(EDIT Note: Whoops… A small miscommunication error can go a long way. This article was originally written with the idea that the suburb in the Unity screen and Halyar’s Retreat were one and the same. Until Dave saw the final version and gave us a good thrashing… See, that suburb in Unity? It’s called Harbingers’ Hill. Totally different. The dev journal has been re-written to fix this. Sorry about the mixup, and enjoy the extra info!)
Past Suburb: Harbingers’ Hill
As with many of our projects, sometimes work gets a lot of attention early on, then gets scrapped, re-worked, scrapped again, forgotten, remembered, re-worked some more and completely new ideas come up and then we decide to go back to the original idea. Harbingers’ Hill is one of these; while it looks great, just simply didn’t fit. You can see the original Unity design of this suburb below. Looks awesome, doesn't it? Yeah, we think so too, but it doesn't quite fit into theworld as-is. It doesn't match any of the other Nexan suburbs and that feeling of inconsistency was one we just couldn't shake off. (And yes, this is another little gem fished out from one of Andrew’s old emails. There’s an archaeologist’s treasure trove in there, I swear!)
Harbingers’ Hill is an ancient graveyard and Cathedral Site from the Residuum which was used up until Harbinger worship was outlawed. It has steam tunnels drilled into its sides which were intended as wartime bunker retreats for the parish and flock of the Church. But these were destroyed/raided by the Explicators. Some still say the Harbingers watch over the hill from afar, causing ancient evil magic to stir the dry leaves.
The old demo project of Harbinger’s Hill is still around, and could be used later in the game if we really want. So this may not be the last we see of it… A suburb we can expect to see eventually (though not in Beta), is Halyar’s Retreat.
Future Suburb: Halyar’s Retreat
The urban sprawl of Nexus, like every large metropolis, is a continuously changing landscape. Suburbs prosper and decline as people move, economies grow and policies change. Halyar's Retreat used to be just another middle class suburb in Nexus, barely worthy of a name. Then the Consortium granted the retired hobbe soldier Jantu Halyar a license to open a store, signaling a critical change in its previous policy. It was controversial at first, with most of the human inhabitants wary at having hobbe-owned businesses in their neighborhood. But the early greenskin merchants that moved into the area during the New Epoch were hard-working and innovative, and the local economy started to flourish.
Unfortunately, this blossoming multiculturalism didn’t last long, as more subversive greenskins started to set up businesses in the region that were slightly more dubious. Distant relatives and long lost associates of the first hobbe merchants in the area, these greenskins did not all share the same work ethic. Instead, they realized there were other methods to make money. Crime rates increased and many of the original residents of the area began to leave. Over a few decades, the suburb slowly declined in popularity.
With the growing greenskin population, old principles from Hlur, Pflay, and Skrie began to change the political landscape of the suburb. Syndicates based on old clan and gang affiliations began to gain real power, their political sway funded by unknown benefactors.
Halyar was one of the most popular 'businessmen' that started to use his influence in the political sphere. With a distinguished military background and impressive charisma for a hobbe, he drew strong public support despite frequent claims from his opponents that he was actually the head of one of the most powerful gangs in the area. He was often accused of bribing and intimidating the local government, the Consortium, and the Nexan Guard, but such claims were either unfounded, or his control was so thorough that no corruption was ever traced to him.
The Nexan public loved him, and he was often hailed as an inspiration for greenskin entrepreneurs. The region became known as Halyar's Retreat, and it soon became a safe haven for illegitimate trades, where the local law enforcement were less than thorough. Still, Halyar was somehow able to avoid scrutiny. He maintained his successes were all due to hard work and lucky investments, though even his strongest supporters had some doubts as to the pure 'luck' of his financial state.
Paying tribute to a region’s most powerful leader as an informal kind of taxation was a well-known greenskin tradition at the time, and it was known that Halyar received plenty of curiously lavish 'gifts'. However, as Halyar’s reign continued, the Retreat became safer than it had been in years, and he continued to avoid unwanted attention.
One day, Halyar was simply found dead in his own home. The public was outraged. No one stepped forward to claim responsibility. With no obvious successor, the sudden power vacuum caused chaos. Rival gang leaders started to move into unguarded territories. New immigrants from the borderlands used the opportunity to settle old debts that had been kept in check by Halyar's political dealings. Greenskin citizens, empowered by the rights Halyar had fought for, wanted to seize the opportunity to raise the political profile of the suburb. Within a week of Halyar's death, the Retreat was filled with violent rioting and all-out urban combat.
Eventually, the Nexan Guard was able to suppress the riots. The gangs were subdued, but certainly not eliminated. A statue of Halyar was erected, with the local government hoping this would encourage the public to focus on the stability and thriving business structure that he had fostered. The Nexan media were encouraged to play up his entrepreneurial spirit, and ignore any claims that tarnished his name. While greenskin gangs continue to influence much of the daily affairs in Halyar's Retreat, they conduct business in a more discreet manner.
So that was a bit of insight into our past and future plans. Comments? Come join the discussion in our Forum! Tell us what else you might want to see!