“The Q’taxians” as a Video Game?

Seems like a weirdly random topic, but for me it’s actually quite related to “The Q’taxians” as a project.

Video games have played a very important role in my life. Without them, I know I wouldn’t be here today. At least in as sound of mind as I am. I could go into how video games quite literally saved my life, but that’s for another post.

From the beginning, I knew I wanted it to be multimedia in nature. The idea was to write a script and pitch it around, but the paranoia of losing control of my IP kinda squashed that. So I bought a bunch of books on Unity and decided I’d become a one-man production team to create an interactive rendition of my story. Needless to say, that didn’t work out, but that didn’t mean I had thoroughly thought out what a game version of “The Q’taxians” would look like.

The following is a not-entirely-thorough explanation of my impression of “The Q’taxians” as a video game.

Plot

If you’re reading the story, it’d basically be the same with some adjustments to allow a translation to an interactive platform.

The Void goes from mortal world to mortal world, slowly corrupting all life and ultimately destroying it. No one could ever stand in its way until a dying god and the mortal he inexplicably became tied to decided enough was enough.

Sylus and Qaitax stand as the great unifiers or destroyers of all mortal kind in the face of the invading force of the Void.

The core plot would be the same as the web series, but with branching paths based on dialog and active decisions. There would be a set number of endings all of which would be canon as “The Q’taxians” subscribes to the multiverse theory.

Progression

There would be multiple installments of the game, be they separate games or DLC, I never really thought about that. There’d always be decisions to make and influence to either gain or loose and those choices would carry over between games. At first they’d be small, seemingly silly things, but the deeper into the game you went, the more they’d matter.

There’d also be a two pronged influence system (ala Mass Effect once more). You can either lean towards defending mortals or fighting for the Void. Choices that influence these leanings would not be made clear. Players would have to think about responses and consider what they themselves would say without knowing the consequences.

The game would have multiple endings:

  • Successfully defeat the Void and save mortals the multiverse over
  • Defeat the Void at a very high price
  • Fail to defeat the Void and perish
  • Become a Tendril of Father either by choice or by allowing Qaitax’s “Call” meter to fill and destroying mortal forces
  • Go rogue and destroy all life. Mortal and Void alike.

It’d follow the overarching plot of engaging with other Voidlords to either garner their favor or their ire. Who sides with you in the end would matter.

Game Play

Early on, you’d be playing as Sylus. It’d follow a very linear path to get to the point where you join with Qaitax.

Once Sylus and Qaitax unified, the player would take control of a single character that contains two entities. Players would be able to swap seamlessly between the consciousnesses with little penalties. There’d be no outright cooldown so much as a “recharge” meter. If you did something intensive with one entity, you can put it to the back so it’ll recharge faster. You can swap between them at any time, just take into consideration how strong they are. Sylus would, by default, recharge faster and have more ways to recharge than Qaitax who would only be able to recoup his strength by not being in control or eating lesser spawns.

Sylus would remain the primary player character, with Qaitax available whenever the player would want to use him.

There would be two or three factions depending on the route you take. The two defaults are “Q’taxians” and “Humans”. Neither are against each other, but one is an agent of chaos while the other is an agent of desperation. The third faction, if engaged, would be the Void itself.

Sylus has some influence over humans and is mostly chaotic neutral caring little for their plight, but cares very deeply for his make-shift family who are mostly human. Sylus has minimal influence over Q’taxians. They’ll listen to him, but hold him in contempt as a god-killer.

Qaitax has a very large influence over Q’taxians. They worship him as a god and he can regain control over them over time. Qaitax has ZERO influence over humans outside of “The Family”.

Depending on who’s in control going into certain situations, will determine how the different factions react. These reactions are permanent responses that carry throughout the game. Qaitax can fuel the Q’taxian’s zealotry (intentionally or not) while Sylus can manipulate humans into either falling prey to complacency or turning them into a force of destruction unlike anything the Void has ever seen.

You can alienate “The Family” or make an enemy of the “Q’taxians”. No one is blindly loyal to anyone.

Character Traits

As mentioned, Sylus and Qaitax share a body, but are very different beings.

The game would have a set number of attribute points only gained by progressing the plot.

Say there are 20 total. That’s the maximum amount of points you can share between Sylus and Qaitax.

Their attributes would be something like the following:

Sylus would have base stats in intelligence, logic, magic, charisma

Qaitax would have base states in brute force, intimidation, manipulation

Sylus would have something called a “Worry” meter. This would fill the longer he was away from his family or the longer he went without calling them. Calling would have less effect on reducing the meter than returning to the Diner.

If members of the “Family” were in the party, Sylus would go into “Defend” mode wherein he’d constantly take a percentage of any damage taken by Family members. This can be mitigated by attribute points. Family members would have specialized skills that would be very useful in certain situations. Going without them can sometimes be harder than absorbing their damage taken.

If one of the Family were to fall in combat, Sylus would become “Unhinged”. His attacks and movement would become erratic and very difficult to control. Players would have the option to either spec into Sylus’ Self-Control which wouldn’t prevent him from devolving into a fury, but it would allow players more control over his actions.

Qaitax would have a sub mechanic tied to nightmares/dreams. If Qaitax is taken down the “evil” path, players would tap into his nightmare ability to forcibly control and/or weaken friendly NPCs. These can be both humans and Q’taxians. These can include Sylus’ family. Opting for a more positive run, Qaitax can use his dream ability to strengthen or actively buff friendly NPCs.

