Introducing The Little Vikings!
I’ve been silent for a while, due to being in Tenerife. The holiday was excellent, a welcome break and time to recharge the batteries. Saw some great wildlife and went up a mountain to check out a volcano. You know, everyday stuff.
However, what I’m really pleased about, is the news I’ve been sitting on since this time last year!
I’ve hinted a few times that I’ve been working on a new games writing project, one that I couldn’t fully discuss due to a non-disclosure agreement. That game is now in public beta and I’m free to spread the word (and if you want to spread it too, that would be excellent!)
The Little Vikings!
Yes, I’ve been squirrelling away my free hours to work on The Little Vikings for an emerging games platform called Hooqt.
I’m hugely proud of this work, which adds a social style game to my roster. It hasn’t been easy to find the time but the work has been interesting and challenging. The game is based on the typical model for web-based games; collecting resources, building defences, defeating monsters and so on. There are a few little treats hidden away for keen explorers and one day there should be PvP.
The Little Vikings are, as you can imagine, a clan of Vikings who inhabit a slightly cuter, nicer version of our world- there’s a cartoon, casual vibe to the game, as opposed to pillage and slaughter. The player initially has Olaf or Inga, with more unlocked via the in-game shop.
Olaf I particularly like because while he’s brave and keen, he’s also a tad hapless. He’s all enthusiasm, while his level-headed counterpart Inga has the combat skills. I imagine her having to save him repeatedly from well-intentioned scrapes. By the way, you can click these screenshots for em-bigger-ment.
The background story of the game is my invention and a key part of my contribution. It’s simple and quick as per this type of game and was built around the existing notion of an island at sea which has mystical properties and is visited by Little Vikings and the Gods of Asgard.
So, short version: some seeds fell loose from the World Tree (known to some as Yggdrasil) and landed in the oceans of our world. Why? How? We aren’t telling, yet. Suffice to say that these seeds are very powerful and have massive growth potential, being from the tree that holds up the known universe. Where they land, entire islands spring into existence. Odin, concerned, sends the Little Vikings to the islands to check it out. You step in as a sort of trainee God, managing one of these islands for Odin.
There are wrinkles: the island is covered in an unnatural fog that even Odin can’t see through, there is some kind of Corruption killing the trees and creating monsters, plus the Gods don’t have their full powers while visiting the island! In fact, visitors from Asgard will run away from the monsters- they can’t risk being killed or captured, so it’s down to your Little Vikings to make the island habitable and discover what mysteries lie at its heart.
That’s the gist! I won’t tell you who’s behind all this, but of course, Loki makes an early appearance. The Gods in this game have the same cartoonish treatment as the Little Vikings, but you can expect to see the usual roster along with a few extras. We have Thor, Tyr, Frigg, Loki, Balder and more making appearances. Freya is in charge of the Diamond Shop (for real money transactions) and Odin the Item Shop (for buying stuff for the island). Both Frigg and Freya, you ask? Yes, they’re taking on their separate roles for this game, Freya as the mother of the Gods and Frigg as the young girlfriend! Odin, you old dog.
I think my favourite is probably Thor, because in making him cartoonish, we could make his dialogue funny. He’s kind of mighty but dim and talks like a Viking off the TV, with lots of references to beards and honour and mead.
So, what was my role? I was supporting the designer, David, by writing quests, dialogues, item descriptions, achievements and so on. The game needed a lot of quests, given to the player by the Gods. For example, Thor gets cursed by Loki and needs the player to defeat some of Loki’s monsters to try to break the curse. You talk to Thor, get the job, then go hunting for monster Rats and Goblins and so on. David and I had to come up with these quests and write dialogue boxes for them (e.g. “Please help! My treacherous brother Loki put a curse on me! I think that he’s connected to the monsters. Defeat some and it may weaken the curse!”
In addition to that, I was writing dialogues that the player sees if they click Gods or Vikings, changing at various points in the game. These are a bit more free-form, from jokes “When you click me, it tickles!” to game advice “Build walls around your settlement to keep monsters out!” to character building “My father was a village leader so I’m used to taking orders. One day I’d like to give orders too!”
Then, there’s the aforementioned background story and various bits of copywriting for the website. Long story short, I’m really proud of this work, which is more complex than my last game writing gig and has provided a fantastic insight into the production of a web-based game. There’s so much work, it’s unreal. In fact, there’s plenty more to do on my end too. Little Vikings always want more quests to do! Here I am on the staff page:
If you want to have a go on the game, simply follow this link.
You can also find Hooqt and The Little Vikings on Facebook here.
Naturally I’ll be posting about it occasionally now that it’s public. Remember that it’s a Beta and feedback is important- if I’ve typo’d, or your character explodes, let us know. If you enjoy it, please share the game on your own Facebook or Twitter!
Thanks for being patient, folks. I’ve even managed to complete Dark Souls 1 and 2, which was an equally hard-fought achievement. Next job… more fiction!