A Plague Tale: Innocence
|A Plague Tale: Innocence|
|Publisher(s)||Focus Home Interactive|
|Release||May 14, 2019|
|Genre(s)||Action-adventure, stealth, survival horror|
A Plague Tale: Innocence is an action-adventure horror stealth game developed by Asobo Studio and published by Focus Home Interactive. It was released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in May 2019, and received generally positive reviews from critics.
In A Plague Tale: Innocence, the player assumes control of Amicia de Rune from a third-person perspective. For the majority of the game, players need to utilize stealth to avoid hostile encounters, as enemies will kill Amicia instantly if they catch her. Amicia is equipped with a sling that can throw rocks to break chains, create distractions, or stun guards long enough for the rats to ambush them; she can kill them with a headshot. Her sling also has the ability to throw many other things, some of which can start fires, put out fires, and attract rats to a certain location. The game consists of a series of survival puzzles, mostly of methods to scare away or distract the hordes of hungry rats in order to gain access to new areas or direct them towards enemies. The primary method of warding rats off is fire, as they will seldom enter within a radius of burning torches and braziers. Amicia can craft special ammunition and supplies, which include fire-starting sulfur stones that ignite braziers, stink bombs that attract rats, or fire suppressants to extinguish torches carried by enemies. Amicia's younger brother, Hugo, can be directed towards specific tasks when Amicia is busy. However, this is risky, as Hugo will start to panic if left alone and can attract unwanted attention. Later in the game, the player can assume control of Hugo, who cannot craft items but can control rats and sneak through small spaces. All these abilities are combined when the siblings unite in the late game to survive and beat the inquisition.
In late 1348, Amicia de Rune is a young girl of noble descent who lives with her family in Aquitaine, which has been invaded by the English Army during the Hundred Years' War. Her younger brother Hugo has been ill since birth; their mother, Beatrice, an alchemist, has locked him away in the family estate for years while trying to devise a cure. While hunting with her father Robert in the forest, Amicia encounters signs of blight, and her dog Lion is gruesomely consumed by an unseen entity. Inquisition troops led by Lord Nicholas arrive at the de Rune estate in search of Hugo, executing Robert and several servants. Beatrice helps her children escape and instructs Amicia to take Hugo to his doctor Laurentius, before the Inquisition apparently kills Beatrice. The children flee to a village, where they learn that hordes of ravenous rats have been spreading the black plague (known as the Bite) and devouring anything they come across.
Evading hostile villagers—who blame travelers for the plague—and Inquisition soldiers, Amicia and Hugo reach Laurentius's farm and find him bedridden after being bitten by a rat. Laurentius implores Amicia to finish her mother's work. Amicia and Hugo flee the rats with his apprentice Lucas to seek the hidden Château d'Ombrage, which once belonged to the de Rune family. As they evade the rats and invading English soldiers, Lucas explains that Hugo's blood carries a supernatural evil called the Prima Macula, which has lain dormant within certain noble bloodlines since the Plague of Justinian. Beatrice and Laurentius had been trying to find an elixir that would mitigate Hugo's symptoms, while Vitalis Benevent, the Grand Inquisitor seeks Hugo for the Macula. Hugo and Amicia are briefly captured, but escape with the help of sibling thieves Melie and Arthur; Arthur is captured as the others escape to Château d'Ombrage.
Lucas needs a forbidden book called the Sanguinis Itinera to complete the elixir that may help Hugo. Amicia infiltrates the university near Vitalis' Bastion (the Inquisition's headquarters, in a cathedral) to retrieve the book while Melie rescues Arthur. Amicia recovers the book and meets a young blacksmith named Rodric, who helps her escape. Arthur heard while imprisoned that Beatrice de Rune is in the Inquisition's custody. Amicia insists they not tell Hugo but he overhears the conversation, and his condition deteriorates. Amicia and Lucas return to the de Rune estate, looking for Beatrice's research. In a hidden laboratory in nearby Roman ruins they complete the elixir, and administer it to Hugo to alleviate his symptoms. Angry at his sister for not telling him the truth, Hugo runs away to the Inquisition to find Beatrice. Vitalis injects himself with Hugo's blood so that he can possess the power of the Macula, but Lucas's elixir has delayed its development.