Qaitax would also have a “Call” passive. The “Call” would be a meter that constantly rises at varying degrees. It goes up faster the more he’s in control. It represents the pull of Father and the Void. Sylus can mitigate it to an extent if he’s specced to take on some of the Call’s influence. If the meter fills, Qaitax will ignore Sylus and return to the Void. Sylus will no longer be accessible as an active character though depending on Sylus’ alignment toward the decision, he may still be used to talk Qaitax into defecting back to earth again. If Sylus himself is disaffected as well, they become a unified Tendril of Father and the game goes down a very dark destructive path.

Character Abilities

At the start of the game, Sylus has no abilities. It’d virtually be a walking simulator with conversation choices.

Once Sylus and Qaitax join, they have the same base powers. Tentacles to serve as melee and “lightning” to serve as ranged.

Depending on how you spend your attribute points, you can buff the characters thereby either directly buffing their specialty, or somehow supporting the other entity’s abilities.

Sylus would develop “healing” and the ability to either halt or reduce Qaitax’s “Call” meter.

Qaitax can learn to buff themselves by devouring spawns. Qaitax cannot influence Sylus’ “Worry” meter.

HUD

Minimalist approach. Only “Worry” and “Call” meters would always be present as well as a “Recharge” indicator telling players how strong each character is at the moment.

In combat, ability bars and a thematic, but minimalist, reticle for aiming would show up.

Progression

Overall, stripped down to its core, “The Q’taxians” would have branching paths. Q’taxians, Humans, Void… Dark influence, positive influence… Dialog options players won’t readily understand the consequences of…

Every action, down to entering certain dialog sequences with the “wrong” entity up front (the entity the NPC isn’t looking to speak to), will influence the progression of the game.

Co-Op

As of right now, as much as I’d like to incorporate a co-op element, I’m not sure it’s possible. There is cannonically a point where Sylus and Qaitax separate becoming two individual bodies, but during this time, they’d have a “Merge” ability and a “Titan” system would be implemented.

This part is going to contain a lot of spoilers, but if Co-Op were to be implemented, the two players would probably be Sylus/Qaitax and Jeron/Pets. Jeron has the ability to melodically control spawns. Depending on the spawn, they could become permanent allies or fodder for Qaitax’s hunger. Nine would not be subject to this influence and would only be available if Daniel was in the group.

This is very speculative and I’m not even sure I should consider a Co-Op route, but I personally very much enjoy being able to play with friends and family and at the heart of “The Q’taxians” is a tale of family bonds.

Sound

Sound design would be a mix of orchestral and electronic. Techno swing is a favorite genre of mine, but I’m not sure it’d fit.

I’ve always fancied Erik McClure’s music, but if you’ve ever heard Bastion or Starbound, that’s more the direction I’d go. A more subtle blur between classical and electronic with a horror/mildly uncomfortable overtone.

I was recently admiring the sound design of the Dark Souls games in that no matter how “Safe” or “Good” something is (like a heal spell) nothing sounds overly happy or positive. It all has this drab, but not uninteresting vibe.

I would LOVE voice acting, but I know that can be prohibitively expensive. I even have some specific actors in mind.

Aesthetic

So how would it all look? What would be the graphic approach?

Let’s start with the basic. It would be a third person over the shoulder action game.

The overarching theme would be fairly dark, but not ugly. The influence of the Void and Mist lead to a very different representation of earth. Carnivorous plants, tendril grass… But everything is stained purple. This could be played down to avoid an overly monotonous atmosphere.

The Mist would always be present as sort of swirling flecks of light around any NPC or player movement.

The HUD & menus would have an eldritch/tentacle themed design.

I decided from the start that if The Q’taxians ever had a visual incarnation, it would be via a relatively high-production-value anime.

As a video game? Semi-realistic but maintaining a stylized almost somewhat cartoony appearance? Not like Borderlands with it’s comic-style outlines, but not as realistic as Modern Combat.

Saints Row-ish maybe? *deep think*

Platforms

ALL!

But that wouldn’t really be up to me.

AAA or Indie?

Indie. Definitely indie or small development/publishing group.

AAA has long lost their dignity and I’d rather turn out a low-budget production that closely resembles my impression of the story than have it be a sterilized, overly market safe, watered down, uninteresting, blur of a high budget game being washed out by all the rest.

Intellectual Property Rights

Ideally, I’d remain in control of The Q’taxians IP. I know this isn’t how the world works, but I’d want sole creative control and should the project fail, I’d want to retain control outside any development company or publisher. Again, I know this really isn’t how the world works, but these would be my ideal terms and, to be honest, I know no one would agree to them which is why the idea of The Q’taxians being a video game will forever be just that: An idea.

Conclusion

Now that you’ve read to the end of this pretentious creative drivel, I thank you for taking the time to entertain this little journey.

As I mentioned, I’m well aware that my covetous nature toward “The Q’taxians” as my IP will forever truly prevent any high profile media production, but I always like entertaining the idea!

What are your thoughts? Would you play something like this? Do you have any suggestions? As this is all a work of speculation, all conversations are theoretical only, but I’m always open to a discussion!

Thank you again for following me on this little adventure and stay tuned for more of “The Q’taxians” web series!

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