Random thoughts and bits of life of a coffee loving artist

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Art of Gaming: Vigil: Blood Bitterness

It has been quite some time since I've added to my Art of Gaming segment, to which I apologize. Today seems to be a lesson that patience is a virtue. As many of you may have read in my Art of Gaming – Segment Update, with the lack of responses I had been dealing with from busy developers I had been considering the option of writing up the reviews with or with out developer feedback on what their inspirations were for the art styles of their games. It is still something that I'm thinking of doing and later including any insights as I receive them. Something to think about in the future but for today, let me proceed as I have before. Back in late December, I had come across a game by a rather dark title and an equally bold art style. So what exactly was the inspiration for Vigil: Blood Bitterness?

Originally release for PC in June 2007, Vigil: Blood Bitterness was a creation from the minds at Freegamer which includes France based Dehongames Studio. Advertised as an RPG indie game, the description states that the game “plunges you into the dark and disturbing story of an ancient civilization where you must reveal the secrets of your past and exact revenge on the Evil destroying your universe. Ritualistic killings and blood lust blur the line between your own kind and the Evil you seek to annihilate”. Now I was wondering how it looked so I went to watch the trailer in hopes to figure out a bit more.

Click picture to be linked to trailer for Vigil: Blood Bitterness

When I watched this strange bit of footage, the first thing that I noted was that the title was originally Victi which is Latin with multiple meanings ranging from conquered to survived. In itself, the original title makes sense when paired up with the description of the story line. The second thing that I noticed was the trailer being voiced and subtitled in French. It is a little off putting for those who are English speaking since it's difficult to figure out what the narrator is saying but at the end of the day, it would appear that if you get the game there is the option for English. Thirdly, and the main reason why this game caught my attention, was the style. Bold and perhaps a bit jarring, there was something about the visuals that reminded me of Aeon Flux (1991). It is perhaps due to the strong lines, over exaggeration of forms, and the camera angles that made me reminiscence about the now cult classic animated movie. There was a part in the trailer that also blended some black and white footage of someone's hands which reminded me of the use of actual film footage in the animated movie Wizards (1977). Now I truly was puzzled as to what the actual sources of inspiration were for this game. 

After sending out my inquiry to Freegamer back in late December 2012, I waited. It wasn't long before I had forgotten that I even sent them an email asking them of their inspiration for the game. So it came as quite a surprise to me when this morning nestled in the inbox of my email was a message from Manuel of Dehongames Studio. At first I was wracking my brain trying to think of who this person was. Obviously I had sent them a message but for what reason? It took me a moment to realize that the gentleman was responding to my question. Perhaps it was due to the language barrier between English and French that caused the delay in responses. Maybe they were backed up on messages and it took them that long to respond. Who knows, but his simple message was short and to the point: 

sin city
star wars


page from 'Sin City'
An interesting combination, in retrospect, which makes the visuals in the trailer make more sense in my mind. Sin City (1991-1992) was originally a graphic novel series from the mind of Frank Miller (1957 - ) and later turned into a movie in 2005 by Quentin Tarantino (1963 - ). Known for its mono-toned with the occasional splash color design style, it is easy to see how the developers did their best to mimic the classic series. Star Wars (1977 - ) however is a little bit of a surprising bit of inspiration material but when I thought about it, I can see how perhaps the story theme and even the concept of the antagonist could have been drawn from Darth Vader and the goals of the Empire. Manuel later adds that the story for the game was inspired by an unfinished short story called The Burrow by Franz Kafka (1883 - 1924). The story was rumored to actually have an ending but it was destroyed along with other works of his by his lover after his death. 

If you're interested in playing Vigil: Blood Bitterness, you can find it here: 
store.steampowered.com - Vigil: Blood Bitterness 
(Part of the Puzzle Indie Pack which includes: Gumboy -Crazy Adventures, Vigil: Blood Bitterness, Obulis, Chains) $9.99

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