Thor: The Lost Saga - High Concept Document
in Game Designs updated on July 29, 2011

For our final project in our game development class, Aaron Mahoney and I decided to make a game called Thor: The Lost Saga. The following is the high concept document for the game.

Thor: The Lost Saga
By Aaron Mahoney and Aaron Lutz

Game Analysis
Thor: The Lost Saga - a fantasy/adventure RPG steeped in Norse mythos.

Game Concept
Thor: The Lost Saga is focused on the trials of Thor, the God of Thunder, who is cast out of Asgard by Loki, God of Mischief and Fire. Throughout his journey, he will gather his lost equipment and regain his godhood with the help of old allies; gods and heroes of the Norse legends. He will battle against Loki’s monster hordes, ever closing on his goal: a final encounter with Loki in an attempt to prevent Ragnarok, the Norse Apocalypse.

Game Goals
As Thor, the player’s ultimate goal will be to confront Loki and stop Ragnarok. Major goals will include regaining his godhood (or at least his godly powers) and his powerful equipment: Mjollnir, his hammer; Megingjarpar, his girdle; and Augrmahks, his iron gauntlets. Other goals will include defeating lesser and greater enemies, solving puzzles that hinder his progress, and gathering a group to fight with him. The player’s progress towards these goals should be fairly obvious, but some may not (such as: at what point is the player powerful enough to have regained his godhood status?). Things like these will be measured in the interface, with possibly an indicator on the main screen.

Game Information
Genre: Action/Adventure RPG
Type: RPG with explorative environment, level progression and increasingly difficult monsters.
Style: Think Legend of Zelda meets Final Fantasy; the world and area navigation will be from a top-down view (isometric), where the player will be able to interact with non-player characters (NPCs) and see monsters in advance, choosing whether to combat them (like LoZ). All battles will take place in a side-view screen (like FF).
Players: Single player.
Setting: A mythical world steeped in the mystical arts: magic, gods, demons and devils. Kind of King Arthur-esque, but all major influences come from Norse myth. The continent Thor explores bears an uncanny resemblance to Scandinavia.

License/Brand Analysis
Fortunately, Norse legends and mythology is not copyrighted. We will not be dealing with any established brands or licenses that may incur problems with final publication.

Target Audience
The game is intended for RPG fans, male majority, ages 13-35.

Competitor’s Analysis These days, adventure/fantasy RPGs are a dime a dozen. The biggest competition is games like Final Fantasy; established companies with established game series. The reasons T: TLS is different, and better, are:
  • None of the crappy random encounters - if you wish to avoid enemies, you may.

  • Progression of other characters in your party is secondary; the focus will be on getting Thor more powerful so that he can reestablish his godhood.

  • This will be a new and unique look into the Norse mythology, which admittedly, has been established very little in any previous game.

  • The story will be very important in guiding the player through the game, but it will not be simply a movie that you occasionally get to interact with. Cut-scenes will be kept to a minimum, and used only to drive through a specific part of the story. The rest will be described through the actions of the player. The focus will be kept on gameplay, and allowing the player to evolve, learn, and grow as he/she progresses in the game.

Game Design
Expanded Game Concept
The game is meant to follow the adventures of Thor. The game will begin with a movie scene showing the god Loki stealing Thor’s powers and banishing him to Midgard, the realm of mortals. Thor then awakes in the wilderness, unarmed, alone, and weak (in comparison to his former self). He will travel to the nearest village, gather some basic equipment, and learn of where the first piece (or perhaps all the pieces) of his legendary equipment has gone. If we do the latter, the player will be allowed to choose which piece he goes after first, adding an additional choice for the player to make, which allows for more freedom and sense of controlling one’s own destiny.

During his travels, Thor will meet many heroes of Norse legend, such as Beowulf, Sigmund, and Gunnar; the player can choose to have them join his party (or not). He will encounter the dwarf brothers, Brokk and Eiti, who will help guide Thor to his equipment, and provide him and his party with better gear. Also, at certain points in the game, Thor will be approached by Valkyries, that may also join his party. He will seek the help and guidance of other gods, like Odin, Njord, Tyr, and others.

Since it is an adventure RPG, the character will fight monsters and overcome obstacles that give him experience points. Experience Points (XP) will measure the progress of Thor in Character Levels (CL). As he and his party gain levels, they become more powerful. When Thor reaches a specific CL (say 50), then he will have become powerful enough to claim godhood again, and be that much closer to confronting Loki. Monsters will range in power from weak to very powerful, and depend on the power of Thor and his group. There will be specific “boss-type” monsters – Loki’s direct underlings - that Thor will have to overcome. These encounters will mark turning points in the game, and help the player measure his progress in the game. I.e. Thor learns that Loki has four powerful monsters guarding his cave, so the player will know that after he defeats those four monsters, then he will have gained access to the cave.

