In this devlog I thought I’d talk a little bit about how ideas of folklore are involved in The Edgelands. I’ve always had a keen interest in folklore, from the traditional fairy tale type stories to things more rooted in folk customs. In particular the books of George Ewart Evans has been a great inspiration in recent years, and his writings on traditional “farm magic” is great for getting my imagination going.
I’ve lived in rural East Anglia (the place where Evans was mainly writing about) for the better part of a decade, and in my travels around the very flat marshy countryside and woodlands, I’ll often see a ruined farm building, or ominous looking barn which has half collapsed, and wonder what sort of goings on might have occurred there, or even still do occur there.
Photo of mysterious metal shed – what lurks in there?
I’ve described The Edgelands as a game about real and imagined folklore. The real folklore aspect draws on imagery and stories I have read which is floating around in my mind, and comes out in it’s own particular way. As I’ve mentioned in past devlog (and will probably keep on mentioning), I like to keep the supernatural elements of the game quite vague and uncertain, because I think that reflects the ambiguous nature of belief and folklore in the real world, and I like the idea of playing with the players perception in the game by letting them form their own beliefs about what they are seeing. It’s a nice way to keep people on their toes, and hopefully let their own imaginations fill in the gaps a little bit.
Photo of mysterious mossy tyres – quite probably haunted
Part of this involves putting creatures or characters from traditional folk tales into the modern setting of the game, but not drawing attention to in a way that says “Hey look, it’s a TROLL”, but rather suggest that perhaps they might just be a troll, who knows? I’ve drawn on a lot of mainly European folklore for these sorts of characters and creatures, and there is a large amount of traditional superstitions and folkloric figures alluded to in the game for those who are paying attention.
The imagined folklore element is based more on my earlier mentions of seeing those ramshackle dilapidated rural ruins, and draws on wondering what sort of folkloric histories might be found there. I am very interested in the idea that particular parts of the landscape have their own unique feeling, and then trying to imagine what sort of folkloric happenings have contributed to that feeling, and how these two things change as the modern world encroaches on the landscape. It seems to me that an abandoned factory or neglected water tower could be just as likely to be haunted by uncanny denizens as caves or ruined castles.
Pylon & pale sun photo – Uncanny goings on for sure.