this “pollination” or exchange of energy.
The way the character upgrades itself in Source is rooted in the genre of the Metroidvania; search the world for clues, discover a new energy source, and absorb the energy to become imbued with a new ability. These new abilities can be used to fly to new areas, be able to explore places that were previously poisonous to the character, or uncover a new kind of attack.
To evolve the system further, we simply looked to nature for inspiration. In fusing the hummingbird with the butterfly we were able to create a cocoon system that becomes imperative to your adventure. You’ll need to pollinate at least one cocoon while alive. When your character dies, your offspring will be born from that pollinated cocoon and will harness all of your character’s abilities. Sometimes, depending on how much experience your character had, the new offspring will have gone up a level and will be born with advanced strengths and abilities, essentially making the cycle of life a positive and necessary thing.
We feel the root of the adventure game is the story, and we want the story in Source to be truly memorable. The story is told around your character as the game progresses through the gameplay, not long winded cut scenes. It comes down to creating great moments throughout the game to achieve the highs and lows properly placed to achieve cinematic drama. Therefore we’re designing the story to be harmoniously fused with the level progression and the world’s layout.
A great Metroidvania is an experience where you go off on an amazing adventure. You may not know where you’re going, or who your friends are, but you have a purpose and a way of defending yourself. This is what we’re setting out to do with Source; except with a new kind of character set in an alternate dimension, inspired by life as we know it.
Feel free to hit us up with any thoughts, comments, or questions. We feel that Source is a very special game, and would like to get your input as we dive deeper into development.