It's been four years since Lab Zero Games announced Indivisible, an RPG adventure from a studio known previously only for fighting games. It's shaping up to be a big game for the studio, but at the center of the tale is the main character, Ajna. Ajna is a young, headstrong woman from a rural town, and an attack on her home sees her venturing out in the wider world.
Ajna's brash and unthinking nature is played for laughs in certain situation during our demo at PAX West with Indivisible. Reaching Tai Krung City for the first time, Ajna vows to a citizen that she'll help them solve the city's problems. When that citizen notes that Ajna doesn't actually know what the city's problems are being an outsider, she brushes past this fact and barrels forward. According to Indivisible creative director Mariel Cartwright, Ajna's nature is purposeful, an answer to other female characters she's seen in entertainment.
"I personally wanted to tell the story of someone who fucks up. We're in this age—I feel like we're moving a little bit past it—where we have these 'strong female characters,'" Cartwright says. "What that turns into is female characters that don't have flaws. And that's dumb. Women have flaws.
"So we developed Ajna, our main character, and I wanted her to be brash, angry, naive, and kind of dumb sometimes. Over the course of the game, she goes and she makes mistakes, but the thing is that her heart's in the right place. She realizes she screwed up and she tries to make things better. That's the character that I wanted to put out in the world. Someone who's not just this infallible superhero lady. Someone that's kind of goofy, weird, and screws up, and then tries to make it better."
The demo takes place entirely in Tai Krung City, a semi-modern metropolis with neon lights and a populace dealing with local gangs and the drug Ohma. Tai Krung itself looks to be patterned after Thailand, continuing Indivisible's use of other cultures and mythologies for its inspiration, outside of the medieval European that filters into most fantasy.
"We wanted to tell a story in a Southeast Asian-inspired area. It's not mythology and locale that really you see a lot in video games," says Cartwright. "Our concept lead, Alex Ahad, he's Filipino-Burmese. That was something that's very close to home for him, that he wanted to see be a part of this world."
"Your homebase is this Southeast Asian-inspired land, and then the other places you travel to should feel like foreign lands," she adds. "I feel like what we see a lot in games is an English setting, a Western setting, and then you'll travel to Eastern setting and that feels foreign. We wanted to kind of flip it."
Indivisible has a little more time before you'll be able to get your hands on it. It's coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on October 8, 2019, with a future release planned for Nintendo Switch.