What goes into the title of a game? Why Nocked! True Tales of Robin Hood? That's an easy answer: Witcher 3 was already taken.
Honestly, names are some of the more difficult things for me to write, and titles doubly so. A title carries an enormous amount of responsibility: It has to be evocative; it has to be catchy; ideally, it should roll off the tongue in casual conversation, be optimized for Internet search engines and look pretty in whatever typeset you choose. In short, unless you have the name recognition of a certain author of books about child wizards, it needs to sell the idea of the product to an unknowing populace. No big deal, right?
Believe it or not, I came up with about 100 different names for this game. Sherwood Green made it sound like I was selling paint. Free Men of the Bow left that other gender in a lurch. Nocked packs a satisfying verbal punch, but while I associate it with archery (specifically, the act of placing the arrow on the bowstring), one might think it's actually making noise on a door (knocked) or the preamble to that movie from several years ago (Knocked Up).
Enter the subtitle, slayer of ambiguity: True Tales of Robin Hood. Now we know that this is a story, maybe many stories, and it's about the great outlaw. True Tales, additionally, lends itself to multiple meanings - it could read as a series of stories, or paradoxically, as different versions of the same story that are all true. The variability of the subtitle, the way it shifts when you hold it up to the light, is what I like so much about it.
Nocked! True Tales of Robin Hood. Go ahead and say it with me. Sounds like a game I'd like to play.
The Saga of Marian and the Sheriff continues...
Marian finds herself in a forgotten tomb
I pick up the sword, perfectly balanced, practically dancing in my hand. My candlelight ripples across the blade like moonlight on a summer-still lake, the wolf's-head pommel cast into darkness, forever in pursuit.
I pause a moment, but no ghostly knight rises from the tomb; no skeletal guardian challenges my presence. Nothing untoward happens. All unexpected, I am free to go.
I step to the stairwell. Unexpectedly, worn stone steps lead both up and down. Up must certainly lead back to the castle proper. Down... Nottingham castle is built on an upthrust spur of rock. It was not the first such castle, and was built upon the ruins of older fortresses - Viking, Roman, and Celt. I do not know what lies beneath the earth.
My candle will not last forever...
- I take the stairs up.
- I take the stairs down.
Marian's decision at this juncture has been made. To continue her adventures, check out the latest dev blog and vote on her current actions. Read the entire adventure starting July 26th.
This is the Nocked! True Tales of Robin Hood development blog. Every week I’ll discuss some aspect of the game’s development, show off some art, and give you the opportunity to create an entirely new Robin Hood story. Be sure to check out the butler's take on the Sheriff of Nottingham, occasionally updated @ManOfNottingham, and mention us in your tweets with #whosyourrobin.