Freja and the False Prophecy

Hello Make Games SA!

We'd like to introduce you to what we've been working on for the last few months, the first game from Cape Town based Unsigned Double Collective, Freja and the False Prophecy!

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Freja and the False Prophecy is a 2D action adventure platformer set in the world of Norse mythology. Taking inspiration from the likes of Ori and the Blind Forest, Hollow Knight, Dead Cells and Salt and Sanctuary we are working to create a game that fuses exploration and a well crafted story with fluid movement and combat mechanics, all delivered in a rich and beautiful art style. A challenging undertaking for a small indie team, but if Freja is up to the task of waging war with the gods, then so are we!

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Salesman pitch aside, we're really happy to be able to share our work with other South African developers and if anyone has any questions or feedback we would love to hear it. We're currently in the process of putting the pieces together for a full length trailer in support of a Kickstarter campaign that we plan on launching in the next couple of months. We're also all doing this part time at the moment, our backgrounds in related fields (commercial and film animation, vfx, software development and IT), but this is our first full length game and a real labour of love for the team. We look forward to sharing this journey with the greater community here and hopefully grow together as artists, developers and people with a passion for games!

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We'd love to also keep you updated and in our inner circle via our website newsletter which can be subscribed to at:
thefrejagame.com/

Or follow us on social:
Facebook: https://facebook.com/thefrejagame/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheFrejaGame
Instagram: @thefrejagame

Thanks!
-Frank and the team at Unsigned Double Collective

Comments

  • Some more artwork and animation from the game:

    Our lead lady, Freja, bounding across the screen

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    Freja attacks!

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    A nasty Troll

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    A ferocious Warg

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    Angrboda, Mother of Monsters, and Skoll

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    Original artwork by @niminy

    Stay tuned for more updates!
  • The art's quite beautiful with its hand-drawn feel. I think that aesthetically comparisons with The Banner Saga are inevitable, both games having hand-drawn, Norse-mythology visuals, and TBS having been funded by a Kickstarter campaign too. The comparison's not necessarily a bad thing (it might serve players who want The Banner Saga, but as a platformer?), but I imagine you'd want that comparison to be as favourable as you can get it.

    I'd be wary of mixing in anything resembling a photo-texture, unless the texture resembles paper, or something that'd emphasise the hand-drawn feeling. In particular, bits of the environment, especially the mountains, look photo-bashed and rushed, and don't match the character work. The lava level has these great, strong lines from the lava that alleviate the photo-bashed look. (TBS has detailed, painted backgrounds with cel-shaded characters, but they make up for the disconnect by offering value in characters that are animated frame-by-frame. I think viewers/players are used to seeing this after decades of 2D animation employing this.)

    Both Freja's and the troll's poses make their weapons feel like they're weightless. The debris from the falling rocks also feel weightless, although the explosions of dust look nice. The jump also looks a bit floaty to me, but maybe it feels right when you're playing it. It might help if the first frame of the jump was immediately the anticipation pose (it'd snap, but it might feel good), and she recovered from the landing pose to the standing one more quickly.

    Lastly, you've got a lot of detail going on for characters that seem to be really small in the shot of the gameplay. I'd strongly recommend that you put early versions of characters into the game asap to avoid putting loads of time and work into things you barely see.
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    @Elyaradine Thanks for the detailed and thoughtful feedback, much appreciated! The Banner Saga is definitely one we're looking at in terms of comparisons both in theme and art style. Basing our game in the established world and well known characters of Norse mythology gives us a great basis to work on, but also an opportunity to give our own spin to a familiar theme and setting. As to your points on art and animation weighting, will definitely consider them, it's early days and we look forward to iterating and refining. I'm at work now, but will update this thread with some gameplay videos that may give a better sense of how the characters sit in the world and gameplay context. Thanks again and have a great day! :)
  • This looks great :) Will follow your developments on twitter!
    Thanked by 1gl1tchy
  • With the disclaimer that this is all early work in progress, with many a kink to iron out, here's a few gameplay and environment clips:





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  • Troll combat: that first hit is completely untelegraphed and completely surprising. The second hit was also lightning fast. Both felt impossibly unfair.

    Double jump - every single jump seems to be a double jump....... What then is the point of normal jump?
  • Love the parrallax layers in those environments! The cave environment and the snowy forest both look really great!

    The troll seems like a rad enemy. The effect of his size being so much bigger than the player is really good, and I think fits with the Norse mood.

    Like @Tuism said, the poke attack (the second attack in the video) seems to come a bit out of nowhere. Though I think the big swing (the first attack) is pretty good in terms of timing/warning.

    I feel like there's an opportunity with this sort of enemy to make the players jump to deal damage, and then for the troll to have some kind of air attack response.

    I mean, hitting the trolls feet seems like it wouldn't ever kill him (though maybe cripple him). Maybe there's some strategic choices you can add there (like crippling his legs first, or avoiding the legs and focusing on the face).
    Thanked by 1gl1tchy
  • Thanks @EvanGreenwood, really appreciate the kind words! And I think you're on to something with the Troll comment, could definitely make him more interesting having attacks and defences on different height levels.

