Titan Quest Designer Diary #6 - Weaving Mythology into the Story

Iron Lore's Ben Schneider reveals details about Titan Quest's story, and how <i>Braveheart</i> scribe Randall Wallace helped create a rich world to explore.


While you're probably familiar with the ancient Greek myths surrounding Zeus and the other major Olympian gods, odds are you aren't too familiar with the ancient Egyptian gods--or the Chinese ones, either. However, the mythologies of all three regions will all play a major role in Titan Quest, the action role-playing game from Iron Lore Entertainment and publisher THQ that will plop you down into the ancient world as a hero, and you'll have to hack-and-slash your way across a few continents in order to resolve an epic struggle. All the monsters in Titan Quest are taken from mythology, and tying all these different myths together fell to the writers. Iron Lore had some major Hollywood talent help out in this department, as designer Ben Schneider explains. Titan Quest will ship this summer.

Titan Quest's world will come alive thanks in part to Hollywood screenwriter Randall Wallace.
Titan Quest's world will come alive thanks in part to Hollywood screenwriter Randall Wallace.

Tale of a Titan

By Ben Schneider
Designer, Iron Lore

It all begins on a dusty road in ancient Greece, where epic adventure, historical figures and mythical beasts, and secret orders and dangerous mysteries all swirled around the grudge of a battle lost in a former age, before humans mattered, when gods fought against gods, young versus old. The story of the old gods exists in mythologies the world over. "Titan" is the Greek word for them, but you'll find a similar set of tales almost anywhere. The war is always settled; the primal forces are subdued, banished, buried, and the new forces of civilization, the young gods of Olympus or Egypt's Kingdom, come to rule. The door is shut. That's the way things stay... Or do they?

Iron Lore was lucky to have the help of writer Randall Wallace, the man responsible for Braveheart, among other things, in crafting this tale and writing the primary characters you meet in your adventure across the ancient world. The story that resulted is a tale of the side of the humans and the gods versus the titanic league: not just Titans, but the strange mythical beasts who sided with them in the great war of that first age, all but forgotten and banished to the deep forests, caves, and other corners of the world since the gods' reign began. Of course, there's a mystery here I don't want to give away. All the Titans are banished, supposedly. Who would want to return one to the world? And how on Earth would they do it? You'll have to play Titan Quest if you want to know that.

When we set about building the world of Titan Quest, we wanted more than just a main story. What an opportunity! Here we have ancient Greece and Egypt; Mesopotamia, the cradle of civilization; and the Silk Road that carried trade to China; all are rendered in stunning beauty and detail by our artists and content designers. We wanted to do our part to bring this world to life. For example, you'll find Tegea, a small Greek village, early in Titan Quest. But before you ever reach the village, you'll find a man on the roadside who has medicine for sick people there, but needs you to help him get past some satyrs blocking the road. When you finally get to Tegea, you'll learn that people are sick because their spring--their only source of water--has been poisoned. Moving on, you'll find that the larger city of Megara is troubled by the undead, and if you walk around there, more than one person is going to be interested in talking about the problems of their city.

In general, we set about crafting the side quests in Titan quest to serve this role. They're there if you want them. They fill in the world, tell more of the story through the eyes of peasants and high priests, and they offer gold, loot, and experience if you use them as a travel guide to remote and exotic locations in the world of Titan Quest.

It's not enough to kill monsters, but what's your motivation?
It's not enough to kill monsters, but what's your motivation?

Side quests aren't the only things we put in the world. We wrote plenty of people who just want to talk--about life as a farmer, as a scribe, about the monster plague that has cast a shadow over all the land and their doubts and their fears for the future. A philosopher in Athens will talk to you about Greek philosophy, and his thoughts on the monster threat. A seasoned trader on the Silk Road talks about the trade, the lands he's seen and the hardships he's faced. Everyone you can talk to has a lot to say. You can talk to them again and again to hear them explain, complain, or spin one more theory.

The final touch on the talking world of Titan Quest are the storytellers. In ancient times, before movies, radio, or television, entertainment in a town or village meant two things: Music or storytelling. It was exactly this sort of bard, by the name of Homer, who composed The Odyssey and The Iliad, vast, complicated poems telling myths of war and adventure. These were the Greek summer blockbusters. In Titan Quest, you can find storytellers like these in just about every major town. If you care to, you can sit and listen to the tale of Hermes or Osiris or Sun Wukong for a moment, before marching off to earn your own place in songs and tales of the true champions, the great heroes of legend.

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