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The enemy AI will be adept; no single opponent, regardless of species or weapon used, will be a pushover. This game is meant to take a realistic approach on combat while maintaining an arcade feel. Enemies will take cover when under fire - prizing their own lives over making the player feel like the God of War games like Call of Duty and Battlefield do - communicate with allies effectively and execute tactics with coordination, be accurate in firing their weapons, be skilled in melee if they are a melee unit, won't dismiss the player's movement as mere imagination when the player is attempting to sneak past, and will know when the battle is lost. Compensating for the script-heavy AI there will not be hordes of enemies swarming to meet the player, but a realistic amount, each presenting a formidable challenge unless the player plays his or her cards right.
One of the most important features of combat is that armour will reduce damage. If a bullet lands on the armour of an enemy, NPC, or the player model, its damage is reduced by at least 50%, the highest total reduction being 100%.
Keigh guns have higher damage than human weapons, this is because they are traditionally designed to be used against the carnivores and subsequently are more powerful and utilise a higher calibre of bullet. Humans can use Keigh guns, but the recoil is far greater. The larger Keigh cannot use human guns because their hands are too large for them, and the same applies to Keigh attempting to pilot human vehicles. Carnivores will not use any form of modern technology because it is against their beliefs. However, they will accept aid from technology-bearing factions. For example: a carnivore tribe member may ride in a helicopter or jeep but never will they drive or pilot the vehicle, and a carnivore will accept medical aid the involves the use of a highly technological device but never will they treat themselves or others with it.
Like in Far Cry there will be not only conquerable outposts but villages, forts, and even (and most difficult and lengthy) cities. But unlike Far Cry one cannot just simply walk in guns blazing - to conquer any kind of settlement the player must have access to a certain number of resources. These resources are Manpower, Vehicles, and Supplies. Manpower decides how many troops will be deployed, Vehicles decides how many vehicles will be deployed, and Supplies decide how much support can be called upon as well as the initial ammunition count. It is important to note that no settlement requires the player to have a set amount of each resource, but the balance of power will vary; the player can still win the fight even if he or she is the last person standing. Settlements are conquered by capturing or destroying a series of objectives, or reducing the enemy's Manpower count to 0, similar to Battlefield's "Conquest" and "Rush" game modes.
During the first half of the game the resources are readily available to the player and so most settlements may be a pushover. The first conquests are guided: a large scale tutorial introducing the player to the mechanics of conquering a settlement, and showing the player the Balance Of Power meter doesn't need to favour the player's faction to take the settlement - sneaking is still an option. However, the second half of the game will feature no hand-holding: it will trust the player knows everything, and resources are limited. The only way to gain resources is to do side quests. These side quests include the liberation of POWs, the theft of tanks, helicopters, and other vehicles, and the raiding of supply convoys and ammunition dumps.
If X amount of helicopters have been gained through side quests, then only X amount will be present, and the same goes for tanks and infantry: the player's faction could have 456 infantry available. 200 of those may be human soldiers, 100 may be Keigh archers, and the remainder may be Keigh melee units.
Only infantry can seize objectives. Helicopters would circle around the settlement providing fire support and/or deploying infantry to taken objectives. Ground vehicles may be armoured and resistant to small arms fire, but are susceptible to hijacking and are vulnerable in close quarters. An artillery strike is only able to be called once an objective has been lost for gameplay purposes. Supply drops are made by helicopter and contain infinite ammunition for all types of weapons, but how many can be called is dependent on the Supply resource.
An assault on a settlement can be declared via a map in any friendly settlement. Some settlements, though, can only be taken if the game story has reached a certain part, but an assault can only be conducted on a settlement on the frontline. Settlements can also be assaulted by the enemy, and possibly retaken if the player does not respond in time and/or the player's faction lacks the necessary resources to repel the assault. There is a possibility that the second half of the game may end with the defeat of the player's faction, and the player himself or herself dead.
Civilians are also potential casualties, and will constitute squad members' reactions towards the player.
Populating the game world will be an entire ecosystem of wild animals, all of which will have realistic behaviour. Herbivores graze the plains and trees and the predators hunt the herbivores, and occasionally the player and NPCs. Predators will only hunt when they are hungry but may kill anything that strays into their territory unless the supposed victim is too large. Herding herbivores will take flight from potential threats, while family groups will make a stand, and solitary creatures may attack if the player or other NPCs who come too close. However, all animals will stay away from large battles and readily flee from explosions.
