Tonight at the Tribeca Games Spotlight, we got to take a closer look at Chants of Sennaar's development.
Julien Moya and Thomas Panuel, the French game designers and co-founders of Rundisc, came to discuss their original idea based on the Tower of Babel.
Chants of Sennaar is about a traveller who embarks to an unknown city, where they meet five different people throughout their ascent. Each people has their own culture, story, and language. They have spent centuries without understanding one another, and this game is all about understanding why these people have been so divided and how you can restore harmony in the tower.
They chose to base Chants of Sennaar on the myth of the Tower of Babel as they wanted to focus on language, and the Tower of Babel is a myth about mankind trying to reach the sky by building the tower. By doing this, they irritated the Gods, who chose to punish them with a curse that made everyone speak different languages. These languages are a puzzle, so words become a key part of the gameplay. In some ways, they are a literal lock and key as you begin to understand more by solving the puzzles.
Chants of Sennaar is mostly an adventure game beyond puzzles, as players can explore the environment and interact with several characters. You can expect action and stealth sequences as you play as a translating diplomat with experience in science. You don't play as a fighter; the protagonist is not a warrior. The protagonist's purpose is to restore peace, so they are there to find alternative solutions to violence. Peace is a key message to the game, and it should show in the gameplay of Chants of Sennaar.
The art direction of Chants of Sennaar was inspired by European comics of the '70s and '80s. They gained more inspiration from various architecture, such as Brutalist, Moorish, and Indian, to create a diverse world. It invites you on a journey of tolerance and openness, where language barriers constrain understanding others and, thus, an obstacle you can overcome by playing.
If you're looking forward to Chants of Sennaar, it will be released on the 5th of September on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Windows.