Folklore Video Game: Gameplay, Plot, Development, and Soundtrack
Game Republic and Sony Computer Entertainment released Folklore, a 2007 combat role-playing computer game. Doolin, Ireland, and the Celtic Otherworld of Irish folklore feature prominently in the game, which focuses on Ellen, a young lady, and a journalist called Keats as characters you can play with who work together to discover the mystery that lies in wait in the picturesque town of Doolin.
- Developer(s): Game Republic
- Publisher(s): Sony Computer Entertainment
- Director(s): Yoshiki Okamoto
- Takashi Shono: Producer(s)
- Yoshiki Okamoto: Kouji Okada
- Artist(s): Kohei Toda, Chichiro Matsukura
- Writer(s): Hidehisa Miyashita
- Composer(s): Kenji Kawai, Shinji Hosoe, Ayako Saso, Hiroto Saitoh
- Platform(s): PlayStation 3
- Release: JP: June 21, 2007; NA: October 9, 2007; EU: October 12, 2007; AU: October 18, 2007
- Genre(s): Action role-playing
- Mode(s): Single-player
The gameplay of the Folklore video game
Folklore video game is a third-person action role-playing game in which players assume the role of a character to explore the world and participate in the battle. As soon as you begin, you may choose to play as either Ellen or Keats, both of whom have distinct but intertwined storylines and gameplay styles. There are two realms to explore in this game: the actual world of Doolin and the mystical Netherworld, which is home to mythical creatures and spirits.
Throughout Doolin, players assume the role of a character and guide them around the settlement as well as its surroundings. Instead of fighting or utilizing their abilities, characters in this state can only explore the village and interact with its residents, completing quests such as searching for specific items or solving puzzle-like quests that eventually lead to the Netherworld, which serves as a gateway between worlds for future adventures.
As soon as the protagonists enter the Netherworld, the gameplay takes a complete turn toward action-adventure. Folk, diverse animals, and spirits that may be absorbed for the gamer’s use when defeated are used as basic attack tactics in most games. It is possible to capture the energy of an enemy’s spirit when it is close to being vanquished by latching on to it and shaking or tugging it using the Sixaxis motion control (rather than using a standard button interface). However, only four of the available folk can be assigned to the controller’s four primary interface/action buttons at a time, limiting the player’s ability to switch between different types of folk quickly and effectively for various combat situations and strategies, such as projectile launches, close-combat, or magic. The two playable characters have a wide range of abilities and approaches to gameplay as well. To counter Ellen’s folk-based approach, Keats utilizes brute force assaults with all-around stronger people, as well as the ability to release built-up energy to become invincible for a short period of time, allowing him to conduct harder strikes for longer stretches of time.
The plotline of the Folklore video game
Taking place in the modern world, the game of Doolin, Ireland’s seaside resort, lures a young university student named Ellen (Lisa Hogg) to meet her at the Cliff of Sidhe, Doolin, after she receives a letter from her apparently deceased mother. When a lady in danger calls journalist Keats (Richard Coyle) from an esoteric publication called Unknown Realms, urging him to come to Doolin and wailing about Faerys who would murder her, he rushes to save her. He visits Doolin Village, even though he feels it is a hoax call.
This mysterious person may be seen reclining on the edge of the Cliff of Sidhe as Ellen arrives at its base. She yells out to the apparition, believing it to be her mother, but it doesn’t respond. When Keats shows up there, he confronts Ellen about who dialed his number. Afterward, he wonders aloud whether the cliff-dwelling person had summoned him.
As soon as the wind settles down, the figure has vanished from the rock face. During her search for the corpse, Ellen stumbles upon Suzette, a girl from her community. She confronts Ellen about it, but Ellen collapses in fear. He comes and asks Suzette about Ellen before deciding to reintroduce her back to the town.
As Suzette drives Ellen and Keats away from the settlement, they stop at a cabin for shelter. It is in the local bar when they encounter creatures they have never seen before and are brought to a location beyond their wildest dreams: the Netherworld, the land of spirits. Within a few days, Keats and Ellen are embroiled in a 17-year-old murder investigation, with the only possible solution seeming to be in the Netherworld, which can be accessed only from Doolin. Each of them sets out on a journey into the Netherworld as a traveler, where Faerys and folk alike are waiting to meet them.