Within the streets of the herbivorous Keigh city-states, the palisades of the carnivore tribes, the barriers of the UNCR military outposts, and the ancient stone walls of Korsis, there will be a believable amount of life - nothing compared to Skyrim's emptiness. The planet of Tavorkan is home to approximately thirty million Keigh; it must look and feel like it. Citizens of the city-states may be standing in the streets talking, or buying or selling from shops, enjoying the parks, calling friends, having disputes, or having breakfast, lunch or dinner at cafés or their own home. Troops in the UNCR could also be talking amongst themselves, maintaining the guns, patrolling the vicinity of the base, loading ammunition, servicing stationary vehicles, or messing around during their downtime. Tribe members might be joining a public breakfast or lunch or dinner, weaving cloth padding for the warriors, a bracelet or necklace, maintaining their weapons bet it a sword, spear, club, knife or bow and arrows, talking with other members, bickering, or hunting food for the tribe.
Undoubtedly a lot of animation would be required, and skilled animators to created them.
Throughout the game there will be snap moral decisions of several types: obvious (the options are laid out for the player), obscured (one or more options are not immediately apparent), and subconscious (how the player plays affects the outcome). Examples of the former two are abundant in Spec Ops: The Line. An example of the latter would be present within the first mission of the game: while chasing down fleeing enemies, one of the player's squad members guns down any of the enemies possible. The player can choose to fire too, in which case one or two other squad members may see rage being a prominent characteristic. This action will also be reminded to the player after the first half of the story is completed. The intended impact of the action is to have the player consider how morally correct she or he really is, similar to Spec Ops: The Line.
The player's squad will not be generic killing machines, but vocal regarding their own moral views, and will treat the player as either a friend or a potential enemy depending on the choices he or she has made throughout the campaign. But for all barring one of two, their relationship towards the player will come to nought as the second half of the game begins.
During the second half a romantic relationship can be formed with an NPC - in no way will it be forced upon the player - the player can choose to skip the relationship entirely. Choices made in the field will work the same with in the romance as it does with squad members; the player's good or bad deeds will travel throughout the civilian population. Furthermore, the player can decide to take time off from the campaign to focus on improving the relationship; essentially go on dates. If this is the case, these "dates" must not feel like chores, but completely fulfilling and voluntary activities, and the character must react accordingly.
In some way this romance, pursued or otherwise, will have an effect on the main story, but in what way is yet to be discovered.
Gained through various methods, including bartering with shop owners, rescuing POWs, successfully assaulting a settlement, and possibly general exploration, collectables may provide interesting details regarding the lore of the game, the background behind the carnivorous tribes and herbivorous city-states and other minor factions, certain important figures both living and deceased, and may be significant to particular characters.
For example, after liberating POWs, the player may possibly find a spare audio player, after having lost his or her own at the beginning of the second half of the game. While it may only have a certain set of songs, perhaps belonging only to one genre, more songs can be gained by talking with the soldiers the player has liberated. These songs can also be shared with the romance character.
Keigh scholars debate when carnivorous civilisation began. As it is known that it took many hundreds of years for the effects of the ability to talk to come into evolutionary effect, the best approximation for the first group, rather a "superpack", to emerge has been placed at 38,000 BCE, around about the same time as the Precursor Symbols. The reason for this is based on archaeological evidence of large quantities of bones from carnivores of varying species in a dig in the vicinity of the Sveuru Mountains. Whether the group had learned to talk or not will never be known.
Not much effort has actually been put towards the discovery, or rediscovery, of the origins of the carnivores' culture by the herbivores, partly because it is suspected that the most valuable sites are within carnivorous territory but mostly due to the lack of interest in the topic. Any attempted expedition would have to be supported by an armed escort, but it is known that a large force is needed to combat an uncountable numerous foe. Subsequently any Keigh archaeologist that would want to study the carnivores are only able to do so by what remains of the camp sites after a sweep through by the city-state armies. Most objects that case are burned or broken beyond repair.
What is known is that all carnivores harbour a bitter resentment for all herbivorous kind; taking advantage of any ill-equipped farming village they find so that they can kill either for the joy or for the meat from the corpses they create. This in turns fuels the hate of the herbivores, consequently generating a perpetual loop of revenge raids and attacks until, without words traded, the conflicts eventually subside. And then the waiting begins for the next attack.