    @Tuism, Double jumps are pretty much a staple for the genre and there many ways we might approach it (stamina based, save the mechanic for later on in the game, etc...) . There will be environmental and combat situation where both the standard jump or double jump are called for.
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    @gl1tchy Really like where this is going. I like Freya's "floaty" animation and environment looks awesome. I will also be following your development on twitter ;)

    Just a random idea around the 'giant-slaying' aspect: you could have creatures that are so big they go off-screen, which you have to climb/jump up to defeat...
    Thanked by 1gl1tchy
  • Thanks @jamotaylor! Well, one of the 9 realms Freja's journey will take her is the Land of Giants, so without giving anything away let's just say we're with you there! ;)
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    Like @Tuism said, the poke attack (the second attack in the video) seems to come a bit out of nowhere. Though I think the big swing (the first attack) is pretty good in terms of timing/warning.
    Yeah the troll's first attack, where you can see the lift and the drop, is good. And wasn't what I was talking about.

    The first hit I was talking about was when the player character got hit for the first time - you can hear the sound happening, and if you pause at the right time you can see the player flash red. The player character was right by the troll. That's the first hit I was talking about.

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  • gl1tchy said:
    @Tuism, Double jumps are pretty much a staple for the genre and there many ways we might approach it (stamina based, save the mechanic for later on in the game, etc...) . There will be environmental and combat situation where both the standard jump or double jump are called for.
    Yeah I'm not saying to not use double jump, I'm saying if all jumps must be double jumps to play the game (as is what I'm seeing in the videos so far), then that means the normal jump is redundant. I couldn't feedback on what I couldn't see. So if there are more stuff to be added, cool :)
  • @Tuism thanks for clearing up your feedback, I was also a bit confused and thought you meant the Troll's initial strike. Yeah like I said, kinks to iron out. Appreciate the feedback!
  • fantastic!!
    Thanked by 1gl1tchy
  • Lovely work, keep up the updates!
    Thanked by 1gl1tchy
  • Thanks guys! If you want to keep up with the progress best place is definitely Twitter (@TheFrejaGame) or our newsletter (www.thefrejagame.com).

    Here's one more quick video where Freja finds herself washed up on a beach after a brutal battle at sea...

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    The beach environment, with the dead whale, looks great.

    Are you intending it being so long before finding another living thing? Like after the battle and shipwreck Freja has to run for a while before finding other life?

    I realize this might be just an environment test... but if you want that mood to really land maybe you could work on another walk animation for Freja where she looks more desperate. I mean if the actual distance were shorter, but Freja is limping along, it might feel more like the aftermath of a battle and the desolate beach more inhospitable.

    I appreciate it when the pace of a game occasionally slows down and you're encouraged to watch the environment and anticipate what's coming next. I think an empty scene now and then can provide great opportunities for world building. Though in this current video Freja looks really healthy and energetic (like she just ate a bowl of Frosties and is working off the calories), and this seems to undermine the intriguing narrative you've described.
    Thanked by 1gl1tchy
  • Haha @EvanGreenWood, love the 'bowl of Frosties' description! But yeah, some great points there. For now this is more of an environment test. We're very early in this process, looking at a roughly two year development, and for now our concentration is building basic systems, look development, basic animation and enemy builds, all towards a trailer and Kickstarter campaign that outlines our intentions and gives a glimpse of where we heading with it. The kind of nuanced and circumstantial thing you're describing will definitely come into play as we further flesh it out. Thanks all the same, it's so valuable having outside opinions to draw from and bounce off!
  • Here's our cinematic teaser trailer, a small taste of what to expect from the game's cinematics. Full length trailer and crowdfunding campaign coming soon!

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    Looks really rad! Love the slow motion scene with Freja in it in particular.

    I know you're still working on more to show for your Kickstarter. But as it stands it's quite unclear what threat the eyes in the black shapes are. We see Freja on her own and the eyes on their own, but I don't really know what scale they are, or what the black shapes are capable of.

    Given that I know there are big enemies in Freja, I feel a bit disappointed with the point the scene cuts off. I want to see the monsters and Freja together.

    Here's a cutscene from a trailer that is burnt in my mind (one of the trailers from Force Unleashed 2). Never played the game, but for me anyway this is the scene that all other slow motion monster encounters compete with.

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    Another way to make them scary is to have Freja be in a scene where she's wounded. I love a protagonist that fights on after being hurt, it's about as badass as it gets (I watched Kill Bill 1 again last week, and fight scenes like the final fight in Rob Roy always stuck out for me).

    Hellblade does a lot to show how tough Senua is in their trailer, just by showing that she isn't going to make it through the story unscathed:

    I don't know if this is the gritty tone you want for Freja though? I think it's the slightly sad look in Freja's expression that makes me feel she fits into a harrowing story with high stakes, rather than a hyper-competent fun romp.
  • Thanks Evan! 'Harrowing with high stakes' is definitely the tone we're after. Our main aim with this one was as a teaser which is why we cut where we did... build up the tension of an encounter and then leave the audience wanting more. The fact that you're left wanting to see Freja and the Monsters was kind of our goal, but if you think that's not effective I'd be interested to hear? Thanks for the Force Unleashed reference. As for Senua, definitely an inspiration... I'm actually busy playing it in VR and wow, what an emotional rollercoaster and intensely well crafted experience!

    Thanks again, really appreciated!!
  • Just to add, along with gameplay, we are planning to have a more resolved and narrative driven cinematic part to our full trailer.
  • This is pretty. Came across it somewhere on twitter. Glad to see it's from SA.
  • Art looks great. Will check it out!
    Thanked by 1gl1tchy
  • We updated our teaser trailer! Shout out to @EvanGreenwood for your feedback in shaping this new version :)

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