Welcome back to our devblog series where we unveil a wealth of details about the making of A Plague Tale: Innocence, Asobo Studio’s upcoming adventure game coming 2019 to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Today, we’re excited to continue to share more info about a “protagonist" that you will have to face in our game: The Inquisition!
Let’s welcome our Game Director Kevin Choteau who will continue our discussion about the creation of the Inquisition in A Plague Tale: Innocence, starting with Narrative Designer Sébastien Renard last week.
The Inquisition, a Perfect Antagonist
The Inquisition seemed like a logical choice for an antagonist once we decided on setting the story during the Great Plague. We were also aware of the already existing mythology surrounding them. There’s a wide set of narratives (such as witch hunts and burnings at the stake) depicting them as the bad guys. Their disproportionately threatening presence beside two children made them a natural choice as an antagonist.
What was also interesting about this time period for us was that by then the Inquisition was almost at an end, as a result of the general and gradual decay of organized institutions. Everything was falling to pieces. Some factions of the Inquisition were deeply aware of it as they desperately tried to hold on to their power. In A Plague Tale, we meet a stronger Inquisition led by the Great Inquisitor Vitalis. Actively looking for a way to end the plague, Vitalis is also hunting Amicia and Hugo for unknown reasons.
Creating an original Inquisition for A Plague Tale: Innocence
It was quite tricky to research the Inquisition since there aren’t a lot of sources documenting their armed forces. You will find way more information on the Crusades than on the Inquisition, so we supplemented the already existing imagery around the Inquisition with our research into the Crusades and knights from the era. This melting pot of influences results in knights wearing bulky and very heavy armour. This directly influenced our gameplay as the Inquisition members are not as nimble as Amicia and Hugo, and can have trouble catching them. This aspect of gameplay directly helps Amicia and the player.
One of the coolest aspects about developing the Inquisition was creating great contrasts within the Inquisition. They project a confident and strong image, yet when the rats threaten them, even the most charismatic Inquisition members can succumb to terror. As soon as they notice the rodents, they lose all their charm.
The Inquisition has its own ways of fighting off the rats. The story is set only a few months after the beginning of the pandemic. At this point the Inquisition is trying to resist its spread the best it can since it hasn’t found the a great solution yet. The guards add spikes to their leg guards to stop the rats from climbing them, and safe spaces are created by lighting torches near their chariots. All the while, their alchemists work on developing new tools to make the Inquisition stronger than the rats.
A villain out of a tale: The Big Bad Inquisition
A Plague Tale is not a historical game, so don’t expect to see historical figures. As you have probably gathered by now, while A Plague Tale gets a lot of inspiration from real life, it is a fictional tale at heart.
The Inquisition that was present in Bordeaux at the time isn’t remembered as very violent or even aggressive. Once we noticed that Bordeaux didn’t suffer a lot from the Inquisition’s presence, we got turned to the English and the Spanish Inquisition for inspiration, due to their far more brutal ways.
We also pondered how to present religion since the Inquisition is historically linked to it. It does come up in the game since we wanted to portray how the Pope and the Church react to the excesses of the Inquisition and the Great Inquisitor Vitalis himself. After all, at the time, several Inquisition members were excommunicated because they went too far. But history isn’t what we want to recreate through our game: it’s only a setting.
See you soon for more behind-the-scenes information and anecdotes about the creative process behind A Plague Tale: Innocence!
A Plague Tale: Innocence releases May 14th on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.