Have you ever daydreamed about your own imaginary country? Those of us at Meraki Games have or else we wouldn’t be in the business we’re in! What kind of terrain would each country have, who would live there, what kind of government would rule? We had to answer these questions plus many more we’d never before imagined in the creation of our world of Zevestok for Pyrrhic Victory.
We knew what kind of game PV would be but before we could start the artwork or programming we had to develop all the details of the world. Kyle tasked each of us on the writing team to create two of our own countries. We had to think of the physical aspects like geography and climate. Next, we explored the people and their culture. We met numerous times over the last several months to reveal and discuss our new countries with each other as well as to fill the many holes. Finally, we had to come up with names for everything. That was probably the hardest task of them all!
We used a bit of experience with our own countries, to start, in helping to decide what the world would look like. Take Rupani for example. This was one my babies. I live in south-central United States so using that as an example was easy. Rupani is a diverse landmass ranging from deadly swamps to highly fertile plains, and finally, north to the colder territory of Ngahn Laahng. The mountains of Yao Feng Divide on the Eastern border of the country closely resemble the Rockies but with an Alps flair. This basically means they’re roughly the same altitude as the Rockies but match the Alps when it comes to the huge amounts of ice and snow.
One of the biggest questions was, obviously, what kind of people would live in each country? I imagined Rupani housing a small but sturdy and fierce race of people who respect their ancestors so much it’s as if they never died. As the running pattern here, and following the typical advice of start with what you know, I decided that each citizen would serve mandatory military service for a time. There is a bit of a twist though. When I say each citizen I mean both men and women. When it comes to government the idea of a king and queen with a democratic election process is fascinating. Granted, King would be title only whether a man or woman is elected. Yes, that means his or her spouse would be called Queen.
Once we decided on the basics of each country the Writing Team met each week for many, many months to discuss them with each other. The main reason was to hash out any missing details or fill holes that the country creator couldn’t see. And there were so many holes, which is why it took so many months to finalize the world! It did get frustrating at times, but I can honestly say that I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished through that hard work and look forward to releasing more World Tours with our trusty guide Tsai Shan, though his expertise may not be as profound in Slahor or Wajanderu. We shall soon see.
As you may have noticed most of our names for Rupani have a Cantonese background. Ahn Wuh, for example, translates to Eye Lake. Granted this may not be grammatically correct, for those of you who actually speak the language, but we took a bit of artistic license there. The same goes with Beih’go Bao. It indirectly translates to Nose Fort because, well, that peninsula looks a little like a nose. We had a bit of fun with that one. That is basically the theme throughout our naming process. Each country has a base language we modelled their speech after. We used English to name everything and artistically translated into our choice dialect. Not only did we have fun naming things, but it also helped us learn a few words here and there in different languages.
When we first started creating Zevestok I thought it would be the easiest part of creating Pyrrhic Victory. Was I wrong or what! It has been the lengthiest part of the game development to date, but the details of what we’ve created is fairly epic.