An action-adventure title set during the Inquisition in France, A Plague Tale: Innocence features stealth-based gameplay. Players must control a 14-year-old girl, as she sets forth to rescue her brother and other children from both the Inquisition and the plague-ridden rat swarms. Still quite early in the game’s development, with the developer aiming for a Q4 2018 launch, I walked away impressed with what I saw during the hands-off gameplay demo presentation.
As Amicia, the demo began as she attempted to rescue her young brother Hugo from a couple of Inquisition guards. At the same time, you need to ensure you are not devoured by the carnivorous glowing eye swarms of rats that scurry across the dimly lit streets. While staying out of sight, and having the rats in between yourself and the guards, you notice that they happen to be holding lanterns, keeping the pests at bay. Using your sling, you can target the light, shattering it in the process by launching a rock from a safe distance. This allows the rats to consume their prey, ignoring you in the process.
After freeing your little brother, you venture into a nearby church, where you believe your mom is being held captive. With swarms of rats blocking your path to the underground passage by the altar, we are introduced to some of the more elaborate environmental puzzles. With Hugo being only five years old, you can use this to your advantage and have him sneak through metal bars, and in this case, assist in the lighting of the brazier you earlier knocked to the ground. Upon doing so, you notice the thousands of human bones piled along the pillars and down into the underground passage. It’s about here that thousands and I mean thousands, of rats, begin to swarm throughout the church, covering every square inch of the floor. Protected by a lantern, our young protagonists, make their way down into the tunnel, as the horde of rodents moves about almost too realistically.
A Plague Tale: Innocence's narrative will last roughly 10 hours, focusing on the bond between siblings and the contrast between light and dark. Sneaking around the city in darkness keeps yourself hidden from the prying eyes of the Inquisition, but also a snack for hungry rats. Protect yourself from the rats by carrying a glass lantern, but the soldiers will easily spot you. Asobo Studio is aiming for this sort of dynamic that gives the player freedom on how they want to play the game.
A Plague Tale: Innocence will release on PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 late next year, and will include support for Xbox One X, and PS4 Pro with improved resolution and HDR support.