Warhorn is a Viking-themed multiplayer-only 1st person arena combat game. Or, as its dev team Mega Mage Games affectionately describes it: Viking Counter-Strike.
Mega Mage Games pays a lot of attention to aesthetic details, which is what piqued my interest for the project. They want to keep it historically plausible as well, meaning that false Viking clichés are avoided. In other words: you won’t find any horned helmets in Warhorn.
Because the game desires to remain authentic and historically plausible, the game’s story and narrative needs to echo the values and realities of the Viking age. I was brought on board because of my cultural knowledge of the Norsemen and my linguistic skill in their ancient tongue.
My role in this project:
I was granted a lot of creative freedom, and since I designed the story during the early stages of the game’s development, the story and game play/goals could be properly intertwined. My responsibilities included the following:
I was asked to write the background story for the game. This primarily meant that I had to write a conflict, one so complex and long that it couldn’t be resolved by the players’ actions (or the game would end). Drawing from historical conflicts, I created a story that would explain why there are two factions, comprised of comparable peoples and warriors, at war with each other.
Acting as catalysts for the conflict, I created a great number of unique characters, each with a motivation and interest in the conflict. Some seek to end it; some hope to prolong the war. These characters will occasionally pop up in maps, game modes and lore descriptions, and every type of player should be able to find his/her role model in of the story’s characters.
Because we want the game to feel authentic, I was tasked with translating character, item and location names into Old Norse, as well as create Old Norse battle cries and lyrics. It was my responsibility to make it semantically and grammatically sound, so that the curious player should be able to translate the texts back to his mother tongue.
I was allowed to design the narrative structure of the game as I saw fit. This means that the story isn’t told through cutscenes and walls of texts, but instead as a history: players will find traces of the past in every nook and cranny of the game (world), but will be required to reassemble a truth by themselves.