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Drakan: The Ancients’ Gates - Story & Screens

by Rainier on April 16, 2002 @ 4:18 p.m. PDT

Drakan: The Ancients’ Gates is an original game for the PlayStation®2. Though the gameplay of the project is in part based on that found in the popular PC title Drakan: Order of the Flame, the content of the adventures Rynn and Arokh experience are completely new and original. If anything, Drakan: The Ancients’ Gates should be considered a sequel to Drakan: OOTF. However, Drakan:The Ancients’ Gates introduces so many new game mechanics that it is far more than a conventional sequel.

Drakan: The Ancients’ Gates is a third-person action/adventure where the player controls both Rynn, a tough acrobatic female combatant who rides Arokh, a fearsome fire-breathing dragon. Gameplay alternates between frantic ground combat with Rynn and visceral aerial combat featuring Rynn atop Arokh’s back. The contrast between the two modes of combat imbues the gameplay with a unique depth. As a ground combatant, players will be able to chose between focusing on melee combat, ranged bow weaponry, spell casting, or a combination of all three. A full economic system allows players to buy the equipment they want and sell off what they don’t need. And capping it all off, non-linear game progression and a large number of characters with which Rynn can converse provide a narrative depth usually unseen in action games. Drakan: The Ancients’ Gates merges the worlds of action and role playing games into a compelling and ground-breaking experience.

Drakan is a unique and intuitive action/adventure game that seamlessly combines fast-action, ground and air combat with adventure and role-playing elements to create a game. The player character in Drakan will be able to gain new skills and abilities that how she overcome obstacles and adversaries within the game-world. As the player increases in skill she will be able to apply skill points to on of three skills: fighter, archer or mage. As a fighter the player will engage opponents with sword, axe and hammer. The mage skill allows the player to cast a wide array of devastating spells. The archer specialises in bow attacks and stealth to slay opponents. In Drakan the player can shape Rynn to be whatever type of fantasy hero they want.

Drakan provides the most immersive and seamless game-world possible. As much as is feasible, the player will not be removed from the action by unnecessary interface screens or long cut-scenes. For instance, when the player wants to look at their map, he’ll see his character pull out a map and start looking at it while the camera zooms in so the player can look too. When the player character starts talking to a friendly villager, the camera will swing around for a side view. The game will provide a consistent and cohesive visual experience such that those watching the game will feel like they are watching a movie, while still allowing the player to feel that they are always in control of their character’s destiny.

Story Synopsis:
Drakan: The Ancients’ Gates takes place in a world where civilisation has crumbled. The story involves the struggle of a young woman, Rynn, and her Dragon companion, Arokh, as they attempt to defend the last remnants of civilization. Within the last remaining city of an ancient empire, therein lies a set of magic Gates, which once linked the cities of the world. Yet the Gates hold an even-greater secret. One of the immortal Spirit Dragons, defenders of the ancient empire, lies hidden within the dimensional fabric of the Gates. If the Gates can be reopened, the Spirit Dragon will be freed, and the first steps toward restoring civilisation will begin. Rynn and Arokh must travel to distant lands and restore all four of the ancient Gates, but the way will not be easy. Standing against them are the Desert Lords, a bizarre race of wizards who would enslave all of humanity. Along the way Rynn and Arokh will meet and interact with a cast of amazing and fantastic creatures. Through quests and combat Rynn and Arokh will gain new skills as they progress towards the climatic showdown with the Caliph, the emperor of the Desert Lords.

Combining action-packed, acrobatic ground combat with the awesome effects of flying and fighting on the back of a dragon, Drakan: The Ancients’ Gates is a hugely involving quest; a unique and compelling ground-breaking experience with unusual narrative depth and doses of dragons, swordplay and an RPG-style quest. As the adventurers progress, you will gain new skills and improved abilities defeating an ever-more amazing array of fantastical creatures.

The action takes place in a large, immersive and magical land where civilisation has crumbled. To enhance the feeling of immersion into this mystical world, the traditional computer-game interface has been removed. For example, elect to look at a map, and Rynn will take a map out, the view altering and zooming in so that you, too, can see it.

The story involves the struggle of the young heroin, Rynn, and her dragon companion, Arokh, as they set out on a quest to defend the last remnants of civilisation by freeing a sacred Spirit Dragon, traditional defender of the ancient empire. Along the way they will travel to far-off lands and fight the powerful and evil Desert Lords, a race of wizards who seek to enslave the whole of humanity.

Rynn is a tough, beautiful, acrobatic and resourceful female adventurer, skilled with a sword, axe, hammer and bow and arrow, as well as spell casting. The fearsome Arokh serves as loyal companion and an awesome comrade with his fighting skills and awesome fire-breathing powers.

Gameplay is split between visceral, ground-based bloody battle, in which Rynn’s skill in armed combat and spell-casting come to the fore, and ferocious aerial combat as you ride on Arokh’s back, during which you will use a combination of Rynn’s archery skills and powerful dragon fireballs.

Uniquely for an action adventure game, you will decide how Rynn’s skills are enhanced, adding the skill points you acquire after battles to one of three areas of specialist skill: fighter, archer or mage. As a fighter you will combat opponents with sword, axe and hammer; the mage skill allows you to cast a wide array of devastating spells; whereas archers specialises in bow attacks and are skilled in stealth. Under your control, Rynn will become a customised fantasy hero with a mix of skills unique to you.

Other elements that action and adventure fans will find familiar include the facility to acquire new weapons and armour by ransacking the bodies of your fallen foes, or through trade - a fully functioning economic system allows you to buy the equipment you want or sell off what you don’t need. Similarly, the linear progression of most action adventures is discarded in favour of a more open-ended quest, packed with intelligent characters that will speak to you, helping or hindering depending upon their personality.

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