Their mastery of stealth and guerrilla warfare has made any advance into their home ranges a dangerous and often fatal affair, and they are effective at concealing the true strength of their force until it is too late. This concealment extends into the warriors themselves, for any who have been captured are extremely selective in what they say and usually try to escape where possible, many of whom succeed.
Common anatomy amongst the Keigh, regardless of species, goes as follows: a Keighir has two feet each with three toes and two hands each with three fingers and a single opposable thumb. They have two eyes and two ears, two nostrils and one mouth, and a flexible tail. Their skin is smooth but tough, and all are capable of facial expression. They are bipedal and digitigrade in posture. Smaller Keigh have there spines at a horizontal level while the larger ones are halfway between horizontal and upright. Carnivores, omnivores, and piscivores have dewclaws partway up their feet, and all have canine teeth, but only the omnivores have molars, like herbivores. Some herbivores have hard beaks rather than lips and teeth. These herbivores can still perform facial expression, but no smiling, and find it difficult to properly pronounce certain words - specifically those with a B, P, or W sound in them.
The governing body of a tribe is that of the chief; a warrior who has proven himself or herself to be the strongest out of all the others in the tribe - who has decisively led troops to victory on multiple occasions, has slain at least fifty enemies single-handedly, and has suffered and survived the most potent poisons found in the wilderness. If a chief is in power, it is only by the completion of these trials that a challenger to the chief may be presented. The two combatants then take part in a ritual fight to the death over who controls the tribe, and there are no rules: even if one has used sand to distract an opponent or has used a poisoned blade and wins, it is considered a smarter move that the other should have thought about.
When all is over, and one of the opponents is dead, the loyalty of the tribe is bestowed upon the victor. Also bestowed upon the chief is the right to choose a member of the opposite gender that does not having a mating partner to be his or her mating partner. Though whether the bond results in offspring is without consequence, as chiefdom does not pass from father or mother to son or daughter, it is seen as a right to reproduce.
This right extends to all tribe members and across all species: a Kakaro may choose an Ilsavo to be his or her lifelong partner even if they are too genetically different to have young. Love is seen as a universal concept created by Lam that can and is supposed to cross any kind of barrier, and none should dictate who one should or should not love. Consequently, any sexuality is accepted.
A tribe may consist from about twenty individuals to as many as three hundred in a single camp, but a chief may hold authority over many tens of camps, easily bringing the number of warriors under his or her command into the thousands. Each camp is merely a series of huts or tents made with what materials are readily available and are never totally planned out; but a common feature amongst all carnivorous tribes is that the chief's tent and main fire pit are always in the centre, for both are highly prized. Tribe members can enter any area of the camp without hindrance and usually talk to whomever they like without fear of being denied conversation, even to the chief.
Laws are not set in stone - per se - they are unspoken, mutual agreements between two parties, for example; any member of any one tribe, juvenile or adult, would know that taking another's property without their permission is wrong, even if the owner never uses it or they intended to return it once they'd finished. Thievery, as well as other minor crimes, hardly ever occurs, but the outcome is usually the thief being pardoned - there is a reason for every action, and if the reason is good enough the crime is excusable. More serious offences, like murder, are also rare but if there is no evidence or there are no witnesses to support either the accuser or the accused then guilt is decided by a Trial by Ordeal. Lam is believed to favour the innocent and will heal any injury done to them when deciding guilt.
The tribes are constantly sparking and ending conflicts with one another, usually over the claim to territory, but in some cases the goal is resource acquisition - a group will raid a settlement of what they can carry and flee with as minimal lives being lost as possible. But, rather quite remarkably, no tribe is reported to have been completely wiped out; the chief and an amble amount of warriors and civilians are always kept alive. The exact reason for this is unclear, at least to the herbivores, but they are not ones to delve too deep into the motivations of the enemy.
Their settlements are protected by an array of traps that serve just as well in warding off attackers as they do in catching prey. Palisades, gateways, and earthworks are also a common feature to a village, preventing ground forces from easily seizing the encampment.
A chief of a tribe doubles as the supreme leader of the troops he or she commands, and is expected to participate in battle to maintain that he or she is the strongest of the tribe. The chief is also expected to have memorised the landscape in which the tribe lives without error so that they can disappear as easily as they can make themselves visible, force the enemy into unforseen chokepoints, and understand that the environment can kill just as easily as an axe or sword. Chiefs are masterful warriors, usually having years upon years of experience honed their mind to make combat completely instinctual.
