I still can’t believe what’s happened to me. I knew I’d made something special. But I never imagined any of this! ...Oh, i’m sorry... I’d better start from the Beginning.
My name is Leon McCloud. Until recently, I was a college graduate, with a degree in Game Design and Development. In fact, by the time I graduated, I had my first game finished- World of the Wild, a Free Roam RPG.
Basically, you play as a customizable anthro character in an all anthro world called Jiyuu. Long story short, there is no set storyline, you decide what you wanna do- Become a Dancer, Fight Evil, Learn to cook, Rescue People, and so much more you can do in this game.
However, despite years of work, no major company wanted it, they called it lame for having so much freedom. I’ve tried Steam, PC gaming, Handheld, and no company wants it... I couldn’t believe it.
But what I didn’t know, was that my game was more than a game.
I’d just been shot down once again, this time by Nintendo, but unlike other companies, they simply denied my game because they have enough gets in the works now. It was nice to have the reason be nicer than the usual, but I still had no one to publish my game. It was so frustrating to have 4 years of hard work and creativity be shoved to the curb.
Coming home, I sat myself down at my desk and started up my game.
As I played around with my Character- Leon the Wolf Kid, I began to wonder my game would even get out there. It would be a shame for it to go to waste. I’ve created a beautiful world, with great stories, fun and/or challenging gameplay, and wonderful characters, especially my favorite- Nicky, the Coyote boy, the gentle and sweet son of the child caretaker in The Canine Village of Canisia. He’s an important character if you choose a canis type for your character, and he’s just so lovable.
I just couldn’t let such good characters be ignored... I knew I needed to find a way.
But then, my thoughts were interrupted as my computer began getting all fritzy.
“What the?” I said, as my monitor went black. “Oh no! Please no...”
But to my surprise, in the middle of the screen, the logo of my game appeared. “What’s... going on.” I said, as suddenly, it looked like the logo began to pulse, like a heartbeat.
With each pulse, I began to feel weaker, and weaker, my eyes growing heavy. No matter how much I tried to resist, it wouldn’t cease. The next thing I knew, everything went black.
After what felt like hours, if not days of darkness, I finally woke up, to my own relief. I sat up, yawning and stretching like i’d simply took a nap. But then I took a look around. It wasn’t my house.
Instead, I found myself in a small bedroom. It wasn’t too fancy, just having a bed, closet, drawers, a desk, and bookshelves, but still, the room seemed cozy enough. But I still wondered where I was and how I got here.
Then, I heard a Knock on the door.
“Hey, you awake in there?” a voice asked.
“...um yes...” I said nervously.
The door then opened, and I was wide eyed at who came in.
It was an anthro coyote, about eleven in age, with grey and brown fur, green eyes, and a mop of shaggy blonde hair with pink tips. He was wearing a green long sleeve tunic and matching bottoms, and had a red marking on his face. I knew just who he was.
“Nicky... is that you?!” I asked, not sure if I wanted the answer.
“It’s me alright, but you would know, since you created me.” The coyote said.
I was shocked. Nicky, one of the most important Canisia NPC, standing in front of me. I just couldn’t believe it though. There was no way.
“Don’t mess with me.” I said, “If you want me to believe you’re Nicky, you’ll need to give me undeniable proof.”
‘Nicky’ chuckled. “Still as skeptical as ever, I see.” He said, “He made sure NPCs like me could prove we’re the real deal, due to the existence of the Mimickers. Here’s my proof.” From his pants, the coyote pulled out a gemstone the size of his palm, a fire opal with the image of a sword inside. “My Fusion Opal.”
I gasped. The Fusion Opal, a magic gem only Nicky can wield, which let him fuse items to create new items, armors, weapons, or tools for players. There were three Fusion Gems, and only one of each type.
“Whoa... It’s really you. This... is incredible.” I said, walking over to Nicky. “You’re really here in front of me! This is definitely-” Just then, something occurred to me. “Wait a sec... You’re an NPC in my game, You’re not a real person... But if you’re here in front of me... Did... I... Enter the game?!”
“I’m pretty sure there’s no such thing as an anthro in your world, sooooo… yeah,” said Nicky.
“Whoa... This is unbelievable... me in my OWN game... But... How did you get me in here? and for that matter, Why?” I asked, wanting to know more about what’s going on.
“I just reached out and sorta yanked you in, kinda like…” Nicky reached out his arms, then quickly pulled them back in. “Like that.”
“...I knew I made your magic OP. Shoulda nerfed it when Sho told me... So then, now that I’m here. What’s up? Why do you want me in my own game?”
“Well, it’s mom’s fault more than anything. We were talking about you over breakfast, and she said that it would be better if you could come in and see what was wrong with the game firsthand, so you could fix it.”
“What’s wrong with the game? I made every challenge doable, every boss is fair, the achievements aren’t too easy or too hard…”
“Well, in simplest terms…” Nicky shrugged. “The game’s too big.”
“Big? Is it too much for one disk?” I asked.
