Saturday, March 23, 2013

Efta: The Last Morph

If it isn't apparent by now, I kind of have a certain fondness for unused beta tidbits. I find it absolutely fascinating to know what developers were planning, and I think it's really cool to see all of the discarded ideas. So, as a person developing a game, I enjoy sharing my unused concepts and releasing those development stories. To celebrate the reconstruction of Pent's Tale (complete with a new map, courtesy of Feaw), I figured I'd release the unused concept that was supposed to end Pent's Tale: Efta.

(Note: I posted this a while ago on Fire Emblem Cafe, which was supposed to make this blog obsolete. It didn't, and so I'm just reposting this entry so that we have the complete "development diary" thing going on).

Efta, given the nature of Elibian Nights, is one of the few unused characters that was conceptualized for the project. The character's name comes from an unused text entry in FE7, the name of a suspected unused boss. When commenting on the unused content, VincentASM remarked that it "sounds like a Morph's name." Efta was supposed to be a playable morph; at the end of Pent's Tale, at Renault's burial, Pent was to hear a rustling bush. Investigating, he found a young morph created in the likeness of a child, somewhat resembling Nergal himself. Pent took Efta, a lost child, back with him to Reglay. Efta was supposed to have a central role in Pent's second tale.

I salvaged an unused ending to Tale 4 back from when Efta was planned. Give it a read if you care to.

The Efta character was conceptualized to advance an intended plotline for Pent. In the original drafts, Pent's second tale was radically different. Rather than the thwarting of an assassination plot, the tale was planned to be more focused on Pent's role as a father. The tale would take place five years after the first; Klein, now eight years old, has displayed no signs of any magical talent. Clarine, five years old, has shown an affinity for healing magic, but not much else. Pent, desiring to be able to pass his life's work onto one of his children, develops a strong bond with Efta. He tutors Efta for hours each day, forgetting to spend time with Klein and Clarine. Pent's neglect of his actual children creates a disturbance within the family, and Klein, trying to prove his worth to his father, picks up his mother's bow and signs up to be a combatant in an arena. Pent, who was taking his family to witness the sport alongside other Etrurian nobles, is shocked to see lions unleashed upon his eight-year-old son. Fortunately, Dieck is there to protect the young Klein, saving the child's life. This event, however, throws the Reglay family into chaos. Pent's disconnect with his family becomes clear, and sends Lord Pent into a period of depression, stewing over his failure as a father.

This was intended to be the setup for the tale, which would, as in the final version, feature an assassination attempt on the Reglay family. The impending danger snaps Pent out of his depression, and forces him to fight for his family's survival. In the chapter's ending, the leader of the assassins would have captured both Klein (a weak NPC you had to protect) and Efta. Forced to choose between his son and his successor, Pent sacrifices his legacy to save Klein's. The Reglays' family life is not only mended, it continues on, better than ever before. Pent has a strong bout of character development, from a man focused purely on scholarship to a man who realizes that he must balance family life with his academia.

The Elibian Nights version of a family drama!

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