Welcome to game proposals, where we outline a video game we’d like to see developed and make a case for its release. Developers, take note!
Deltora Quest is the collective name of three series of short novels by Australian author Emily Rodda. The first series contains eight books; the second has three; and the third is comprised of four.
What’s striking about Deltora Quest is that its structure is very much that of a video game. It has the expansive world of Deltora, complete with maps, and even its own very distinctive and unique art-direction thanks to the cover illustrations of Marc McBride.
The party of Lief, Barda and Jasmine embark on three separate quests, where in each book they travel through towns, meet new races, conquer a dungeon, defeat a boss and obtain a collectible.
Deltora Quest is just begging to be made into a game, and an adaption of the first Deltora Quest was actually made for the Nintendo DS, but remained exclusive to Japan. There’s also been manga and anime incarnations, but what we want to see is a dedicated trilogy of Deltora Quest role-playing games, with one game for each of the three book series.
Whether the games would share their design with the anime characters or go a new route would need to be decided, but one thing we’d want to see remain from the anime is the catchy title theme. Nevertheless, here’s how the potential game trilogy would pan-out.
Deltora Quest I: The Seven Gems
In the original journey our trio must collect the seven gems of Deltora: the
diamond, emerald, lapis lazuli, topaz, opal, ruby, and amethyst. By collecting the gems and adding them to the Belt of Deltora, they will be able to restore power to the lost line of kings and take Deltora back from the Shadow Lord.
Each gem contains special powers that aid along their quest like game items and help them overcome the many puzzles and challenges as they rid the land of the devastation caused by the Shadow Lord. The first seven books have a very methodical game-like formula.
To collect each gem they must travel to a new location, a dungeon, and defeat the gem’s guardian. First is Gorl in the Forests of Silence; then Soldeen at the Lake of Tears; Reeah in the City of the Rats; the Hive amongst the Shifting Sands; the Gellick upon Dread Mountain; the Glus in the Maze of the Beast; and finally, The Guardian in the Valley of the Lost.
Between each gem and location there are riddles to overcome, land to explore, towns to visit, and obstacles to overcome. At one stage they find themselves having to compete in the Rithmere Games, a barbaric combat tournament. At another time they must escape from the thirteen monstrous children of the Sorceress Thaegan, and at another time they must recover the all-important belt which has been stolen by pirates.
With the gems reunited comes the eighth book, where they must also reunite each of the tribes corresponding with the gems, and rally them to take back the capital city of Del. Complete with plenty of plot twists, the party and their allies defeat the Shadow Lord’s chief minions, who would be the game’s final bosses, and drive his forces back to the Shadowlands.
Deltora Quest II: The Pirran Pipe
The tribes and their appointed royalty may have reclaimed Deltora, but a large number of Deltorians remain imprisoned and enslaved in the Shadowlands. The next three books are Lief, Barda and Jasmine’s quest to infiltrate the enemy’s territory and liberate their citizens.
To do this they’ll need to reunite the Pirran Pipe, the music of which is said to be the only thing the Shadow Lord ever feared. The pipe is divided into three pieces, held by three tribes living in a massive subterranean sea in the caverns beneath Deltora.
Our heroes travel first to the Cavern of the Fear to seek a piece of the pipe from the Plumes. They find what they’re looking for, but only once they defeat the Fear. The second piece comes from the Aurons upon the Isle of Illusion after defeating the Arach.
The third piece comes more easily from the Isle of Kerras, before they then need to find themselves a Piper to help them invade the Shadowlands with the power of the Pirran Pipe. After their mission of stealth turns vicious within the Shadow Arena, the slaves are freed and flee back to Deltora, where the reunited pipe can once again fend off the Shadow Lord’s schemes.
Deltora Quest III: The Four Sisters
Even with the Shadow Lord driven away, and the slaves returned, still the land of Deltora suffers from draught, famine and disease. The Shadow Lord is cunning, and our protagonists discover the full extent of his interwoven contingency plans to punish Deltora within the next four books.
The land continues to be poisoned by four curse stones known as The Four Sisters. The catch is that they can only be destroyed by Deltora’s dragons, long believed to be extinct. Lief, Barda and Jasmine must locate the few hibernating dragons that remain, enlist their help, and finally save Deltora by eliminating the sisters. Of course, each stone sister also has a Guardian and plenty of adventures in store to reach them.
The Four Sisters are scattered in each compass direction. They find the Sister of the East at Dragon’s Nest; the Sister of the North at Shadowgate; the Sister of the West upon The Isle of the Dead, and the Sister of the South within the heart of Del.
Yet poison the land as the sisters may, their song also kept a lid on the final plan of the Shadow Lord. With the sisters quieted, so awakens the Grey Death. The dragons need to be enlisted once again for this final boss fight against a force that threatens engulfing the whole land. With the Grey Death subdued, finally we have peace, and the conclusion of our trilogy.
Spin-Offs and More
With Delotra Quest there’s plenty of potential for a whole gaming franchise, or at least more than just a trilogy, from the wealth of other related books. Tales of Deltora tells the story of the first King, Adin, who originally forged the belt and first united the tribes. His quest is a game in and of itself as he struggles to win over the trust of all seven tribes.
The rest of the history given in Tales of Deltora could be woven throughout the world and non-playable characters within the trilogy, to deepen the immersive myth. So could many of Doran’s adventures in Secrets of Deltora, which could, once again, make yet another game.
Emily Rodda has a vast library of published works, such as the five Rowan of Rin novels or the Rondo Trilogy, which have a similar game-like pacing to them. Rodda’s most recent books, the Three Doors Trilogy, even take place in the same world as Deltora Quest.
There’s plenty of franchising opportunities, no doubt, but for now what we really want to see is just a Deltora Quest role-playing game trilogy for the whole world to enjoy. Make it happen, please.