Director Yoko Taro Brings, SINoALICE, a Dark Fairy Tale

Famous for directing “Nier: Automata,” Yoko Taro is coming out with another mind-blowing action game, called “SINoALICE”. It is a dark fantasy game which takes its cue from fairy tales. The game will be available on iOS and Android phones.

Dark Fairy Tale

The game is set in a location called ‘The Library’ where hundreds of ‘souls’ have lost their ‘character’ in books and stories. The game is inspired by fairy tales and calls upon famous story-book characters like Little Red Riding Hood and Alice from the wonderland fighting and wielding swords to kill off monsters so that they can ‘save their author’.

Fairy Tale characters seem like an odd choice

Although the set-up is intriguing and mystifying, the reason that Taro chose fairy-tale characters is that there was no copyright issue with using them. He said, there’s no cost involved since the copyright has expired. All it took was a Wikipedia search to reach this conclusion. “What a convenient world we live in,” He said.

Gameplay

“SINoALICE” will be a collaboration of Square Enix and a new Japanese mobile game studio Pokelabo. The game was launched in Japan in 2017, but it will only be accessible to other parts of the world after the release as a free-to-play game on iOS as well as Android. There’s a wide range of characters and gear available only if you play regularly and indulge in simple real-time battles. Daily check-ins and premium currencies are there as well to capture rewards and progress.

Taro’s writing separates “SINoALICE” from every other mobile game. Artist Jino does the detailed character designs provided while Keiichi Okabe who also composed the soundtrack of “Nier: Automata” comes back for this.

Character Insight

Since it is a dark fantasy-themed game, every character represents some aspect of darkness. For instance, Alice represents “bondage”, and Sleeping Beauty represents “languor”. They even have a multi-chapter story narrative arc you’ve got to get through.  You slowly uncover that each of the weapons has its own lore.

Since everybody already carries an image of these characters in their minds, it was way easier for Taro to come up with their features and characteristics in the game. There is no need to give people a backstory to the characters or explain their appearances. Everyone knows the Little Red Riding Hood always wears a hood.

So, Taro was asked about the difficulty he faced to create something different from the millions of different versions these characters have had over the years. He said that it isn’t freshness that poses a problem. You can show Sleeping beauty spewing out a “venomous projectile vomit”, it’d be new for the people. What poses a challenge is giving them a touch of their old self so they aren’t separated from the original version so much that it cannot be marketed well.

A much more comprehensive form of entertainment

As per Pokelabo producer Shogo Maeda, mobile games are becoming more and more comprehensive forms of entertainment year after year. When SINoAlice was launched in Japan, the makers realized the outside videos, created for platforms like YouTube create a lot of cache for the game among fans and players.

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