Capucine is a prototype for an action adventure that was created on PC (as a Far Cry mod) around 2007 by the NoCulture Team (composed of Supinfogame students), initially rumored to be released on Nintendo Wii. Players would have been able to use a ray of light to revive plants in a dead world, but when and object is lit up then a shadow enemy would appear behind it. This would create a gameplay loop in which your ability to generate life could also create enemies if you’re not careful.
As we can read in their old website:
“Capucine is an exploration / adventure game, formulated as a tale and based on shadow and light opposition. This game takes place in a fantastic universe where everything is dead. The player controls a child who holds a “capucine”. This flower enables her to survive in this desolated world. The little girl can hand on her own life to the surroundings thanks to a beam of light she can cast from her hand.
To maintain life, water will be vital. However, the player must be careful not to animate the shadows of the surrounding elements. Indeed, animated shadows will try to steal the flower in order to prevent the child from accomplishing her destiny: revive the World.
The main intention is to offer a quiet and disturbing gaming experience where the player explores the surroundings and solves riddles. During the adventure, we want the player to be fascinated by the world he discovers. We also want him to become attached to the main character. The gameplay and the interface must be easy to understand but not simplistic, in order to create an optimal immersion.”
Capucine was based on four fundamental principles:
- Give life rather than take it.
- A unique gameplay element: the beam of light.
- Build your own path.
- Players create their own enemies.
Some more details can be found in an old interview with Yohan Cazauk, lead designer of Capucine:
“My name is Yohan Cazaux and I’m 24. I’m a French student at Supinfogame ( a Game Design school). This is my last year of studies, and with 5 other classmates I’ve worked all year on Capucine, our final study project.
Capucine is an adventure game, but a quiet adventure. We favoured the exploration side rather than pure action. “Shadow and light” sum up the gameplay mechanics. Your only way to interact with the game is the lightbeam, and with it you’ve got to push back the shadow, but you also can create it : both notions are opposite but interdependent.
I was very inspired by the lyrics of a french song, “La fleur” for the original concept. It’s from this song that we came up with the flower concept; the “Capucine”. The team was also inspired by various movies, especially Pan’s Labyrinth by Guillermo Del Toro and all traditional tales. And as far as video games are concerned, we were inspired by Ico – by its poetry and its amazing graphics.”
“First, the flower is a part of the character – it’s her life. Without the flower, the child’s life starts to decrease. That’s why the shadows are trying to steal the flower. They can’t hurt the character directly.
Secondly, in order to preserve life in the game, the player has to make water circulate in the world. Without water, nature will die. The flower can serve as a substitute for water. If the player puts it down near a tree for example, the tree won’t die. But by putting down the flower, the child’s life starts to decrease… It’s a dilemma for the player, and it’s very interesting.”
“Well, the flower helps you to keep the world alive, until you “unblock” water to it. The light beam is the way for the girl to transmit her life to the environment. I say “transmit” because when she’s using it, her life decreases. But she can retrieve life by soaking the flower in water. The beam is the only way to interact with the world. Everything in the universe of Capucine revolves around light.
There are 3 ways to use the beam : continuous lighting, rhythm lighting and movement lighting. But if the player uses too much time of the light beam on an element, the shadow of this element will come alive and attack them.
We don’t know if a “final game” will exist one day. Capucine is just a prototype, and so it will stay on the PC with Wiimote/Nunchuk controls available. A few days after the (school) presentation, the game will be downloadable for free as a Far Cry mod on our website. For the moment, we don’t plan to make money with Capucine.”
As promised by Yohan, the Capucine prototype was released online at the time. Probably many gaming websites announced the project as a real Wii game because it was labeled as such on their “promotional” website, but as far as we know it was always meant to be just a school project. In any case, Capucine is still a fascinating prototype from the Wii generation, along with such cancelled games as Sadness and Project H.A.M.M.E.R.