Welcome back to our Roots of Innocence series of articles, where we’re unveiling more details and info about the making of A Plague Tale: Innocence, Asobo Studio’s upcoming adventure game, coming 2019 to PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.
A Plague Tale: Innocence sees our two heroes, Hugo and Amicia, fleeing the Inquisition through the hostile French Aquitaine countryside, surrounded by dangers. Today, we’re taking a look at the background work by our team to ensure the game is grounded in an authentic medieval setting - discover the way of life in this period, and how we represent it within our story.
Amicia and Hugo are of noble lineage, the De Rune family, whose heirs have both privilege and duty. In the fourteenth century in France, the feudal order still had the power to govern people. This means the Central Power is linked with the relationships between lords, serfs and peasants. Each lord owes protection to their people, in exchange of various services, such as land cultivation, sending men to war, tax, drudgery, and so on.
Amicia and Hugo are born to the highest level of society, Bellatores (nobles, those who fight - prince, lord and knight), and are spared from the tasks typically expected of other social classes - Laboratores (peasants) and Oratores (churches). They have the privilege of better education than other children their age, but are still vulnerable to the hardships they encounter.
In 1348, 90% of the population belonged to Laboratores. This class lived in extreme poverty. Their shelters, made of stone or mud, often covered with thatched roof and dirt floor, were basic and offered little protection. In comparison, the lords’ castle residences had extraordinary strength and strategic locations, which allowed them to avoid enemy attacks and protection from forces of nature. Thanks to the remaining traces in the South-West of France, we visited many architectural inspirations that allowed us to create the environments through which Amicia and Hugo wander during their adventure.
These living conditions, in addition to food frugality and periods of shortage, contributed to the short life expectancy of Laboratores. It was rare that a peasant lived beyond the age of 40 years. The concept of age in the medieval period is quite different from nowadays. The fourteen-year-old girl, Amicia, like all the other girls of her age and often from the age of twelve, is already considered as adult. The reason why she can escape from her duty is her strong character and her father, Robert’s patience which spares her from marriage until now.
Her higher social class also allows her to educate herself. In the medieval period, people from noble families tended to make use of nannies, servants, but also preceptors to refine their offspring’s education. Most knowledge was held by the Church. Some natural phenomena were even ‘discovered’ by monks, such as rainbows and rising water, with a ‘scientific’ definition. Nevertheless, the clergy chose to keep these ‘discoveries’ secret due to the fear of losing their influence.
It is in this complex and highly codified world that Hugo and Amicia must move forward at all costs, between responsibilities given by their social class and their desire to survive. Still, they must be careful not to lose each other.
See you soon for more information and exclusive anecdotes about the creative process behind A Plague Tale: Innocence!