All the characters in the player’s party will be able to level and progress; all of them will also be able to find or purchase better equipment as they journey. I.e. Thor may start with a bung-mallet, but end up with Mjollnir. Or maybe Beowulf joins the party with a plain longsword, but ends up with (the equivalent of) a keen flaming bastard sword +10.

As stated before, the ultimate goal will be for Thor (and his party) to confront Loki and prevent Ragnarok. According to the myth, however, Thor dies, and Ragnarok comes to pass regardless. Perhaps the game will have a twist ending.

Game Structure
The game will be top-down isometric. Battles will be side-screen, with the bad guys on one side and the good guys on the other. It will be only single player, but the player will be able to control a party of interchangeable heroes and valkyries that journey with Thor. The player will advance his characters through leveling and finding/purchasing better equipment. There will be specific items the player has to retrieve in order to beat the game, or even approach Loki's domain.
As the player progresses in the game, it is approaching the coming of Ragnarok. According to legend, Sol and Moon fall from the sky, plunging Midgard into a year of darkness and winter before the apocalypse comes. When this happens in the game, it will help signify the player’s progress as well as add a sense of doom and urgency to the situation.

The levels the character will travel through include open areas between locations, cities where the party may rest and shop, dungeons and ruins that the party will travel through when retrieving the Quest Items (Thor’s hammer, gauntlets, and girdle), and Loki’ s Cavern. The places a player may encounter enemy monsters are anywhere but towns, and more frequently in Loki’s Cavern and the Quest Item dungeons.

The battle system will be turn based, where the player decides the actions of his party, then the round commences and everyone does what they were told.

The core gameplay involves the player controlling Thor, the Hero, and warriors and valkyries, the Hero's Companions. The player will be able to interact with NPCs, and fight or avoid monsters/enemies. The characters will progress through levels and better equipment, and once the player acquires the Quest Items and regains Godhood, then the player can confront Loki and attempt to prevent Ragnarok.

Expanded Gameplay
This was mostly explained up under Expanded Game Concept. So again, Thor will start out mortal. He will have to travel to the nearest village and gather standard equipment, then begin his acquisition of the Quest Items and obtaining Godhood. Along the way he’ll encounter many heroes of Norse legend, as well as Valkyries, who will be allowed to join his party and his quest. The party members will be interchangeable. That is, the player will be able to change which members of his party are Active, and which are Passive. Active members will partake in battles. Passive members will not.

Thor and Co. will battle many monsters, some under the employ of Loki, others, just random creatures with a grudge and a violent disposition. At incremental stages of the game, Thor and Co. will encounter “bosses”; more powerful monsters that serve a specific purpose and work directly for Loki. Monsters that are important enough to have their own names. i.e. Hel, Fenrir, Grendel, Jormungand, and the other nefarious demons from the myths.

After Thor reaches a sufficient level of power (a specific character level), then he will be able to reclaim godhood. Once he has done that, and has also retrieved his equipment (hammer, gauntlets, and girdle), then he and his party will be able to confront Loki and attempt to prevent Ragnarok.

Game Features
Key Game Features
  • You are in control of the coolest god in Norse myth: Thor.

  • Lead Thor and a team of epic heroes and valkyries through hordes of enemies.

  • Encounter old and new acquaintances in your quest: Brokk and Eiti, Heimdall, Odin, Njord, Tyr, and many others.

  • Battle against some of the most nefarious monsters of Norse legend in a dynamic, action-packed adventure fantasy.

  • Improve and evolve your party into the stuff legends are made out of.

  • With hundreds of weapons and spells, and limitless levels, deck out your party with all the coolest accessories, including Thor’s Hammer: Mjollnir.

  • Experience an epic story with semi-decent graphics and hours of gameplay as Thor works towards his ultimate goal: defeat Loki and stop Ragnarok.

Loki, the god of Mischief and Fire, plans to destroy the realms with Ragnarok, the apocalypse. But first, he must get rid of a thorn in his side: Thor. Robbing the god of Thunder's powers and equipment, Loki banishes Thor to Midgard, the realm of Mortals, in an attempt to rid himself of Thor's meddling. Now, Thor must quest across Midgard in search of his equipment, and in pursuit of regaining his stolen powers, and ultimately prevent Ragnarok from coming to pass.

As Thor, you will gather a party of warriors and valkyries from the Norse myths: powerful, legendary heroes, whose powers are at your fingertips. You and your companions will battle through seemingly endless hordes of Loki's monsters, gaining power and gear that will ultimately help you defeat the devious deity. Uncover a lost chapter in the legend of the God of Thunder and Lightning in Thor: The Lost Saga.