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> Question about the setting
Beckett
post May 9 2011, 06:11 PM
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Hey guys, just completed Zeno Clash. First off, I tip my hat. I fell instantly in love with the setting, the atmosphere and the tone of the game. Those bizarre characters and surreal environments were basically the engine driving me forward.

However.

I just don't understand the nature of the animal-people in the setting. Are they different species, or is it just an artistic choice for the visuals? I mean. FM was stealing babies, fine. The thing is: if I grew up with a single parent who also happens to be half-bird, upon reaching puberty I would ask some questions. Like, say: "Dad/Mom, why the heck are you a half-bird, my brother is a...uh...bird-mole-...thing...and I'm human?"

See, for the most part of the game, I thought it was just a visual choice. Yeah, this is a setting in which a birdlike androgynous creature can spawn any kind of offspring. That's how Zenozoik works. Deal with it. It was part of the charm: after all, they call it "surrealism" for a reason. When I found out the truth, however, I felt a little disappointed. So FM stole human babies from humans, bird babies from bird people and so on. However, something still doesn't add up. The human mother near the coast just shrugs off the unusual fact that her baby has become a pig. Ok, maybe she's simply gone mad, but still, I had to ask. What are the relationships between the different...species (?) of the setting? Where do they come from? Zenozoik looks like a world cobbled together, pieces of it coming from different ages glued with spit and shaped into something new. It DOES have a past, I'm sure of it, I'd like to know more. It's a charming world, full of possibilities, a setting like I've never seen. It would be nice if it was explored more in depth.
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Edmundo Bordeu
post May 9 2011, 09:25 PM
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We had some discussions about how much we wanted to explain of the world, I think it can be good to let the player imagine how this strange setting came to be.

we havent even entirely agreed here about how the animal-people appeared... evolution? a few compatible hybrid experiments who eventually interbred? (I had one more unpleasant explanation too), but we decided explaining this was giving it more importance than it should have in the story. In any case it was something that happened in such a distant past for the people in Zenozoik, that it is not unusual or unnatural for them to see such a mix of intelligent creatures. People in Zenozoik cannot read or write, don't have a universal version or record of history (there was a more technologically advanced culture before, but they dont know anything about it) and they are likely to believe in 'magical' explanations for events.
I once read about a tribe (real world people, too bad I cannot remember their name) who thought Man was actually immortal, didn't die of 'natural causes', and only died because of curses, diseases or accidents... these kind of surprising facts of other cultures influenced how I imagined the world in the game...
If Zenozoik is such a different world from our own, I wanted it's peoples ideas to seem far-fetched for us too (though not irrational). I dont like it when in fictional worlds which are visually wildly different from our world, if you removed the visual differences you figure the characters could have come exactly from a western, the middle ages, or models of society similar to ours.

Hope I didnt digress too much.
And we do intend to explore the world more in the future! smile.gif
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Beckett
post May 10 2011, 08:34 AM
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Thank you for the answers and no, you didn't digress too much.

I like the fact that a fantasy world is, in fact, fantastic, something that we'll never be able to fully grasp. Like Borges' Tlon. We do understand, on a purely intellectual level, the motivations driving those people towards some acts rather than other, but on an emotional level, we don't really connect. And that's just fine. I agree with you, the problem with most fantasy is: without the armor and the magic wand, most of those characters could be your room mates and you'd get along just fine. Your choice is much more interesting.

On a related note, though, I doubt that every possibility your world offers could be explored in ZC2. This IS an indie game, after all. See, if you had the kind of budget Bioware spends for its boring, suit-and-tie-dressed, safe-income-granting elves and dwarves, you could do pretty much anything. But those things cost money you just don't have at your disposal and I'd be really disappointed in all the wasted potential.

So here's the thing: have you ever thought about expanding to other kinds of media? Books, webcomics, pen&paper role playing games? Not NOW, of course. But as a future investment?
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deloctyte
post May 10 2011, 10:58 AM
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While it's still quite a work in progress, and, as it is, at the moment, unofficial-ish (Ace was still kind enough to provide us a place on their wiki!) and fan-made, a Pen and Paper RPG IS on the way.

I know it's not the original writer's work, but, once the system is set, and has been tested to work, the actual world and races, etcetera can be added. And (And yes, I know I shouldn't start sentences with an And), while I guess the Bordeu brothers probably won't write these passages themselves due to lack of time and/or motivation and so on, I'm hoping that they will put us right if we, the fans, end up writing something really, really silly.

I know, I know, it's not what you're thinking about. You want official lore, the world expanded by these marvellous gentlemen, but it's the best I can give you so far short of writing/drawing fan-fiction, or trying to sign up to Ace to write tie-in novels.

