FFL marathon

Three games, three days of doodling.

The Final Fantasy Legend games (aka SaGa 1-3) are perhaps not very well known. I'm not sure if they even came out in Europe. The first one was released 1989 in Japan for the GameBoy. The game mechanics are different in each game, but the general idea of the games is that you can play many different kinds of characters. This includes the monsters that you fight (and eat), robots, cybogs, espers and humans.

Because the games are kind of abstract, they can do a bunch of stuff without having to think about art assets. The DS remakes of SaGa seem to have... limited themselves a bit because they had to show the player characters during combat.

For a FFL project, I'd like to see starter characters like:

  • Beast: Human or intelligent humanoid (e.g. Griffon, Lizardman) which can buy/find and equip swords, armour and stuff. Perhaps the armour needs to be "fitted" by a smith to explain anatomical differences, if that sort of immersion is important.
  • Virus: An entity which can take over robotic bodies (replacing the robots from FFL2). Perhaps the various models have different upgrade options (power cores, shields, whatever).
  • Tamer: Can control up to three captured monsters of a certain power-level at a time. (replacing mighty morphing meat eaters from the FFL games).

I'd totally play a party of 4 skeletons, because I like skeletons. You couldn't do that in the FFL games because the monsters had to keep morphing since they couldn't be level'd.

Slightly related, somewhat recent, WIP.

Zelda 2 roughs

I'm mostly doing pencil and Photoshop roughs these days. The wrists get a little better each week, overall, but there are ups and downs because I insist on trying to work or surf.

Here's a few Zelda 2 redesigns that I've been noodling on the last few days. I'm not sure what to think of the game. As a kid I thought it was a bit strange, but I played it anyways. It felt like a chore to play through, because it was more linear, but the combat was sometimes enjoyable.

A top down game like Zelda 1 has a symmetry to the up-down and left-right directions, but in a sidescroller you have gravity linked to up-down so combat and navigation is quite different. The Darknuts... sorry, Ironknuckles were both fun and frustrating to fight.

Anyways, I decided to draw some Zelda 2 creatures because I hadn't done that in years. A lot of the monsters are sort of based on the ones in Zelda 1, and since I like that game more, I used the designs from it where possible. The Zelda games change the story, style and monster designs a lot in every game (and the manuals have their own style too), so I decided to just use the sprites from the original games as a base.

The story never sat well with me, so I decided to rewrite it. Hyrule almost has a garden-like terrain in the first game, and there are these strange rocks and statues standing around in formations. The dungeons feel technological and otherworldly with their smooth clean walls, though that was changed in BS Zelda and later games. I hadn't heard of Lovecraft in the 80's, but that's sort of the feel that I got. What strange ancient race had built the dungeons, and perhaps even the overworld? The Great Race of Yith? The Elder things? The... Like-Likes (whom have since then regressed)? Something I'd like to play around with.

As for the gameplay, I always wanted to make an isometric "topdown" version of Zelda 1, but since this is a Zelda 2 project, It'd have to be a sidescroller with a topdown worldmap. I wonder how that would play if combined with Roguelike? It's sort of unusual to see, and I like unusual.

So, a random world map, with palaces/dungeons, towns and NPCs who generate quests (e.g. a fetch quest NPC would create a cave/dungeon on the world map and toss a kidnapped kid into it). The dungeons should probably be generated from finished rooms though, to ensure enemy placement is fun and suitably challenging.

The weapons, armour, spells and items could be random, and before you drink that potion, you might want to identify it...

And then there's permadeath.

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