In A Plague Tale: Innocence, the antagonist is not a typical video game trope; instead, the game posits rats and disease as the main entity blocking player’s progression.
In a new developer blog, the studio behind the game—Asobo Studio—delved into the philosophy behind that decision, as well as the unique gameplay challenges its squeaky horde will propose.
The rats, inspired by the game’s historically-derived setting of war-torn France in 1348, “arrive in the game as if they had always been there, underground,” forming a uniquely palpable natural force that the player must evade.
Interestingly, the rats themselves can also be used to attack enemies:
“The rats are a natural force colonising the world and breaking the balance. As a blind threat, they attack both the protagonists and the Inquisition, allowing players to turn them against their enemies.”
The gameplay relies on the alchemy between these various elements: how to push back the rats through fire and lights and use them to counter other threats while staying careful as they can still eat you in the blink of an eye.”
While players may scoff at the idea of rats being an enemy, the way Asobo Studio describes their terrifying presence should allay any player fears. The scope for open-ended gameplay solutions via the player’s margin of manipulatory control over the rats is exciting, too.