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Ways of Darkness, the RPG Maker 2003 game was the first attempt to make a direct video game adaptation of the forum-based original by Zsolt Tóth, and meant to be the spiritual successor of Alternate World, another FRPG adaptation by the same creator.
The project was ultimately a failure, never finished, therefore never released either. Nevertheless, it is still notable as Zsolt Tóth's first attempt at trying to expand the Ways of Darkness franchise beyond it's forum origins.
The unfinished game is now downloadable on github.
Around 831 AEKE, a knight named Dermaglen was assigned to investigate a cave near a village. Villagers have been reported missing, and the authorities believed that it was the work of bandits. After single-handedly eliminating a whole squad of bandits in the process of fighting his way to the aforementioned cave, he finds a large amount of corpses both near the cave and inside the cave.
In the cave however, Dermaglen encounters a surprise - a vampire. After a fight, the vampire overpowers Dermaglen and turns him into a vampire.
The same night, Stephanus, Gnarog, Nemezish, Ildor and Ladislaus were were drinking in the tavern in Talon. Gnarog makes his stance known that he is not yet ready to live a settled life, and that he wants to continue going on adventuring again, he "wants to save the world again" (making non-canon references to Alternate World's plot), provoking the dismay of Nemezish who wants to live a settled and married life with Gnarog, and Dermaglen who is fine with the current status quo. Ildor agrees with Gnarog, Stephanus calls Ildor a coward, and amidst all the arguing, Maria Couroughis appears, asking the heroes to save her sister.
An unspecified time later, the player character wakes up at the same tavern, and depending on his class, receives a quest to investigate a house in the Forest of Hate, north of Talon from either a high-ranking member to Knights of the Blood Red Light or the mayor of Talon.
The player character encounters Ignatius, the game's main antagonist during the investigation, and is put to a 3-day coma, found by the Gnarog, Nemezish and Ildor. The quest to find the truth starts, the team reunites with Stephanus, who is given the mission to track down a vampire in the Forest of Hate who may or may not not be working for Ignatius. It is the same vampire who turned Dermaglen.
After some puzzle-solving and and fighting, the team - player character, Stephanus, Gnarog, Nemezish - finally comfort the vampire and defeat him. Meanwhile, Ildor and Ladislaus were defending Talon from an attack by skeletons sent by an unknown person. The two teams reunite again, eat at Maria's house to celebrate and Gnarog announces that he will have the vampire's mansion re-furnished and make it his home.
After the dinner, the whole team goes to sleep, but the player character - who cannot sleep - goes up to the street, only to encounter a merchant being ambushed by a mute female swordsman. After the two fight off five mercenaries, the main character goes back to sleep, and the next day, he encounters the now-vampire Dermaglen - who is revealed to be working for Ignatius - during his/her way to the mansion. Dermaglen attempts to turn the player to the dark side, but the player character refuses.
After the fight, the player character is wounded, found by Stephanus, Nemezish and Gnarog and brought to the mansion. The same day, Ignatius visits the player character in his/her dream.
Being an RPG Maker game means that it could only mimic the various features of the forum-based original, and many original features were cut out - skills and attributes gone completely, only 4 playable races out of the original 20. In sharp contrast with the original's freeform system, the game introduced various restraints that are more characteristical of JRPGs and early WRPGs.
Nevertheless, the game does have various unique aspects that set it apart from other RPG Maker-made games. The game featured a hunger-thirst-sleep system, forcing the player to buy food and water to survive, and sleep regularly to avoid collapse. This is reinforced by the day-night transition system, encouraging the player to sleep at night as most buildings in civilized areas are closed at night (although certain areas are only accessible during the night).
Playable Races Edit
Playable Classes Edit
- Necromancer (not available at character creation, only via turning to the Dark Side)
- Death Knight (not available at character creation, only via turning to the Dark Side)
Voice acting Edit
The game is unique by featuring voice acting - a rare feat for RPG Maker games.
- Zsolt Tóth as Stephanus Tavilrond, Dermaglen, unnamed vampire, "narrator"
- SammyMcJack as Gnarog Dougfral
- Mercédesz Emese Lubi as Nemezish
- Exylis as Morthen Orden'Ath Ildor
- Mattias Steisner as Ladislaus Dominus
- Chris Poier as the mayor of Talon and various guards
- Sierraphantom as Maria Couroughis
- Danger-Wasp as unnamed minotaur
- Ignacy Przybylski as Ignatius
- Jacob Schwarz as shopkeeper, alchemist, farmer and blacksmith
- Chibikid as various child characters
Development History Edit
Ways of Darkness may have been the very first attempt to make a direct adaptation of the original forum-based game, but it was not the first time the creator Zsolt Tóth included the world of Artograch a game.
Alternate World had an arc that was set in Artograch, and even had Stephanus Tavilrond as a party member. However, unlike the following games, it did not focus on Artograch, and was largerly non-canon, off-lore.
Before Ways of Darkness, another cancelled project, Emergence of Darkness was in production in the March of 2012, although it was cancelled very soon. Just like Ways of Darkness, Emergence of Darkness was also meant to include voice acting, character creation, day-night transition system, and was also meant to be set in the world of Artograch. Originally, the game was meant to be set in an unspecified period, not necessarily 831 AEKE.
The project was scrapped less than a month later, but a lot of its resources were recycled during the work in Ways of Darkness.
Work on Ways of Darkness began on the July of 2012. At first, there was quite a hype, especially from voice actors, and work was being done with enthousiasim.
However, by late August, the creator has gotten into problems writing the plot. Unable to advance with the plot and losing morale, work has gotten slow and more sluggish, and Zsolt decided to focus on gameplay elements instead of the plot itself. By the October of 2012, work has largely stopped, and by November, the project was officially declared dead.
However, it was not the last time we would hear from Ways of Darkness in RPG Maker - Zsolt would make an attempt to revive the project in 2013.