My extract is from a book called Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn.
It is the first in a series of five books set in feudal Japan, at a time when countries were split by warlords and their clans and you were either born into royalty or poverty.
The book is split in two throughout showing the story from Otori Takeo's and Lady Shirakawa Kaede's eyes. The game level will have you control the main character, Takeo on his final quest of the book.
He has just been captured by a group of ninjas called the Kikuta who rightfully own him as he was born with their supernatural skills. However, his new friend in the Kikuta, Yuki, has just told him some bad news about his adopted father, Lord Otori Shigeru. Shigeru has been captured by his sworn enemy, Lord Iida, tortured and strung up on the castle walls waiting to die. Takeo propositions the Kikuta master and promises to leave his warrior life and serve the Kikuta if he is allowed to go and rescue Shigeru that night. The Kikuta master agrees and Yuki and Kenji, Takeo's teacher and Shigeru’s friend, agree to go with him.
- Use weapons
- Special attack when close to enemies
- It will be an open world RPG game, similar to the Elder Scrolls games although it is set in feudal Japan.
- It will have similar gameplay elements though the player will also be able to use and upgrade their Kikuta skills.
- Second-self (the player appears at another point in the room, leaving the image of himself behind, confusing the enemy)
- Acute hearing (the player can point out the amount of enemies/people in buildings and where they are, they can also over hear conversations)
- So the Kikuta skills won’t be abused and make the game easy, there will be a bar (like a stamina/magic bar) that the player will use up, which will fill again slowly.
- There are many times throughout the book where the main character comes across a large floor space that sings like a nightingale when walked on. These are installed in castles so if there was an intruder, the guards would hear the floor sing and come out from their hiding places. In the book, Takeo amazes his mentors and adopted father by studying the floor in his household and learning where the cracks in the floor are so he can walk over it silently. In my game level, there will be a nightingale floor protecting the residence of the castle. As the player approaches it, it will trigger a small puzzle the player must solve in order to get across it without being heard.
For my level design, I will be using text from Chapters 11, 12 and 13. This is a brief summary of what happens in the text I have used. Full extracts from Chapters 11 and 13 are in a separate document.
Chapter 11 starts at page 231, but my extract starts at page 242 as this is where the main conversations of the quest start and the player finds out what he is about to do. Yuki brings him Shigeru’s loyal, powerful sword called Jato and gives him the bad news of his whereabouts.
The first half of the quest takes part in this chapter where Takeo needs to bring down Shigeru from the castle walls by sneaking through the town and into the castle. After rescuing him and getting him safely back to the moat, Shigeru is weak and coughing blood so he asks Takeo to kill him and take his head to the temple at Terayama. He also asks him to take Iida's head to him at the temple.
Chapter 12 begins at page 259 but I am only using a small amount of text (pages 263-266) as this is a chapter told from Kaede’s view. It mainly focuses on the end of the chapter where Lord Iida tries to rape Kaede. Kaede stabs him in the eye with a very sharp needle hidden in her sleeve, as he screams and covers his eye, she then takes his sword and kills him.
Chapter 13 starts at page 267 with the book ending at 292. My extract ends early at around page 280. In this chapter, Kenji and Takeo go back in to the castle after cutting off Shigeru's head and giving it to Yuki to take to the temple. Takeo overhears a conversation between two guards placed outside Kaede's room with Shizuka, Kaede's maid/friend. She is also from Kikuta and is Kenji's niece. One of the guards goes in to the guardroom where Takeo and Kenji wait for him and kill him. They reach Shizuka as she goes to fetch wine and she tells them Iida is with Kaede in her room.
At this point you must tactically cross the nightingale floor without making it sound in order to reach Kaede's room. As you go in a cutscene begins. Kaede jumps up with her sword ready while Iida is slumped on the floor dead. Takeo and Kaede are finally alone together and enjoy passionate sex as they know they won't be disturbed till dawn. After, Takeo cuts off Iida's head, wraps it in a robe and goes out of the room leaving the head with Kaede. He deliberately steps on the nightingale floor making it sing and alerting the other guard, Abe. Takeo fights Abe as guards come pouring into the residence and women wake up and try to run out of the residence, as it catches fire from Abe's dropped torch. After lots of fighting with Kenji, Shizuka and Kaede by your side, you manage to escape the castle with Iida's head. They get in to a boat by the moat and get in.
My extract ends here as from now, they make their way to the temple. The Kikuta master and Kenji then come and collect Takeo from the temple and give their respects to Lord Shigeru who after death, became a god who was worshipped by many people all over the Three Countries.