Donna: Avenger of Blood Preview

Not so often do we see stories in AGS games written by… professional writers. Yes, such is the case here. I have no choice but to leave you into Goldmund’s hands of what he has written about his forthcoming game, “Donna: Avenger of blood”.

            My real name is Blazej Dzikowski, I’m a 28-year old Polish writer. I’ve published a novel, several short stories and a number of articles in various magazines. I’ve got a Master’s degree in English Philology at the department of American Literature and currently I study at the Culture Studies Institute of Warsaw University.

I strongly believe that computer games have artistic potential, a view I explained in my MA thesis, which is known to some of the AGS forums members.

Donna: Avenger of Blood is my own exercise in this field. I’m trying to make a game which provides something more than entertainment. Nevertheless, this is my first step in the game design, and now I can see that I was unable to escape several small trivialities and some things in my game remain conventional.

donna1.gif

I’ve tried to write a story that isn’t another variation on the immortal subjects like “obtain the ingredients for a spell” and “defeat the evil sorceror”.

Basically, it’s a modern political-metaphysical thriller.

The main character of the game, Donna, is a vampire. By this I’ve tried to make the player realize what it is like to be an outcast, somebody hunted and deemed to be evil. It’s not like in this “Angel” series, where the main character is a vampire, but a good one, protecting humans from evil vampires. There’s no black and white in this story – although the game is in grayscale.

The subject of vampirism also enabled me to dwell on the subject of death, of how humans try to face it, or escape it. This is a subject in which I’m very interested. Donna asked a vampire, named Christian, to make her immortal, because she was always scared of death. After that, she and Christian fell in love with each other.

 

Christian is a member of some kind of mysterious organization (something like more active freemasonry) that ordered him to come on a mission to a nameless country in middle Europe. The country is deep in financial depression, and this allows a party of extreme right-wing politicians, National Conservative Reneissance, to gain power. Of course, there is a secret behind this party. Common people look for causes of their poverty and, in the sad tradition, the answers are: Jews. Foreigners. Atheists. Homosexuals.

Donna and Christian come to the country’s capital and they check in first at a seedy motel, and later on in Eldorado Hotel, which is closer to the city centre. Christian carries on his mission never explaining to Donna what the nature of this quest is.

One early morning a group of armed men break into their room. They kill Christian and shoot Donna, who falls down from the window, completely naked.

This is where the game begins.

donna2.gif

After escaping the chase and finding a place to hide from the sun, Donna decides to go on a quest of revenge – hence the title of the game.

She will find little friendly people and many enemies. She will discover the nature of Christian’s quest and try to fulfill it. She will enter a love relationship with a female journalist, who is trying to alarm her countrymen of dirty games in the country’s politics. She will face the mystery of the shadowroom. And she will get to know why somebody ordered to have Christian – and her – killed.

Avenger of Blood is a historical term I found in the Bible. When somebody was killed, a person from his/her family set on a quest to revenge this death and kill the murderer. The simplest form of justice. An Avenger of Blood was, of course, allowed to kill the suspected person, even if the relative’s death was caused by accident. The only way that a killer could escape the revenge was to hide in one of Cities of Refuge.

Donna borrows from several historical sources. One is, of course, the Bible. The second is the history of Ahnenerbe, which was a division of SS in Nazi Germany, occupied with studying the occult – like germanic runes, legend of atlantis, secrets of blood heritage etc.

 

The graphics consists of retouched photographs. One may think that it’s too easy to import photos as backgrounds, but as it is maybe less time-consuming than drawing your own, it’s still quite hard: I have to edit them, include necessary objects. Most backgrounds are animated. My girlfriend, Dominika, who is a photographer, helps me a lot with graphics edition and she also draws character animation frames for the game.

As character portraits are also made of retouched photos, we have quite a famous cast in this game: Donna is played by Erin O’Connor, a famous English model; we have also appearances from Noam Chomsky, dr.John Lilly, Jean Baudrillard, Michel Foucault, and Franka Potente.

I make my own music, using a Yamaha CS1x synthesizer, some edited animal samples and distorted vocals. You can download some samples from my promotional thread at agsforums.

donna3.gif

Please also check the trailer, available at:

http://www.astercity.net/~zuletagu/blazed/donna-trailer.zip

The GUI is very simple: Lucasgames derivative point-and-click.

8 modes: walk, pick up, use (object from inventory on another object or on a hotspot), look, operate, talk, hit and bite.

You have 2 inventories: one is items, the second one (accessible by clicking the toggle button) takes you to the “skills inventory”, including vampiric skills: charm, listen, read mind, strength. Those use up your blood, so you have to refuel every now and then.

There are some other guis, for example a computer screen, or a subway map. Also, you have to type-in several things, such as passwords, or other keywords, at some points in the game. Dialogues – just your standard multiple choice fare.

Hm… I think that’s all… and I’m 90% sure that the game will be available in the second half of 2004.

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