Zealous: GDD

Zealous GDD

Plaguescript (Creative Director/Lead Writer)

Gavrick (Lead Programmer)

Devtrain (2nd Lead Programmer)

Jacke (Lead Sound Designer/ Composer)

VeryFatCat (Concept Artist)

Peregrine (Spriter and Animator)

Hashtag (Level-Designer) 

Pitch

Monetization

Story

Gameplay

Game Elements

Locations

Characters

Relics/Keys/Kindling/Incense

Pitch

Explore the vast, scattered islands of Maecture as one of the few remaining Zealots as they valiantly trek across their former land in an attempt to find salvation for their stolen people. 

Monetization

After Metroidvania Month Jam (which will begin 6/15 and end 8/15), the game is set for a simple rev-share with all participants. Will be shared through sites like Kickstarter and Patreon, as well as shared on a grouped Insta and Twitter page.

Story

The land known as Maecture was once home to a race of enigmatic, seemingly eldritch ancients, with a name long lost to history. For some reason, either due to their advanced age or a change within Maecture itself, these ancients entered a state of dormancy, allowing for a new race of sapient beings to take over in their stead. These beings, known as the Zealots, would equal parts care and pray to the shattered lands, finding the holy power emanating from it impossible to ignore. Many Zealots would be sired here, and new citadels and relics would be founded, allowing for a civilization just as great as its predecessor to be born. But alas, it was not meant to last: After centuries, the ancients arose from their slumber, and, finding their home”defiled”, furiously removed the blight of Zealots,leaving only those skilled and lucky enough to escape their grasps. Now, a lone acolyte, armed with a potent Brazier and stalwart purpose, must travel their broken home, fending off the various fiends and allowing their people to once again thrive, and continue their worship. 

Gameplay

Gameplay is akin to most Metroidvanias, with its own unique options and ways to better explore the land of Maecture

Movement and Interaction

  • The Zealot has a base walking option

  • The Zealot has three jumps: A quick jump by tapping the button, a long jump by holding the button, and, upon collecting the Kindler’s Flight, a double-jump that propels the Zealot in whichever direction they are moving

  • Loose stone, ladders, and cindervine can be climbed in order to progress upwards, or over certain areas

  • When the Kindler’s Flight is collected, the Zealot’s dash is increased, and leaves behind a trail of flames 

  • The Seared Leash allows for the Zealot to attach onto latches and haul themselves up to higher platforms

  • The  Immolation Crest allows for doorways and objects to be melted, allowing for new passageways to be revealed

  • The Mirrored Gaze allows for the Zealot to pass between reflective surfaces, regardless of the distance or objects between them.

  • There are a myriad of chains to be pulled, buttons to be pressed, and doors to be opened, which can access other areas or trigger special events

  • Not all doorways can be directly interacted with, and some require keys or special items

  • Dias and Altars act as respawn points, and fully heal both the 7 health and psyche of the Zealot

Combat

  • There are two methods for base combat: Ranged, and melee

  • Ranged combat involves the Zealot launching balls of fire from their torch. This can be charged in order to increase damage, but locks the Zealot in place. Uses 5-15% psyche per shot. When aimed above, the Zealot will throw an arcing fireball, and when aimed below, they slam their Brazier into the ground to create a wave of flame. Cannot be charged in mid-air. 

  • Melee combat involves Zealot swinging the torch in a three hit combo. Each hit restores 20% psyche

  • Healing is done by channeling the torch’s burning flame. The health bar is filled 25% per charge, and the psyche bar is lower 33% per charge

  • Most enemies deal 25% of the Zealot’s maximum health (until health is upgraded to past 100%), and if Zealot is killed, then they leave behind their Flame, which prevents ranged attacks and limits healing until picked up. 

  • Kindling and Incense are unique items that allow for the Zealot to activate unique passives and abilities. Three Kindling can be held at a time, and Incense can be switched on the fly. The amount of Psyche used varies on the ability, but it is typically the same as a healing charge

  • Killed enemies drop Cinder, which allows for upgrading and unique Kindling purchase, among other things. 

  • Enemies do not have a visible health bar, and typically only have one to two attacks. Bosses and mini-bosses usually have more, along with unique interactions, drops, and phases. 

