World's End: Languages

Having an interest in various aspects of language stretching all the way back to elementary school, I almost inevitably had to try to wedge this bizarre passion of mine into World's End.

Despite a certain co-developer's insistence that I'm an incorrigible devotee of his, I am not Tolkien, and I was certainly never about to go crafting a bunch of languages out of nowhere!

I reached a certain point in the development of World's End where I thought it'd be best to simply use real-world languages as stand-ins to allow fans to easily differentiate the cultures of the Valelands.

What about writing, though? It doesn't factor much into World's End at all, but I thought it would create a greater sense of immersion to give the culture groups unique scripts that I could toss little bits of into background art, or wherever else.

So I went ahead and gave the two primary cultures the characters interact with a couple of writing systems.

First came the Khiendai script. Since I'd decided to represent them as quasi-Russian Vikings, linguistically and otherwise, giving them a writing system with runic letters seemed the obvious thing to do. I couldn't resist adding a touch of Cyrillic influence while I was at it.

With the Bronoi, I figured them as being a more “settled” culture, and therefore felt it best to give them a less rigid script, like they'd been refining their alphabet via pen and parchment for longer centuries than their western neighbors.

Nonetheless, the Voronese script does contain some influence from Niendan runes. In more real-world terms, my own influence with their script comes in part from the obscure Shavian alphabet, which I thought had an interesting underlying structure, and which looked nice on top of that.

I should mention the impetus for this post: our last entry invoked a question regarding the origin of the character names in World's End. This got me to thinking about other linguistic elements of the game, and as I'd been looking for a flimsy excuse to post the Voro and Khiendai scripts for a while, this is the dire result.

Is self-quoting too pretentious for existence? Well, whatever. I may as well post my response for a broader audience to see: 

“My main concern was coming up with names that I found aesthetically pleasing. With human characters, the names also needed to fit their stand-in languages, with many deliberately constructed from Slavic or Germanic root words. There are a few instances of enemies' names being chosen around a theme: certain monks being named after (in)famous televangelists is a good example. There's numerous allusions to literature or video games too, but with most of these references, and many of the names in general, I'm just having fun.”

— Complacent


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