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Chants of Sennaar: video game

strong narrative inspired
strong narrative inspired

Translation has been brilliantly reimagined in Chants of Sennaar as a captivating part of the gaming experience. This innovative single-player adventure game takes players on an enthralling journey, where language unlocks mysteries. Chants of Sennaar transforms the act of translation into an engaging quest that challenges players’ intellect.

Through its unique focus on linguistic puzzles, this game entertains and educates. It offers a fresh perspective on the language and storytelling in video games. Discover how the Chants of Sennaar has turned translation into an adventure of its own in a fascinating world.

Development of Chants of Sennaar

Chants of Sennaar is the brainchild of Julien Moya and Thomas Panuel who have worked before as a team on their earlier project, Varion. The concept for Chants of Sennaar emerged in March 2020. Its authors inspired themselves with Heaven’s Vault (2019) and the classic Captain Blood (1988), both featuring language deciphering mechanics.

The game debuted at the 2021 Gamescom convention, where it caught the attention of Focus Entertainment. The French video game developer agreed to support the final stages of production, including marketing efforts. This partnership enabled the team to hire a freelance sound designer, enhancing the game’s auditory experience.

Finally, Chants of Sennaar was launched on 5 September 2023. It is available on the most popular platforms, including the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows, and Xbox One.

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fascinating universe past divided by ancient languages
thoughtful game developed as a captivating journey

Chants of Sennaar: mechanics

In Chants of Sennaar, players venture through a structure reminiscent of the mythical Tower of Babel, filled with inhabitants who communicate in invented languages. Each features its own calligraphy and varies in syntax. The game challenges players to decipher them with problem-solving games and puzzles.

A key gameplay feature is a notebook that assists in translations, compiling context clues like locations where words were found and accompanying non-verbal cues observed during conversations. As players ascend the tower, they are introduced to new languages, each requiring a new translation.

The game also incorporates elements of stealth gameplay in certain areas. Being detected by enemies results in players returning to the start of that area.

Myth of Babel

The myth of the Tower of Babel is a story from the Bible, found in Genesis 11:1-9. According to the narrative, after the Great Flood, humanity spoke a single language and migrated to the land of Shinar (Babylonia). There, they decided to build a city and a tower tall enough to reach the heavens, as a symbol of their unity and power.

However, God saw this as an act of pride and defiance. To disrupt their plans, God confused the people of the tower, causing them to speak many languages. The construction was halted, because workers were unable to understand each other. This story is traditionally believed to explain the origin of different languages and cultures. It has since become a symbol of human ambition and its limits.

What is the plot of Chants of Sennaar?

In Chants of Sennaar, the narrative revolves around the protagonist in a poetic setting inspired by the Babel Tower. He awakens from a coffin at the base of an antique Ziggurat. The game’s plot thickens as the player begins ascent, discovering the tower’s four distinct societal groups:

  • the Devotees, who aspire to reach the summit searching for a deity but are obstructed by the Warriors;
  • the Warriors, whose solemn vow is to guard the ‘chosen ones’ who are musicians from enemy forces;
  • the Bards, artistic souls feeling lost and disconnected;
  • and the Alchemists, who are devoted to research and aspire to unlock a mystical gate.

The gameplay is centred around the protagonist’s task to decode the unique written languages of each caste. This lets the player advance through the tower’s levels. Upon reaching the top, a fifth group is uncovered: the Anchorites, individuals who have chosen to live in virtual reality, escaping the real world.

Enthralling world of Chants of Sennaar

The visual and audio components of Chants of Sennaar craft a unique emotional atmosphere. The intricate patterns and symbols offer a sense of discovery for the players as they decipher each new script. The images help in storytelling, providing subtle cues about the history and culture of each group within the game. The music creates a sense of place and time that is both alien and familiar, drawing players deeper into the game’s lore.

Reception of Chants of Sennaar

Chants of Sennaar gathered largely positive feedback as an interesting and impressive game. It gained favourable scores on Metacritic website. Eurogamer praised the game for its innovative and thoughtful design. Polygon, despite noting some frustrations with the riddles, highlighted the game’s distinct appeal. Digital Trends celebrated the game for its cleverly designed puzzles, meticulously crafted languages, captivating setting, and visually striking art style.

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ominous truth and prodigious labyrinth
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How to make your game successful?

Achieving success in the global gaming market goes beyond great graphics and gameplay. The secret lies in how well a game communicates with its audience. That is where a translation agency specialising in game localisation becomes your ally. By adapting your game to each target market, Skrivanek ensures that it resonates with players globally. The game’s narrative, humour, and cultural references will feel natural to players in different regions.

This approach expands your game’s reach and builds a connection with your audience. Players are more likely to recommend a game that speaks to them in their language. Transform your game from a local hit into a global sensation with our localisation services.

Images generated by AI, without connection to the game.

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