Upcoming action adventure game Mages of Mystralia stars an “unlikely” female protagonist as well as gameplay inspired by The Legend of Zelda, developer Borealys Games reveals. Borealys also reveals how the game’s spellcasting system “drastically” changed over the course of development.
Earlier this year we crowned Mages of Mystralia as one of our 20 games with female protagonists to look forward to in 2017.
Mages of Mystralia‘s Female Protagonist and Zelda Inspiration
In Mages of Mystralia, players take on the role of a girl named Zia who “discovers that she has been born with an innate sense of magic.” With magic banned in this fantasy world, Zia is forced into “exile” as she learns to control her magic powers, discovers all kinds of powerful spells and go on a grand adventure.
In an email, game director Patric Mondou tells me that Zia was designed to be “righteous,” around the “unlikely hero archetype” as the developer wanted “the exact opposite of the typical “courageous knight,” so that the players could go ahead and aspire to become that themselves. Not with muscles, but with their wits.” Not only does this allow for “deep character development” but it also lets players feel that Zia’s origin story could be theirs too (“if they lived in a fantasy world that is.”)
Mondou also revealed why Mages of Mystralia has a female protagonist specifically, as opposed to choosing a young male lead like in Harry Potter, a series which “certainly tainted some aspects of [the game’s] story.” The game director says that:
“Zia being a girl had a very symbolic meaning in the story. Mystralia’s distant past is filled with stories of Mage-Kings (mages being of noble blood). Magic is banned now, but with Zia becoming a mage, we’re able to hint at an important change of era in Mystralia, with the new generation of mages clearly contrasting with the old, patriarchal one.”
The decision to feature a female lead could potentially make the game a hit then with those disappointed that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild chose not to star a female protagonist, despite the developers having considered it. Mages of Mystralia is somewhat inspired by the Zelda franchise after all.
Mondou explains that “when we received our initial funding and got to make an actual game out of it, we immediately thought of metroidvania and Zelda games” and that “Action-adventure games like these are the perfect reference for teaching new mechanics and features, at many points across the full game.”
The game director specifically points to Mages of Mystralia‘s spellcrafting gameplay as an area that has benefited from this. Looking at classic action adventure titles helped the team to “mimic that character progression philosophy and make sure that players in Mages feel just as comfortable using new runes and features.”
The team felt that the spellcrafting feature, which allows players to create millions of spells, would have had “too steep of a learning curve” otherwise. Though, Mondou tells me that Borealys “drastically” changed the feature during development, including redefining what runes were and how much they could affect a spell as well as “making [the spellcrafting system] easier to learn and harder to master.”
With the game being fully playable and having almost completed development, Mages of Mystralia has already received a hugely positive response from those who’ve played at events like PAX East. Though all players will soon have a chance to form their own opinions on the game and see if those changes are for the better as it is set to launch in the next few months.
Mages of Mystralia will be released on PC, PS4 and Xbox One in Q2 2017. Borealys Games is currently hosting a Kickstarter campaign to give the game some “extra polish.”