Hugo escapes custody and finds Beatrice. Before their recapture, she reveals that the Macula gives him the power to control the rats. Vitalis wants the same power; defying church orders to stop, he tells his men that he wants to control the rats to end the plague, which will give Vitalis great political power. He threatens Beatrice's life to force Hugo's powers to fully awaken. Château d'Ombrage is attacked by a swarm of rats led by Lord Nicholas and Hugo, still angry at Amicia. Nicholas kills Arthur and orders Hugo to kill Amicia, but she reconciles with Hugo, and they work together to overwhelm Nicholas with the rats. With the Château no longer safe, the children decide that with the power of the rats, they can take the fight to the Inquisition and rescue Beatrice.
Rodric sacrifices himself to allow the others to reach the Bastion. Vitalis awaits their arrival, having bred thousands of white rats that only he can control. Vitalis and Hugo use their powers to send hordes of rats at each other until Amicia is able to kill Vitalis with her sling. Three days later, both the rats and the plague have disappeared and life begins to return to normal, although many remain wary of Hugo and his power including Melie, who leaves. Amicia, Hugo, Lucas, and an ailing Beatrice leave in search of a new home.
The game's development was led by Asobo Studio. It is their first original title since the team created the racing game Fuel (2009), and the company wanted to create a narrative-driven experience inspired by The Last of Us and Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. The main theme of A Plague Tale: Innocence is "family" and how the characters' relationships are challenged during adverse circumstances. Another important theme is "innocence". Hugo, in particular, will observe the player character's behaviors and slowly transform from an innocent boy to a ruthless individual. Child actors Charlotte McBurney and Logan Hannan provided their voice for Amicia and Hugo respectively. The two also participated in the writing process by suggesting changes to dialogue and alternative takes. Up to 5,000 rats can appear on-screen simultaneously. To ensure the game can handle rendering so many enemies without sacrificing performance, the team introduced four layers of details when rendering the rats, in which rats furthest away from the player character exist as a "background, non-animated mesh", whereas the rats closest to the player are animated in detail.
Publisher Focus Home Interactive announced the game in January 2017 as The Plague. A first look game trailer appeared at E3 2017. The game was released worldwide for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on May 14, 2019.
The "Coats of Arms" DLC is available for all the three platforms, and came bundled with the pre-order version of the game. It adds three alternate skins for Amicia and Hugo's outfits and coats of arms. The additional content is cosmetic in nature.
According to review aggregator Metacritic, the game received "generally favorable reviews" from critics. It was the ninth best-selling retail game in the UK in its week of release. In July 2020, Focus Home announced that the game had sold more than 1 million copies.
|2019||2019 Golden Joystick Awards||Best Audio||Nominated|||
|Titanium Awards||Game of the Year||Nominated|||
|Best Game Design||Nominated|
|Best Narrative Design||Nominated|
|Best Adventure Game||Nominated|
|The Game Awards 2019||Best Narrative||Nominated|||
|Steam Awards||Outstanding Story-Rich Game||Won|||
|2020||New York Game Awards||Big Apple Award for Best Game of the Year||Nominated|||
|Off Broadway Award for Best Indie Game||Nominated|
|Herman Melville Award for Best Writing||Nominated|
|NAVGTR Awards||Animation, Artistic||Nominated|||
|Art Direction, Period Influence||Won|
|Camera Direction in a Game Engine||Nominated|
|Control Design, 3D||Nominated|
|Direction in a Game Cinema||Nominated|
|Gameplay Design, New IP||Nominated|
|Game, Original Adventure||Won|
|Original Dramatic Score, New IP||Nominated|
|Performance in a Drama, Lead (Charlotte McBurney)||Won|
|Performance in a Drama, Supporting (Edan Hayhurst)||Nominated|
|Performance in a Drama, Supporting (Tabitha Rubens)||Nominated|
|Sound Editing in a Game Cinema||Nominated|
|Use of Sound, New IP||Nominated|
|Writing in a Drama||Won|
|Pégases Awards 2020||Best Game||Won|||
|Best Artistic Design||Won|
|Best Sound Design||Won|
|Best Narrative Design||Nominated|
|Best Game Design||Won|
|Best Game Setting||Won|
|SXSW Gaming Awards||Excellence in Narrative||Nominated|||
|16th British Academy Games Awards||Technical Achievement||Nominated|||
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