The time is out of joint; O cursed spite,
That ever I was born to set it right!
- Hamlet, Act 1 Scene 5 (Hamlet)
Hamlet was one of our first captains. We designed him with the goal that players will go through the same trials that Hamlet does in the literature: coming into conflict with themselves over their fear of being too early or too late to strike.
For context: the story of Shakespeare’s Hamlet is about a young man who must overcome his mental paralyses to fulfill the wishes of his deceased father and enact vengeance upon his uncle. Of course, the struggle with Hamlet is that his sharp wit and astute analysis combine with his existential issues to lead him into a proverbial hall of mirrors. His wilderness is of his own design. He must take decisive action, but his melancholy and doubt paints him into a mental labyrinth with only a glimmer of hope at the end pulling him through.
We convey this backstory through the simple mechanic of secretly marking a player, and making it your goal to kill them. Your mark knows that someone’s out to get them, but they don’t know which player it is. They can’t publicly reveal that someone is after them, either, or else they’ll be in an even worse spot.
...but, as Hamlet, you can’t just directly attack them, either. First you must sow some kind of chaos to prevent them from calling you out and making things impossible for you. You must wait until their health gets lower from other causes, or until you have built up your own strength.
When playing as Hamlet, we know you don’t have to wait for the perfect moment, nor are you guaranteed to feel fear or stress over proper timing and remaining innocuous until the last second. Ideally, though, the mechanics make the plot emerge on its own. And then you’re (hopefully!) pulled into the same emotional hurdles as Hamlet throughout those 12 rounds.
When drawing his concept art I wanted to make someone who looked very slow to act! So his first incarnation was of a sad slug. Once Bo took over the art, we decided that a sloth would look way cooler, and that he should also have Yorick’s skull. While the dagger isn’t accurate to Hamlet’s story in a direct sense (Hamlet is more of a sword user) the dagger has better imagery of a planned and sudden strike.
The sloth is an improvement for sure, but I’m also definitely gonna use the emo snail aesthetic for future games.
And that’s the story of Hamlet. If you’d like to know the backstory of any particular captain, comment below to put in your vote for who we should cover next!
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