The carnivorous tribes believe that being a warrior is the epitome of existence, for a warrior is living the greatest life possible - thus close to the God of Life and Good - while reaping the spirits of his or her foes too soon - harnessing the power of the God of Evil - and is ready to die at any time - ready to meet the God of Death. Before formal combat tribe members take part in praising the Gods for all that they have given them. They do this through dances and singing and, if the occasion permits, drums and whistles, although it is believed that the body is all that is needed to call upon the Gods.
As it has been for thousands of years, the attire of a tribal warrior has not changed: padded cloth underneath unique hardwood armour and shields that are so dense they can stop a bullet at a distance. Wooden swords, arrows, and axes with sharp obsidian edges, clubs with stone heads, and daggers with blades of obsidian with handles and guards made of stone. Chiefs often use special wooden greatswords that are lined with the teeth of enemies they have killed in conjunction with ceremonial helmets that give the illusion of tusks protruding from the mouth.
Perhaps the greatest disadvantage of being a part of one of the tribes is the constant need to stick to tradition: the tribes do not condone the use of firearms, even one was the only weapon available, and anyone who is proven to have an interest in herbivore technology is banished. The reason for the punishing of curiosity is that guns are considered evil weapons as they were invented by their sworn enemies, and to use one is thought to be taking a step down the same path that led the herbivore to become who they are. In the majority of the carnivores' eyes the only way to overcome their foe is to degrade them - show them that despite all their technological advancements they simply cannot best strength, wit, and courage. However, this has not stopped them from accepting the help of herbivore deserters who have somehow come to the conclusion that fighting for the survival of their age-old enemy is a more just cause.
There are three Gods in tribal religion: Lam, the God of Life and Good, Yam, the God of Evil, and Xent, the God of Death. Mythology states that Lam gave every piece of her body to create Tavorkan, its inhabitants, and the attributes that make the Keigh sentient. But by doing so Lam unintentionally created a mirror to anything good in the world: if there was free thought then there would be those who would abuse it. As Lam had been reduced to nought but her spirit - one of the two suns - she could not battle this evil, and so Yam - the second sun - sits beside her, taunting her for all eternity, and keeping her from her love, Xent, the God of Death - the moon. Xent chases Lam and Yam across the sky but is never able to catch them. But he is not without comfort, for Lam sends Xent gifts in the form of all forms of life, and Xent keeps them forever in the night sky.
Religion has dominated the lives of the carnivores for as long as the herbivores had the means and knowledge to write and record. Their rituals and ceremonies correlate with celestial and terrestrial events and are closely associated with such times. One such event is "Tov Hel ed tov Ubvoleknar (The Time of the Great Hunt)", also known as "Tov Hel ed Xent'a Opan (The Time of Xent's Sadness)", in which the moon starts to waver in light. It is believed that Xent's life is only so by the amount of souls he keeps in the night sky, and that this time is representative that there has been very little death. This period of the year is characterised by an increase of violence and hostility between the herbivores and carnivores and is hoped by the tribes to produce enough souls so that Xent can return to full glory once more.
Criticism is tolerated to a degree over the existence of the three Gods, but a continued debate is believed to invoke a curse from Yam upon the critic.
As the carnivores have always separated themselves from the herbivores for obvious reasons as well as the continued resentment for their kind, their technological abilities have almost always been lower than the herbivores. This has prevented them from gaining any of the more modern art styles such as photography and motion picture, but this does not trouble the tribes. Wooden carvings, stone sculpture, and cave paintings are all the mainstream forms of art in the carnivorous world. Art is used to tell the story of the greatest battles, most impressive victories, crushing losses, moral stories, and the mythology about Lam, Yam and Xent. Coloured paint is a prominent feature in carnivorous art.
Metallurgy is prized, but said to be limited to a few select sites where the required materials are close to the surface. The ability to mine such resources has not been too thoroughly focussed on over the many thousands of years the carnivores have had the opportunity to, most likely because stones, hardwood, and volcanic glass have done them good so far but perhaps also because they have always been in conflict both with themselves and the herbivores and had no time to improve the same techniques.