Puzzles, Upgrades, and NPCs

  • Puzzles are fairly rare, and usually linked more with riddle or direct platforming

  • Most puzzle areas, known as Mastery Ascents, are rare areas that give unique Kindling and Incense, or upgrade materials for them

  • Cinder acts as currency, and can be given to shop-keeps, while Molten Shards act as upgrade materials for Kindling/Incense

  • Shopkeeps can be directly spoken to, and most (not all) will sell either useful Incense, small amounts of Molten Shards, or unique items all-together  

  • Health and psyche is increased with Steel-Woven Beads and Soul-Woven Beads respectively, which are found across the world

 Game Elements

Locations

Beacon of the Acolyte:  

Beginning area in Zealous. A massive light-tower designed to house, teach, and eventually release Acolytes. There were few Zealots here to begin with, but with the arrival of the Snatchers, this shining tower is now far emptier. Most of the platforming is vertical, with a multitude of side areas that allow exploration in a  former sanctuary converted into a prison  by the Snatchers who now reside within. Filled with all manner of secret twisting rooms, jagged platforming, and a multitude of locked entrances, it requires utmost patience and courage when progressing through it. At the end of its halls lies the Stonework Chamber, where the relic known as the Seared Leash, along with the second boss (Baneful Authority) dwell. Defeating them will unlock new passageways, and a way forth.    

The Keep is a sub-area of the Chained Sanctuary, unlocked after gaining the Seared Leash. This area is cramped, filled with all manner of unique beasts and harrowing platforming. The Incense Frigid Glow can be found here, along with Molten Shards. 

Aged Memory’s Alcazar  

Once a gathering place of  battlefield prayer, for when it was needed, it has now been converted into a grim bastille for the Snatchers. Filled with countless shattered platforms, chasms, and broken towers, it is a deadly area to try and traverse, made more dangerous by the countless ancients that make it their home. Within one of the many turrets lies the Outlook, where the third relic (Immolation Crest) and the third boss ( The Warmonger) can be found. After the Warmonger’s defeat, new areas are available within the Alcazar, some less pleasant than others.

The Outer Bailey is an enclosed, mostly open area surrounded by the Alcazar’s mighty walls. Within, all manner of deadly foe await, although the gratifying reward of a new Incense ( Ardent Bastion)  lies at the end of the gauntlet.

Beneath the entirety of it all lies the Ruinous Undercroft, where a unique boss (The Risen Below the Walls) can be fought. This boss will also drop a unique Kindling, as well as guard the way to yet another NPC. 

Citadel Sol

A massive Citadel, stretching high into the heavens above. Unlike the rest of Maecture, this area is kept in remarkable condition, seemingly as a sign of respect the ancients have for the place. Overall, it is a mix of vertical ascension and use of clever machines in order to rise up or move forth, and it requires all the mobility relics found thus far. Within the  Promenade of the Immolated lies one of the final bosses (Overseer Covetous),  and a unique relic. 

A sub-area of the Citadel known as the  Overgrown Lyceum is also present. It is wrought with parasitic cindervine, making navigation difficult, although the ever-useful Incense (Explosive Overgrowth) makes this well worth the trouble

Deeper within the citadel another sub-area, the Ancient’s Burial Site, offers nothing more than simple lore  about the ancients and their eventual slumber. However, if the proper puzzles are performed, then a secret boss (Somniferous Warden) will be ready to fight, and drops a  unique Kindling as a prize. 

Maecture Prominence

The Final area in Zealous. Once the head of all teachings with Maecture, it has fallen to a horrific shell of itself, seemingly taken over by the very essence of Maecture. Most of the enemies and platforming have merged, creating a difficult, convoluted area filled with all manner of unseen, horrid dangers. The final area, Loft of the Hallowed, and Maecture’s Foil, the end boss, can both be encountered here. While there are no proper sub-areas, there are a wide variety of differing areas that can be explored and solved, in order to even reach 

Characters

The Zealot: 

Main player character. Mute for most of the game, they tend to show a rather abrasive or sardonic manner in most situations, but this may simply be a response to the trauma they’ve endured (or a cold nature). Despite this, they do seem to care for their home, even if it's not for the “correct” reasons. 

Hawker: 

Zealot who managed to slink away from the gazes of the Snatchers. Even with most of their race gone, they still have a rather greedy disposition, seemingly finding solace only in Cinder. They can usually be found outside locations, oftentimes in strange locales. 

