I don’t know where the idea for Nightfall originated. Most projects I’ve conceived I can trace back to their origin. From whatever dark abyss, arose an idea for a RPG that revolved around darkness.
The original premise was for the game to be set in a post-apocalyptic world. There was a cataclysmic event that wiped out most of humanity and left the world in permanent night. After the cataclysm, horrific monsters appeared that took advantage of the darkness to prey on humanity. Sort of like Attack on Titan, but the monsters would be more Lovecraftian in nature.
You play an old woman, Audra, who has lived long enough to remember when there was still light. She raises her son, Shekhar, in one of the last remaining human settlements. The settlement is powered by some kind of finite energy source, which lights up the area and keeps the dark monsters at bay.
She is one of the elders of the village. She knows that the energy source is going to run out soon, and then the settlement will fall. She has a theory that the world isn’t trapped in permanent night, but that there is a giant dome cutting off the sunlight. With little time left, she takes it on herself to test this theory, and see if there an a way to break or escape the dome. She leaves the settlement, with her son, and ventures out into the darkness using only a compass to move due north.
Nightfall was planned to be a short, focused experience. The game would be a linear RPG, starting at the settlement, and following Audra and Shekhar as they ventured through different zones. They would encounter interesting NPCs along the way, similar to Dark Souls.
The map would be entirely shrouded in darkness, with a small light source around you than can eventually go out. If the light goes out completely, the player starts taking damage. Think like the miasma from Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles. Torches and other light sources could be lit for the area the player is exploring. There would be light adventure game puzzles.
Monsters could be seen on the map. They could be interacted with. Some monsters might be afraid of light sources, while others are attracted to it like a moth. Touching the monster sprite would initiate an encounter.
Encounters were originally going to use a Dragon Quest first-person perspective view, like the standard RPG Maker battle system. Two thirds of the screen would be devoted to the monsters, and one third to the player. Each section would be split into a grid, which the monsters and player could freely move between. These cells could be lit up to expose the monster, and attack them. If it was dark, then it could be attacked but accuracy would be greatly decreased.
Looking back, it would make more sense to use an isometric, tactical grid presentation for combat. The areas that were not lit up would be hidden in a “fog of war”. Attacks would have different AOE effects, light sources could be created and extinguished. It could make for compelling combat.
That’s about as far we got the planning stage of the game. It could be a fun concept to explore again someday, but for now it will be left in the dark.