Saturday, March 23, 2013

A Choice: Lyn's Tale Revamped

As things stand, Elibian Nights is in its final stages of development. The Final Tale is actually complete; I could, in theory, just release the thing after tying together a few odds and ends.

However, it's never that easy in my world. Recently I undertook the task of revamping Lyn's tale. Just when I'm close enough to release the thing, I just have to add more things to my plate.

Here's a bit of backstory. Elibian Nights began as a partnership between myself and Nayr, a spriter in the community. The original release contained three tales: Eliwood's, Raven's, and Lyn's. Out of the original trio, Eliwood's and Raven's had been extensively revamped. Both had been rewritten almost entirely; Eliwood's got a new map with a revamped story, Raven's got an entirely new location and plot. It's almost baffling to me, in retrospect, that I preserved Lyn's tale for so long.

The original three tales were okay, I suppose, but certainly not up to my standards as a developer today. It's been over two years since I started working on Elibian Nights; it's been a journey, and my skills have developed immensely as I've worked on the project. Lyn's tale was drafted and outlined by me; actually, it's the first Elibian Nights tale that I actually outlined myself. For a first attempt, it went sorta decently I suppose. Looking back at the earlier incarnations of the original trio, it's pretty tempting for me to just call them "shit."

So now here we are, finally fixing Lyn's tale (it was long overdue). Let's take a look at the new tale, shall we? (If you want it to remain a surprise, you should probably just stop reading right now).

Obviously the writing was a major issue. The representation of Lyn's character was poor, and the plot in general was simply sub-par. However, it isn't just about glossing over the script. In revamping Lyn's tale, I wanted to make the experience more distinct; I wanted to add to the tale, not simply give it a fresh coat of paint.

Hey look, they can finally talk to each other!
One of the original tale's faults is that it left Lyn and Kent's relationship virtually unexplored. Kent talked to Sain and confirmed his secret feelings for Lyndis, but decided to let her go in order to see her happy. It's a noble move on Kent's part, but I wanted to make sure that in the revised Tale 2 that we gave Kent's relationship the attention it deserved. This is one of the major changes; I've added a "talk chain," a series of those 'Talk' events, one after another, that build on one another and develop the plot mid-chapter. There's already a similar chain in Tale 1x. This chain allows us to flesh out Lyn and Kent's relationship, but in a completely optional way.

For Lyn, this tale is a "turning the page" moment. She's been through much in the past four years: the massacre of the Lorca, her journey to Caelin, her quest with Eliwood, and the death of her grandfather. The essence of Lyn's new tale is making a choice: does Lyn return to Sacae in pursuit of a return to normality, or does she stay in Caelin, having found the "new life" she's been seeking in the aftermath of the massacre of her clan.

Looking back at the game, I wish I'd been doing more things like this all along. You can play the tale as it's always been played (except with a revamped script, because two-years-ago me was bad at writing), or you can do something different. If you complete the talk chain between Lyn, Kent and Sain, you'll alter the ending of the tale substantially. This sort of choice; alternate endings based on events, it's something I really would've liked to include in Elibian Nights. More interactivity, more options, more replayability. It's a bit late to do anything that dramatic to the entire game, but at least I can still pull it off in Lyn's tale.

It also lets me have a "route split"-esque thing in Elibian Nights. Not only are we altering the ending of the tale with that talk chain, we're unlocking an entirely new gaiden chapter! In the original, completing certain events will unlock Tale 2x, which focuses on events after Lyn's settled in the Kutolah clan. Now it's known as "Tale 2xa," and we've got "Tale 2xb" to go along with it, following up on the alternate ending. I'll have more information on 2xb coming soon, I hope you're all looking forward to an additional tale to play. Sorry for all the delays, but I hope you'll see these changes as worthwhile once you actually get to play the final product!


  1. we need to be able to select multiple options on the poll :P

  2. Hello,
    When will this update be available for download? I tried downloading the most recent UPS and the tale was the same (as far as I could tell). I tried activating the talk chain that you mentioned but the only conversation between Kent, Sain, and Lyn that I could trigger was the initial conversation between Kent and Sain that had been available previously.

  3. I LOVE this hack! Although i prefer Lyn-Hector, Lyn-Kent is fine, cuz Kent is a good pal :3. But the most important thing is that thanks to this hack, i can continue pursuing my dream, dream of Fire Emblem. You know, i have played this game since i was 12. 5 years, and FE has become an unreplaceable part of my life. Up until now, these memory are still vivid, like when my invincible Eliwood being one-round KO my guy (screw RNG and Guy' goddamn killing edge!). I even mourn for Ninian when she dies (and really, really happy when she is resurrected later). Anyway, keep up the great work, i have faith on you guys :).