Deacon: 

A Zealot who wanders their former home, scouring for a way to rid of the Snatcher’s grasp on Maecture. While obviously intelligent and wise, it is clear they are still fairly young and rash. If not for the loss of their arm, they would gladly accompany the Zealot in their battles, but for now, a mere companion will do. 

Derelict: 

A former Acolyte, like the Zealot, who managed to escape the Snatcher’s grasp. Unlike the Zealot, however, they have handled the overall mess of the reawakening rather harshly, becoming nigh catatonic and only offering minor insight on the Beacon. 

Lightkeeper

The Lightkeeper of the Beacon, held hostage by Singed Sentry. After its defeat, they are freed, allowing for the Zealot to use the Cinder Bridges that connect all of the islands together. While they rarely show emotion in their mannerism, it is clear that they are relatively wise, if not suspiciously placid. 

Smothered Vicar

The former Vicar of the Sanctuary, since turned into a shameful prisoner. Even though their bonds may be unbreakable, their spirit is indomitable, and they will happily rely any and all information they know of their former charge

Mendicant

A bizarre, mysterious figure deep within the Keep. Their travels through ancient territory have brought him in contact with all manner of vile trinkets, all of which they are more than happy to trade over to the Zealot, for a proper price. 

Partizan

A rather intense figure found within Alcazar's walls. Aggressive, yet undoubtedly courageous and venerable, they will assist the Zealot in a multitude of battles, both within the Alcazar and outside it. 

Abbot

A survivor from Citadel Sol. Teaches the Zealot about the former ways of the Citadel and its purpose, as well as shows the way down to the Ancient’s Burial Site.

Maecture, Hallowed Archpriest 

The namesake of the Zealot’s holy domain. Acts as a final lore point for the Zealot, and can be encountered numerous times under the guise of the Hawker. 

Relics/Keys/Kindling/Incense

Kindler’s Flight

Relic found within the Kindler’s Roost. Allows the Zealot to conjure wings of flame to either double jump or dash forth. Damages enemies with the burning fire.

Acolyte’s Denial

Somber Kindling given by the Derelict. Prevents the Zealot from dying once before shattering. It can be reforged at any Dias, at the cost of using some Cinder. 

Seared Leash

Relic found within the Stonework Chamber. Allows for the Zealot to latch onto far-away objects, and pull certain items closer. 

Brandheart

Heavy Kindling that prevents the Zealot from being knocked back during attacks, and slightly increases invulnerability frames.

Empty Shackles 

Kindling given by the Smothered Vicar. Laden with overwhelming will and strength. Damage done to Zealot grants them psyche. 

Frigid Glow

Freezing Incense found deep within the Keep. Fires out a glacial mist that slows enemies and deals constant damage

Brimstone Chain

Horribly altered Incense that launches scalding hot chains outwards, akin to a shotgun. 

Immolation Crest

Relic found within the Alcazar’s desecrated Outlook. Capable of melting through bars of reinforced metal. 

Partisan’s Shattered Hilt

Sturdy, yet broken hilt of a former hero, now turned to Kindling. Increases the range and damage of the Braizer’s melee hits. 

Gravechunk 

Piece of the lengthy Alcazar Undercroft, turned to Kindling. Creates a temporary shield of stone after healing.

Sorrowsong

Mantra seemingly solidified into a solid, intricate Kindling.  Increases the damage of Incense, as well as their range. 

Ardent Bastion

Useful Incense found within the defiled Outer Bailey. Creates a wall of impenetrable flame that prevents projectiles from passing through and damages enemies hit. 

Scaldspear

Supposedly valiant Incense found within the Alcazar. Forms and hurls a spear of liquid fire forth, piercing through enemies. 

Mirrored Gaze

Relic from within Citadel Sol. Gleams with a rather fighting light. Capable of transporting the Zealot through all manner of reflective surfaces. 

Devout Blessing

Kindling found from within the most sacred of locations, deep within Citadel Sol. Causes the damage from a single hit to be slowly regenerated. 

Furious Upheaval

Kindling boiling with pent up anger. Causes any damage done to the Zealot to create a centralized explosion of fire, destroying anything around it. 

Explosive Overgrowth

Incense formed by the rampant growth of cindervine around the Citadel. Creates an explosion of burning cindervine around the Zealot that lasts for a few moments. 

Solar Rain

Incense of immense burning power and holy purpose. Causes devastating orbs of fire to descend from on high, burning anything below it.  

 

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