This first Dev Diary introduces one of the fundamental and more characterized elements of our game: the setting. We worked hard to realize a fresh and original experience, which will stand out from the classic fantasy clichés, and we finally managed to realize the Zaharian Empire. Its name comes from a huge region called Zaharia, whose people share the same culture and religion. This Dev Diary will summarize the general setting of the game, while the next ones will analyze other important themes like religion, culture, magic and technology.
As shown by the map, the Zaharian Empire is widely extended, so much that allows a great variety of weather and geographical conditions. This is the reason why every settlement will be characterized in a different way, depending on its position. A great part of the Empire is settled down in the coast, where the mediterranean climate and the huge availability of water facilitate the agriculture activity. Fields and forests will cover these landscapes, while the hinterland presents impressive mountain chains with frigid climate, especially during Winter. Beyond the mountains, climate gets drier and water starts missing, until the territory becomes desertic and inhospitable. Despite that, a lot of settlements manage to survive in these barren areas, which are full of mineral resources that can be exported to get all the necessary supplies, rather hard to find in other ways.
The Zaharian Empire counts more than 30 million people, but not everyone belongs to the Zaharian culture and ethnic groups, since many of them are immigrants coming from other nations. This leads the region to be a social melting-pot, with a deep interaction between cultures and a multitude of different way of seeing religion and society.
The same populations that immigrated in Zaharia in the old times are now considered as native, although they preserve slightly different customs and traditions that will be made visible during the game. Focusing on all these aspects we could create a realistic society, in order to highlight the mix of cultures and the different habits of people living in the same nation. We avoided to create a society made by individuals who act all in the same way, or who find themselves under the same traditions and religions. We believe this to be one of the most important element needed to grant the maximum immersion in the game.
As for the most characteristic settlement of Zaharia, we first find Ashantir, the magnificent capital that rises on the delta of the Shir river. The city has great relevance being the cultural, economical and political center of the region, and it counts more than 1 million people. Ashantir is the pride of the nation, with its high and wide palaces that stretch skyward, its buildings that seem almost suspended in the islands that form the city, between one ship canal and another. Travellers, merchants and foreigners can see its dream-like architectures from kilometers.
Ashantir couldn’t obviously be the only important centre of such an extended Empire. Among the other cities we find Rasul, birthplace of the Azhanit religion, the official cult of Zaharia. Rasul is living a period of deep decline because of Ashantir, that overshadows its importance.
West of the capital we find Zarta and Qanyuba, not far from each other. Zarta is called the Green City for its large amount of native vegetation, that grows thanks to the abundance of streams of water. The city is home to some of the richest people in the country, who moved there attracted by its natural beauty and its tranquillity. These peculiarities along with the massive presence of all kinds of artists, make this city unique in the world.
Qanyuba, on the other hand, is known as the Steel City, famous for its ancient craft tradition. Thanks to this historical feature, together with a significant technologic improvement, the city is about to give life to the first proto-industries.