A number of people, including Scarecrow and Belgae, assisted them on their journey. The Netherworld has been thrown into disarray by a previous Netherworld traveler, as players discover during the game. The ultimate aim is to “repair” the Netherworld by reaching its center. There are two separate storylines in the game that illustrate a variety of individuals’ viewpoints and ideas. There is a slew of unexplained killings in Doolin when “The Hag” appears while journeying through the Netherworld. The only people who knew the whole truth about Ellen’s background were the ones who were killed.
The development of the Folklore video game
Folklore billed as “the next wave of dark fantasy” was revealed at E3 2006. Yoshiki Okamoto, an online gaming creator known for his work on Resident Evil, was to lead the project at the Game Republic. As a follow-up to Gaia’s Monster Kingdom: Jewel Summoner, the game was initially named Monster Kingdom: Unknown Realms. Despite this, the revenues of Jewel Summoner were so poor that the game had to be renamed Folklore. Folklore, on the other hand, would benefit from the contributions of Gaia, who would help create monsters. Gaia’s PlayStation Portable game, Coded Soul: Uketsugareshi Idea, released the next year, used many of the same folklore animals.
On May 30, 2007, a demo version of the game was made available on the Japanese PlayStation Network (PSN). Play as either Keats or Ellen in the demo, with the option to switch between both. There is a number of brief comic-style cutscenes, a seaside hamlet to explore, and a series of playable locations where the player is exposed to the gameplay fundamentals (i.e., fighting, how to acquire new Ids, etc.). With the exception of a few English-language phrases said by the game’s two characters during battle, the demo was entirely in Japanese.
It was published in Europe on August 22, 2007, but was pulled from the PlayStation Store on August 31 as a limited-time deal. On August 23, 2007, the North American PlayStation Network (PSN) received this demo. On September 4, 2007, an English/Traditional Chinese demo was launched on the Asian PlayStation Network. The original Japanese demo was available in English at PlayStation shops in Europe and the United States.
The soundtrack of the Folklore video game
A three-disc set of the film’s original score, Folklore, was released by TEAM Entertainment on June 27, 2007. Kenji Kawai, Ayako Saso, Shinji Hosoe, and Hiroto Saitoh created the music. This film’s closing credits include the Abingdon Boys School hymn “Nephilim.”
FolksSoul Original Soundtrack Information
- Label: Team Entertainment
- Released: June 27, 2007 (Japan)
- Length: 172:40 (three CDs)
- Genre: Video game soundtrack
How was the Folklore video game received by the public?
According to Metacritic, “Folklore” garnered “positive” reviews upon its premiere. Famitsu awarded it a rating of 33 out of 40 in Japan, including three eights and a nine.
Art Design and a wonderful fairy tale/mythological background were two of the game’s main points of appreciation. Folklore’s sheer visual beauty comes more from the stellar art direction and execution of artistic design than the amount of processing power it requires, notes IGN’s Ryan Clements, who is also impressed by the game’s style rather than its technical graphics engine. The soundtrack is described as “poignant and intrinsically atmospheric.” Technologically, the game looks excellent, with the realistic aesthetic of Doolin blending in with the colorful and outrageously Japanese stylings of the Netherworld levels, “Gaming Target sums up,” subsequently adding Folklore to their “52 Games We’ll Still Be Playing From 2007.”
Battle systems that let players capture and use different “people” were also praised. It was found that “what makes the enormous library of monsters and moves work so well is that each is most useful in a particular situation” and that “switching folk in and out of your arsenal is easy thanks to well-organized menus,” but that “brief loading times between shifting in and out of the menus that “put[s] a damper on the game’s flow’” were also found to be an issue. “Bland” at times, Eurogamer found the level design to be “quite conventional dungeon crawling.” 1UP.com called it “the most subtle and reasonable use of the PS3’s motion control yet” because of the SIXAXIS motion control’s ability to draw energy from fallen people.
With GameZone calling the storyline “compelling,” the approach of conveying most of the plot in graphic-novel style cutscenes earned a less than favorable review. This “interesting design decision,” according to Kevin VanOrd of GameSpot, is the ultimate “weirdly flavorless.” Additionally, GamesRadar (in-house) believed that the absence of voice-work outside of the full CGI sequences hindered the overall narrative delivery.
The canceled sequel to the Folklore video game
A PlayStation Portable or download-only Folklore compatible sequel was being planned and offered to Sony by the now-defunct Game Republic. Sony liked the concept, but the company’s internal review board decided against moving further with the project because of the low sales of the original Folklore.