By the way, that'd be awesome, but A.) I don't think they're looking for something like this as of yet, and B.) I don't have any previous credentials that I could shove in their faces to choose me to do it. Yet!

Anyways, that's me rambling, back on topic: I'm sure the Ace Team is quite focused on their projects, and that we'll get some epic Zenzoik adventures and stories in due time.

Until then, all we can do is drool on what tiny tidbits of news we have so far, and hope. smile.gif


--------------------
Random scribbler and dubious madman.
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Carlos Bordeu
post May 10 2011, 03:13 PM
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Expanding the ZC universe to other media could only be possible as long as the strength of the IP grows and the interest is enough that we collaborate with others who would want to make other types of media related to the ZC world.

We are a studio of game developers - not comic artists, film makers or novel writers. So it is natural that we will continue making games.

We did a very short webcomic for the promotion of Zeno Clash, and that wasn't done in-studio... it was done with someone external to our team who came here and coordinated with Edmundo. That's something rather small and I'm sure we can do more of that... but for bigger stuff we would probably need to coordinate with other companies / etc... and for they they have to have a strong interest.
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Pacal II
post May 7 2012, 10:28 AM
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QUOTE
we havent even entirely agreed here about how the animal-people appeared... evolution? a few compatible hybrid experiments who eventually interbred? (I had one more unpleasant explanation too), but we decided explaining this was giving it more importance than it should have in the story. In any case it was something that happened in such a distant past for the people in Zenozoik, that it is not unusual or unnatural for them to see such a mix of intelligent creatures. People in Zenozoik cannot read or write, don't have a universal version or record of history (there was a more technologically advanced culture before, but they dont know anything about it) and they are likely to believe in 'magical' explanations for events.
Could you perhaps tell us what was this unpleasent explanation? Unless of course in the end you plan to use it, or for other reasons can't tell.
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Carlos Bordeu
post May 7 2012, 11:31 PM
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QUOTE (Pacal II @ May 7 2012, 10:28 AM) *
Could you perhaps tell us what was this unpleasent explanation? Unless of course in the end you plan to use it, or for other reasons can't tell.


I think for other reasons Edmundo cannot tell, but it is nice to see some curiosity over the subject so long after the game's release. smile.gif

Anyways, we will tap into more details of the Zeno Clash world in the future (including this question), but for now you'll just have to wait.
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Pacal II
post May 8 2012, 06:29 AM
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Ok, I'd like to say that even in such a far away country like Poland, there are people who really admire the setting and the story you created. And we're all waiting for the next part!!
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Carlos Bordeu
post May 8 2012, 08:51 PM
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QUOTE (Pacal II @ May 8 2012, 06:29 AM) *
Ok, I'd like to say that even in such a far away country like Poland, there are people who really admire the setting and the story you created. And we're all waiting for the next part!!


That's awesome. I'm really glad to hear that people from so far away our interested in our game and rest assured that you will be getting more Zeno Clash.
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Pacal II
post May 10 2012, 08:28 PM
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I get it that all the mentality of the people of Zenozoik is quite different, but still. There were other groups in the city, where children were probably born from parents of the same race. So wouldn't they see that something is wrong if not the children of FM itself.

And also, are the mechanic, Pott, Onpa and the huge almost naked guy from the bar human or of a different race?
Right now I can see, that except for humans there are at least 3 other races: bird-people, rodent-people, elephant-people. Did I miss something?
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Andres Bordeu
post May 11 2012, 09:42 AM
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QUOTE (Pacal II @ May 10 2012, 08:28 PM) *
I get it that all the mentality of the people of Zenozoik is quite different, but still. There were other groups in the city, where children were probably born from parents of the same race. So wouldn't they see that something is wrong if not the children of FM itself.


The people in Halstedom, (and in Zenozoik) are generally ignorant, supersticious or simply indifferent. And given the great diversity of beings it would not come as a surprise to many people that Father-Mother was the actual parent of so many different children.

QUOTE (Pacal II @ May 10 2012, 08:28 PM) *
And also, are the mechanic, Pott, Onpa and the huge almost naked guy from the bar human or of a different race?
Right now I can see, that except for humans there are at least 3 other races: bird-people, rodent-people, elephant-people. Did I miss something?


In Zenozoik there is a mixture of races. That's why there's a big variety of characters. Onpa is perhaps 40% pig-man, 40% human, and 20% something else that we can't pinpoint. Pott may be a mixture of something else. Additionally, our animal humanoid characters are based on many prehistoric creatures (mostly mammal and bird predecessors, from the Cenozoic era or nearby eras). There's not a set of distinctive animal races like in traditional fantasy settings.
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