Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A Norse God’s Own Prototype

Prototypes might be my favorite video game subculture. In this edifying realm, fans with too much free time root through early builds and pore over advance screenshots in search of things that were changed before games were released. Most of this archeology focuses on older titles, but I’m not going to wait when it comes to Valkyrie Profile: Covenant of the Plume, a game I absolutely love. I’m going to turn up speculative trivia while it’s still fresh and pointless.



This screen made the rounds when Covenant of the Plume was announced, and Wikipedia still has it on the game’s page. The curious part of it lies with the characters. The shadowed figure at the center is Wylfred, the one in orange-red armor is Ancel, the mage in the gray hood is Lockswell, the purple-clad girl is Cheripha, and the blue-haired soldier is a generic warrior. The portrait shows Ailyth, Wylfred’s infernally supplied assistant, chattering about the Norse underworld or feathers.

I’ve played through all three branches of Covenant of the Plume’s main quest, and there’s no point where all of these characters appear on the same map. At the risk of spoiling a plot twist, Ancel leaves Wylfred’s company before Ailyth, Cheripha, and Lockswell come along. I’m also fairly certain that the scenery here is from a courtyard that isn’t shown until the third or fourth chapter, when Ancel’s not around. The Seraphic Gate brings together all of the game’s major characters in a frivolous bonus dungeon, but its architecture looks nothing like that paved garden area.

So there’s one entry for the records of divergent early screenshots. And one for proving that I think too much about Valkyrie Profile.