Nine Sols' Taopunk inspirations range from Sekiro to Akira | Digital Trends

    Red Candle Games
    A studio identified for creating horror video games pivoting to a brand new style isn’t unprecedented. After all, Tango Gameworks shifted from creating video games akin to The Evil Within and Ghostwire: Tokyo to the goofy and colourful Hi-Fi Rush. The Taiwan-based studio Red Candle Games adopted an analogous trajectory on the best way to its latest sport, Nine Sols.
    Red Candle Games was based in 2015 and debuted with the side-scrolling horror sport Detention in 2017. In 2019, the studio launched Devotion, a psychological horror sport that obtained fairly a little bit of consideration after it was banned from digital PC storefronts like GOG and Steam for holding an easter egg referencing Xi Jinping, normal secretary of the Chinese Communist Party.
    Now, 5 years after that incident, Red Candle Games is on the brink of launch Nine Sols. It was first introduced in March 2022 and blew previous its fundraising purpose of three million Taiwanese {dollars} (roughly $93,000) inside the first 24 hours. As an Asian fantasy motion platformer, Nine Sols couldn’t be any additional in tone from the horror-tinged Detention and Devotion. To create one thing contemporary, the studio would herald tons of inspiration and undertake a singular aesthetic: Taopunk.
    Myth turns into sci-fi
    Producer Vincent Yang tells Digital Trends that there have been a number of explanation why Red Candle Games wished to create one thing totally different. The first was that after creating two consecutive horror titles, the event crew felt burnt out from creating comparable experiences. The second was that Nine Sols gave Red Candle Games the liberty to experiment with totally different matters, genres, and gameplay type. The studio additionally believed that it might assist rejuvenate creativity.
    “We wanted to leverage this versatility and explore new possibilities,” Yang explains. “We aimed to reach the Western market with Nine Sols, designing it to break language barriers through intuitive and enjoyable game mechanics. By doing so, we hope to find greater success in overseas markets.”
    Nine Sols follows a hero named Yi, who goals to defeat and overthrow the 9 Sols, who’re tyrannical rulers within the New Kunlun realm. During the prototyping stage, the crew mentioned varied concepts for the sport’s story. An idea stood out to them: the story of Chinese archer Hou Yi.
    Red Candle Games
    In Chinese mythology, there have been initially 10 suns that might cross the sky, one after the other. One day, all 10 suns got here out on the identical time and scorched the earth. Hou Yi was tasked to rein them in, however when the suns refused to go away peacefully, Hou Yi was pressured to take extra drastic measures, together with capturing them down along with his arrows.
    “We wondered, what if we were to use Hou Yi’s story and turn it into science fiction?” Yang says. “As we discussed this idea further in our meetings, it gradually expanded into a complete story and then into a feasible game direction.” The thought of constructing the totally different suns as Soulslike bosses looks like a match made in heaven.
    Pioneering Taopunk
    The gameplay in Nine Sols is closely impressed by particular video games akin to Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. The imaginative and prescient was to recreate the identical deflection-focused fight expertise in a 2D platformer, together with the exploration and atmospheric worldbuilding present in video games like Hollow Knight. Additionally, the sport’s intense motion sequences had been impressed by Katana Zero. While Nine Sols borrows closely from its contemporaries, a giant manner it stands out is with its aesthetic. The sport adopts a singular “Taopunk” aesthetic, combining futuristic cyberpunk components with Eastern fantasy and mythology.
    The artwork crew drew inspiration from conventional Chinese artwork, Taoist symbolism, and cyberpunk visuals to craft a particular type. The hand-drawn 2D artwork additionally allowed for a excessive degree of element and character, making New Kunlun really feel wealthy and immersive.
    Many within the studio grew up watching numerous nice Japanese animations and lots of Japanese video games from the 1980s and ’90s. They had been amazed by how nicely these artists blended conventional Japanese components with futuristic settings. Works like Ghost within the Shell, Akira, and Shin Megami Tensei contained traces of Japanese tradition and faith, and the previous two significantly influenced the cyberpunk components in Nine Sols. This impressed Red Candle Games to discover an analogous fusion.
    “During early development, we started combining Taoism and cyberpunk elements,” Yang says. “As the setting and aesthetic began to take shape, we realized that these two seemingly contrasting elements could coexist harmoniously, creating a unique and a compelling world.”
    Red Candle Games
    The inspirations don’t finish there. Blade Runner was one other affect for its dystopian and cyberpunk aesthetic, as was Princess Mononoke for its exploration of the character versus expertise idea. Works akin to Satoshi Kon’s Paprika and Perfect Blue had been checked out for his or her distinctive storytelling strategies, as was Neon Genesis Evangelion for its deep philosophical themes and complicated character growth.
    Developing Nine Sols was tough, particularly because it was so totally different from the studio’s earlier work. Transitioning from the 2D Detention to the 3D Devotion already introduced obstacles. However, it was a problem that Red Candle Games overcame with flying colours. Nine Sols required the studio to sort out new design and technical challenges, however the crew’s dedication and resilience helped them throughout the end line as soon as once more.
    “This project has been a huge leap for our studio, taking more than four years of hard work and dedication,” says Yang. “We really hope that players will enjoy the game and appreciate the unique blend of elements we’ve brought together. We’re excited to share this journey through the world of Nine Sols with everyone.”
    Nine Sols is accessible now on PC.

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