Dear Insane Children,
This post contains spoilers and a gory image of Shadow Alice stabbing something cute… with blood and stuff. So… you’ve been warned.
But it also contains an interesting question and conversation around where we draw the lines with regards to gore, violence, etc.
Here’s the (text) excerpt from the design for this section of the game:
40.4) Closing Chapter Illustration // Alice Kills the Rabbit – Page 148-149 (v2.1)
?Art Task Briefing and Output:
?At least 1x Image rendered showing the death of the Rabbit at the Hands of Shadow Alice.
?Chapter Closing Scene. Make this sad, shocking, violent and final, as described in the Narrative.
?Key scene is showing the demise of the Rabbit at the hands of the Shadow.
?Optional extra scenes (time and resource allowing) could be a scene showing the lead-up to Alice approaching the Rabbit. Cornering him, or showing fear in his body language and expression.
As Alice’s murder-spree continues, with each kill, black holes of swirling voids will manifest. These void portals allow quick travel between scenes of Wonderland. Some inhabitants will try to run and escape through these holes, and hide in new areas. Shadow Alice will pursue them. Objectives are only met and progress granted by the deaths of anyone left in Wonderland.
Each death makes Wonderland darker, and darker. As voids overtake Wonderland, space by space Alice snuffs out every light in the world.
Rather than fight directly, some will offer cruel commentary in the conflict unfolding, until they are obliterated outright.
We PLAY until Shadow Alice achieves her goal. No one remains except… The Plush Rabbit Toy.
After Shadow Alice locates the Plush Rabbit, the last objective, a final cutscene plays:
Shadow Alice and the White Rabbit Plush are alone on a floating island in an abyss of darkness. There’s nothing left of Wonderland or its inhabitants. She walks toward the Rabbit, her blade in hand. The Rabbit trembles soundlessly. He has nowhere to run.
All these memories are a constant knife through my mind. Each rippling across an ocean of grief. Waves from distant shores crashing relentlessly, driving me mad. So many questions – even after they are answered they still bring pain. Why?
At last, pure silence. No more memories. No more faces. No more obstacles to overcome. No more questions. No more curiosity. And no more of the relentless imagining. No more relentless pain.
Shadow Alice reaches down and lifts the White Rabbit in one hand.
Your time is up. We must not be late.
A brief look of shock on the rabbit’s face, as the player enacts the command input for the Shadow to pierce him slowly with her Vorpal blade. His eyes close and the light within the scene fades to complete darkness. The last thing we see is the Rabbit’s tiny, lifeless body torn into shreds. His heart falls from his body and is cleaved by the Shadows blade. It shatters into a mist.
As the shards glimmer into the darkness, nothing is left, but the empty pitch-black abyss.
The concept sketch (main image above) is Omri’s first take on the illustration for this scene. He says of this:
i thought 2 things, i think i want to paint this in in a different style so we will have some more styles, i’ll work on the face / proportions etc… but generally i think making this very dark and have the text in the middle “?Your time is up. We must not be late.” but Alex- i might need your help in the future on the font…
?it can be more of a Comic / illustrated look. i think it will translate well.
?IF i’ll go illustration all the way i might be able to pull out a very good print out of this.
i think i want to make his inner body Fleshy like the mechanical Heart which i need to somehow still integrate here. i think i might stick it on the blade itself.
And then turned in this revised (color) sketch:
And when I saw that my stomach turned a bit so I wrote:
So…. this might be hard to believe but my initial reaction to this is “too dark.” ?I ?think all the black slime and tentacle stuff we do is fine. Gore with Card Guards is fine. But showing this as actual blood and guts with a little (plush) rabbit…
One issue is that this is meant to be an animated rabbit *plush* ?doll. It’s not filled with blood and guts. It’s filled with cotton stuffing.
What do you think about trying a version of this where it’s stuffing and a little stuffed (fabric) heart instead of actual blood and guts?
I’ll share this online … but my guess is that the feedback from fans will be similar to what I’ve written here.
People can stomach a lot of horror and gore… but as soon as you enter “real” animals into the mix… people get *really* upset. See “John Wick” ?for a good example. What do you think?
Further on the John Wick example… something like that is fine for the start of a story. It gives our main character clear motivation for revenge and mayhem. And signals to the audience that these guys – people who would harm animals – deserve no mercy.
Alex echoes these thoughts saying:
While I think this scene is the catalyst for the Shadow “ending her dark work” in ending all Wonderland Creatures… I agree that blood on an animal evokes a feeling of disgust, rather than horror, which makes it very difficult to empathize with the Shadow.
?I’m referencing the part of script, in that the “Rabbit is pierced slowly with the blade, then torn to shreds.”
?It was written like driving a blade into a cushion, which is then ripped apart in fluff.
?No mention of blood or things breaking, other than the heart shattering into mist, which is meant to be a beautiful visual analogy to destroying something beautiful.
So, I think the text carries the weight of the action here.
I think the composition, render and style is great.
?But, I’d recommend we remove the blood from the Rabbit, and maybe don’t even show him “bleeding” or damaged.
So Omri did an updated version…
About which he said:
i thought that the whole point of this image was to showcase her cruelty.??? you will force the player to butcher the rabbit per the text. i think you should show her awfulness. not nicey cutey, horrible. dark.
BUT i do agree that perhaps the blood is a bit too much but there has to be a bit of blood- the heart is made of flesh. unless you want me to go more “cartoony” with some “forcefield” around the heart.. eitherway i need to extract the heart out so it’s visually understandable what it is and then it can turn to mist halfway
And now it’s your turn… let us know in the comments your thoughts on this topic. Where do you draw the line?
And… as you might have noticed… still no live stream this week! I had thought that we’d try… and we scheduled things only to have notices come across the news (and from friends) of further “high risk” zones being announced in the city. My concern remains that if I head into the city (or Martin comes out here), I might become a “close contact” of someone who’s infected. That could mean getting stuck in the city or being required to do quarantine (for 7~14 days). I mention the city… because part of the live stream plan is for me to then head back into the city with Martin so I can take a meeting with a game developer (potential partner for the Asylum project).
Anyway… we’re going to do a wait-and-see until next week. And try to make something happen then.
From Shanghai with IT’S HOT!