Ubisoft's upcoming side-scrolling RPG Child of Light - due out on the Xbox One and Xbox 360 in 2014 - is turning heads left right and centre. Partly due to the fact that it looks utterly gorgeous, but also because it has gone down the unusual route of casting a pre-pubescent girl in its title role.
Speaking to the game's creative director Patrick Plourde (whose most recent credits include the testosterone-soaked Far Cry 3), I asked whether he was worried that Child of Light's more 'feminine' aspects would put some machismo gamers off the experience.
"In my mind we are all human beings first, whether we are gamers or not," he replied. "I believe that we all respond positively to emotions that are true. If you make something true and original, people from different backgrounds and with different interests can and will want to experience it.
"Miyazaki movies are a great reference for me because they primarily have female main characters, and at the same time, I feel they are loved by gamers. You can watch Iron Man and My Neighbor Totoro in the same weekend and it's not considered weird. In fact, you would be considered a film aficionado. So why wouldn't a gamer, somebody that likes games, be interested in playing different experiences? One type of experience doesn't replace another, they complete each other.
"We will see if Child of Light will be well received, and I hope it will be, but in the end its success will be riding on the quality of the experience and not its subject matter."
During our lengthy chat, Plourde also revealed that there will be an element of narrative choice during Child of Light - and possibly even multiple endings.
"I want to take some chances with this game," he said. "The idea is simple; what if, when we offer the main character a choice, we let the player decide? Not to say that the game is completely open ended - it is still a fairly linear storyline - but by giving the player the choice to help somebody or not, or by being able to take the villain's offer or refusing it and have a different outcome, the experience becomes better."
Plourde also said he believed that the game was 'easily' 10 hours long, and as valuable as any $60 game. We're certainly charmed by it - catch our hands-on preview here.