Body art is also a noticeable art form amongst tribes, but is usually only applied before going into battle. The paint is only applied to the body so that it is hidden from obvious view by the cloth and armour worn by a warrior but noticeable enough to determine who is proficient in what role in battle - colour is dictated by the class of the warrior. These what role each colour represents and the patterns they are applied in vary from tribe to tribe: the colour for a chief may represent the colour for an archer in another tribe.
Trade in carnivorous civilisation is a key factor in maintaining the tribes. The economy is a mixed capitalist/barter system combining free trade and direct government control over areas considered vital to the population. Tribal trade functions on a simple supply and demand theory.
Although the carnivorous tribes are carnivorous, it has not stopped them from becoming accustomed to the taste of certain unorthodox foods. Economic activities centre around items of food like meats, certain fruits and vegetables, mineral and floral spices, herbs, gum - a rare commodity found only in the heart of the jungles - raw materials like limestone, obsidian, gold, precious jewels and gems; and manufactured goods like animal pelts, paper-like substances, decorative weapons and armour, head dresses, carvings of wood and stone, toys, and occasionally furniture. Some of these tribes have turned their campsites into small permanent towns due to being the ideal location for a trading hub, subsequently being able to feed themselves without having to hunt.
Services are also a valuable commodity - hunters can advertise their techniques and teach them to entire tribes at a price. The construction of certain fortifications would not be possible without the aid of hired advisors who study the landscape and decide the best mode of defence. Stelae carved by employed stoneworkers from stone pillars are used to denote the boundaries of a tribe's claim to land.
If a deal cannot be bartered, a sale or purchase is made with perfectly spherical gold pieces acting as currency.
The herbivorous city-states have only ever known the music and songs the carnivores play and dance to before going into battle. This is by no means the sole extent of the tribes' musical applications. Song and dance are used to tell the stories of ages past of both good and bad events, usually with some kind of moral or tactical lesson at the end of the performance. Music plays a vital role in ceremony and ritual, particularly in older times when two chiefs did battle to settle tribal disputes.
There is no specific pattern any one song or piece of music has to another - each tribe, once again, has differing customs. Some may include instruments only while others may include voices only, but most have a mix of voice and instrumentation.
Drums, flutes, trumpets, rattles, and whistles are all common sights in a musical performance, and any performance without such instruments would be unthinkable: how can one expect to be taken away by music if there is no music? It is because of this reason that musical directors and composers are held with high esteem within the tribes.
Dance has a great importance in amongst the carnivores. Perhaps the most detailed of all scriptures ever written from the Keigh are tribal scripts and books describing how one should dance during all the ceremonies, rituals, and festivals in the calendar. These scriptures also detail the importance of the dance, what the aim of the dance is, and how it may affect the Gods and or coming days of the year.
Dances are often characterised by the transformation of a Keigh into the basest he or she can possibly become; taken over by pure instinct while still having enough control to prevent harm befalling the others around them. Sometimes these dances are meant to be viewed through the hallucinogenic effects of poisons or natural substances, and even the dancers themselves can take these substances to aid them in becoming what many carnivores believe to be their "true selves". Masks and costume are only used when dancers are trying to represent something they do not bear resemblance to, like a mythical beast or hero or villain.
Health and medicine within the tribes is a complex blend between mental and physical wellbeing, religion, ritual, and science. Cures are tested and debated long and hard until a finalised product is made and subsequently immediately shared amongst all other tribes even if the other tribes may be enemies. A healer has studied many years with other healers being taught how to deal with sicknesses and injuries appropriately, sterilise patients and surgical equipment of contaminants with naturally available materials and substances, create antivenin, understand the anatomy of carnivores, and what to say when praying to the Gods that the life of the patient may be saved.
Healers are the considered the least spiritual of all the carnivores as they have been taught that illness is caused by pathogens, not by the Gods, but still hold Lam, Yam, and Xent as almighty beings that must be respected. Healers are not to be mistaken with shamans, who act solely as the direct voice to and from the Gods.
Cures include many different herbal remedies that can be ingested, snorted, smoked, or rubbed into the skin, bloodletting, sweating, fasting, purging substances from the body by acts of vomiting or evacuating the bowels, and artificially induced sleep.
Mental illnesses like dementia and depression require many extended visitations by a healer to totally cure and it is encouraged by the healer for the whole tribe to contribute in the effort no matter how tedious the process may be.