Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Dance of Seven Veils

Tale of Tales, the Gent-based studio that received high praise for their pioneering work in this year’s indie game revelation, THE PATH, has officially announced their next oeuvre. Borrowing a story from the Holy Bible, more precisely from a late nineteenth century version by Oscar Wilde, FATALE will be a realtime interactive vignette directly inspired by a series of romantic paintings from the same period. Recounting the story of Salomé, the maiden who demanded the head of John The Baptist as a reward for performing an erotic dance for her stepfather, the mighty King Herod, this new project is set to be released on October 5th this year.

Considering Wilde’s version of the events concerning the character Salomé, banished from the stages for over 50 years until its actual premiere in England on the year of 1931, the game will explore the theme of femme-fatale, the deadly woman luring men to their demise by means of their sensuality. Contrary to the early descriptions of the Holy Scriptures, the Irish author’s version unveils Salomé’s true feeling towards John The Baptist, for whom she eventually falls in love, culminating in a last moment where she kisses his head after decapitation – considered by many as a blatant display of necrophilia.

The official announcement page also underlines the existing tie between the fictional Salomé and the Moon, a symbol associated to the pagan goddess Cybele, equally obsessed with preserving her virginity and taking pleasure in the destruction of male sexuality. Unveiling their personal interpretation of the story, Auriea Harvey and Michaël Samyn stated in their press release:

We're interested in the idea of a love story that ends in death, but we also want to include other elements of the tale. The fact, for instance, that Salomé may have been just an insecure girl who was manipulated by her mother, Queen Herodias -who then ends up becoming the real "femme fatale". We're also very sensitive to the political tension that underlies the tale: a Middle Eastern country -Judea- occupied by Westerners -Romans- at a time of religious unrest -the birth of Christianity. And this girl, Salomé, just has the head chopped off of one of the most important figures of the time. On a whim, apparently, or for unrequited love, changing the course of history.

The production of FATALE will regroup familiar names from THE PATH’s ensemble: Laura Raines Smith, as character animator; Gerry De Mol as composer of the dance music; as well as Jarboe and Kris Force in the voice acting and soundscape department. The greatest surprise on the credits list, however, comes from the character design artist whose name remains a secret for the time being – although I can assure that Tale of Tales has managed to establish a professional relationship with one of the industry’s top authorities on the creation and modeling of digital characters.

FATALE, albeit being described as a production of similar scale to THE GRAVEYARD, is already fated to become one of the most important and divisive games released this year - or, as the creators would fittingly describe it, a work of realtime art.


niL said...

Cool! Very interesting story as well. I wonder if they would adopt that Levy-Dhurmer pastel as a model! That would be amazing. Anything's possible, right?

Dieubussy said...

Thank you for your visit.

You could be right. In the press release, Tale of Tales mentioned that they will be taking inspiration from late 19th century painters. Perhaps the use of this Lévy-Dhurmer painting in Fatale's website was intentional?