One thing that every RPG needs to succeed is an interesting, fleshed-out world with characters and engrossing locale. Lab Zero's action RPG Indivisible certainly has a large cast of characters, which you can get a peek at here. But what about the world? Inspired by real-world mythologies and oozing with colorful, hand-drawn visuals, Indivisible features a vibrant world players can get excited to explore.
Indivisible is an upcoming action RPG developed by Lab Zero of Skullgirls fame. The world of Skullgirls featured a lot of lore for fans to sink their teeth into, and Indivisible takes it to the next level. TechRaptor talked to Lab Zero Creative Director Mariel Cartwright on what it took to bring the world of Indivisible to life.
Ajna's World in Indivisible
Lab Zero's first foray into game development as a new studio was Skullgirls. Making a fighting game's story is quite different from a full RPG, which comes as no surprise. Cartwright says there was more consideration in making it so the overall game design, story, and sound blended together. She adds:
"Indivisible was a pretty new venture for us—not just in developing the world, but actually making that world a reality through every aspect of the game."
The protagonist of Indivisible, Ajna, is at the forefront of the story. This cheerful teen develops throughout her journey, and Cartwright says that while Indivisible features a lot of lore on the overall world, this is Ajna's story through and through.
"Since the initial conception of the game," said Cartwright, "we had a theme we wanted to explore with our heroine Ajna. We blocked out the major arcs we wanted in her story and development as a character, and how she grew as she met and confronted new environments and people in them. It was always in service of developing Ajna as a character first, and then for telling an interesting story in each area. While the lore of the world is a huge part of the setting, the story isn’t about its lore—it’s about Ajna."
Still, the world is integral to telling Ajna's story. Indivisible wears many of its inspirations on its sleeve, with Buddhist and Hindu mythologies at the forefront. In addition to these religions, the team at Lab Zero researched art, architecture, history, and more.
"In the end," said Cartwright, "Indivisible’s setting isn’t representative of any one mythology, nor was it ever intended to be—it is instead a fantastical amalgamation of a ton of different things that inspired us."
Our heroine, Ajna, sets out in this world after her village is attacked by a warlord named Ravannavar. Trained to be a fighter by her father, with her skillset and companions met along the way, Ajna sets out for revenge. Cartwright says that as players continue the story, we'll learn more and more about Indivisible's world with a fresh set of eyes—Ajna grew up in a rural village and never had much reason to venture far, after all.
Challenges in Creating Indivisible's World
From trailers and screenshots of Indivisible, one might notice many different environments. Neon-soaked cities, old ruins, and forests are among the locations you'll visit as Ajna. Containing diverse areas within also proved to be a challenge for Lab Zero, according to Cartwright.
Since we ended up making a kind of globe-trotting game, we had to design and create completely different sets of assets, which took a lot of research, time, and effort. The sidescrolling part of it wasn’t a huge factor, but the switch from the 2D workflow we used in Skullgirls to Indivisible’s 3D one was. In the end, switching to 3D was the right choice because we could get much more mileage out of each asset, but were still able to maintain an illustrative look through the talents of our awesome environment team.
Ultimately, Indivisible's world and story are the culmination of four years of work. Having to tie all the elements of Indivisible, from characters, environments, and lore into a singular story while spanning dozens of hours is no small feat. Because of this, Cartwright says that the story was a "huge challenge."
"In the end," said Cartwright, "we had to decide what our priorities were; we couldn’t make a good story by featuring every character equally prominently. So we settled on our core cast, and put the most effort into developing Ajna, as she’s the lens through which the player sees the entire world. While it was difficult to downplay some of the characters we grew fond of, we knew it was the right choice to make for the best story."
You can see for yourself the fruits of Lab Zero's years of labor as Indivisible is available now on Steam, GOG [Affiliate], Xbox One, and PlayStation 4. For a look at the first few characters you meet, check out our recent feature. For more on Indivisible's gameplay, check our article on that, too!
What are you most excited to experience in Indivisible? Let us know in the comments below!