Developer Blog: What is Ashes of Oahu?
This is the first in our series of developer blogs leading up to the release of Ashes of Oahu. Before we start to deep-dive into systems or any other specific topics we thought we would get things rolling by taking on the challenge of answering the question, what exactly is Ashes of Oahu?
Many action, adventure, and fantasy role-playing games are steeped in fictional history drawn from Western or European influences. We here at Wyrmbyte decided to do something a bit different with Ashes of Oahu.
As a small team, there are currently only five of us, we made the crazy decision to create an open world action-adventure game, leveraging third-person shooter mechanics. Only, Ashes of Oahu focuses on the rich history that can be found on the other side of the world from Europe.
We chose the lore of the indigenous cultures of the Pacific islands to inform our game’s storyline. Specifically, we drew upon the stories and culture of the Hawaiian Islands for our narrative inspiration. How could we bring some of the powerful histories of the pre-colonial Pacific islands into a post-apocalyptic future? What would a post-apocalypse even look like in a paradise? Our developers have traveled to the island, consulted with experts, and studied extensively to ensure that these considerations make Ashes of Oahu a dramatic fictional departure from other games in this genre.
In Ashes of Oahu you’ll play as Kai. Set in the not too distant future, tragedy has befallen the Hawaiian Islands and an ancient evil has risen to exploit the opportunity. The adventure takes place on the second largest island of the Hawaiian archipelago, and the game’s namesake, Oahu. This setting presents a vast and engrossing stage upon which these events play out. Will Kai raise an army to liberate his friends and family? Or take on the raider army alone?
Drawn into the conflict by the abduction of his son, aided by his aumakua (spirit guide), and awakened to the strength of his mana, Kai will rise to drive the opposing force from his 'aina (country), and rescue the children of the island. Or will he? Player agency is a core tenet of Ashes of Oahu. Will you shoot first and ask questions later? Or choose to carefully navigate the tension between the islands fractured communities? Each decision that you make can impact your standing with these different factions and the choices that you make inform the many challenges that Kai will encounter as he navigates the villages and rainforests of a post-apocalyptic island landscape.
During your adventure through Oahu, you will collect items, craft new gear, and learn new skills. You may also encounter on your exploration environmental puzzles. But don’t worry, you’ll never be able to make a wrong turn, though you are absolutely free to make decisions that are not pono (good karma).
As Kai, the world will react to you and time will move forward at your pace. You are free to play in and explore a sandbox interpretation of Oahu, painstakingly recreated to include places that are real locations on the island today. All of which are presented via a 3rd person cinematic camera. Only when you interact with key gameplay sequences will time in game advance. Between these moments you are free to explore the island at your own pace.
With this level of player agency and the number of potential narrative choices to be made, it’s guaranteed that you’ll never be able to experience everything Ashes of Oahu has to offer in a single playthrough. And with over 100 potential endings to the game, are you ready to find out which you will reveal?
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