Nicky shook his head. “No, it’s too expansive. You put in too much content. There’s no story to any of it, there are too many sidequests, and there are too many things to do. Just because you can put a bunch of stuff into a game doesn’t mean you should.”
My eyes went wide. “But... I wanted to give players the freedom to do it their way.”
“Ugh, how do I put this…” Nicky sighed and put a hand to his forehead. “Leon…. nobody wants that. No player wants the freedom to do it their way, because that means there’s no purpose to the game. They want a story. They want things to happen. They don’t want to aimlessly wander around doing whatever strikes their fancy, and if they do, they want some kind of main story to go along with it so they aren’t just floundering about. I’m sorry to say this, but Leon… this is a horrible video game.”
I doubled back. Nicky’s words… hearing them was like getting hit in the head with a sledgehammer. My own character was telling me that my video game was awful. All those hours, days, years of figuring out gameplay, coding the mechanics, making the 3D models, the dialogue, the side quests... All my hard work... for nothing?
“You… You really think that…?” I whispered. My breaths were coming ragged and shallow, and something in my throat felt choked-up.
“Sadly... yes... but there is hope for the game still.”
“W-what could it be?” I asked.
“Are you... sure you wanna know?” Nicky asked, rubbing the back of his head.
I nodded fervently.
“We turn you into an NPC for the Main Story, putting in a main storyline for the players to follow, while still enjoying the rest of the game,” Nicky said.
Wait. Hold on a second. Back up.
Make ME an NPC?! Turn ME into an anthro and put me in the game permanently?! That just sounded LOCO!
As this was running through my mind, all I could say was, “....bweg?”
“Typical... Look, the only way to save the game is to add a main story with a main character, and who better than you to help us with that? But it’s not gonna be a nightmare. Everyone in the game is grateful to you for creating us, so it’s gonna be good.” Nicky thought for a moment, then added, “Think of it like being a stunt double. You’ll go through the actions of the game like an actor playing the PC, and when we need you as an NPC, we’ll use someone else who’s not plot important. How’s that sound, Leon?”
“Will the players still get Character Customization?”
“Yeah. We just need a basis for it, and who better than the creator of the game?” Nicky chuckled and stuck out a hand. “What do you say, Leon?”
This was mind blowing. If I shook Nicky’s hand and took this offer, I’d be turned into a character in my own game. The idea scared me quite a bit. Giving up so much for my own game... but then again... what WOULD I be giving up? What did have before?
The short answer? Not much. Most of my life, I’d been bullied for being… frankly, I have to admit it… the weirdo. I’ve always been a big geek, and that’s the honest truth. Plus, I pretty much sacrificed most of my time, my money, quite a lot of sleep, and any chance of ever making friends to make this game. Maybe this wouldn’t be so bad, compared to that… and, looking at Nicky… I had an idea.
“I’m in. BUT...” I held up a hand. “You’re getting a new role as well.”
“You’ll be my brother, and fellow PC in gameplay, and your mom can be the Fusion user instead. How’s that sound?”
“Whoa... you want me as a brother?” Nicky asked, surprised. He began to fidget with his tunic. “I, um… I don’t know what to say…”
“A simple Yes or No will do,” I said.
Nicky looked away, still fidgeting and now mumbling under his breath. Straining my ears, I could hear a soft repetition of “What do I do, what do I do what do I do…”
I would have helped, but remembering how I programmed Nicky, I knew he’d quickly recover and have an answer within a few moments.
“Y-yes!” he finally blurted out. “T-that would make me so happy!”
“Well, then we have a deal... so how do I become a character?”
“My mom knows. Ask her.”
“Miss Luna? Where is she?” I asked.
“She’s downstairs, having lunch.”
“Let’s go see her.” I said with a smile.
Nicky and I proceeded downstairs. True to Nicky’s words, at the kitchen table was an anthro wolf adult, enjoying a nice PBJ.
“Hi, mom!” Nicky waved. “Leon is here!”
The Wolf looked up, gulping down the last of her lunch. “Welcome, creator,” she greeted politely, “I assumed from you coming downstairs with Nicky, that you agreed to the offer.”
I nodded slightly. “Um… yeah. Something like that.”
“I see, so you ready to be a Canisian pup?” Luna asked.
“A pup? Like... a kid?”
Luna nodded. “It would be nice if you were a kid again, right?”
“Well yeah but...”
“Nicky and I will be your family, and we can keep the usual role, just with you added in.”
“So... will the character visit Canisia first, then?” I asked.
“Yep, they’ll start here, getting used to the gameplay mechanics and doing the first series of missions and side quests.” Luna said. “Don’t worry about it- we’ve worked out the details in a rough draft. We just need to transform you into a character... so... Ready?”
I gulped. This was it. The big moment.
Luna conjured up her magic, and tenderly patted my shoulder. “This won’t hurt a bit, I promise.”
It hurt me for a fraction of a second- just like the tiny little sting of being poked with a fork- and then it was gone.
“There you go. You can open your eyes sweetie.”
I didn’t know I had been closing my eyes. I opened them, to see Nicky and Luna smiling at me. They directed me to a hand mirror on the table, and when I picked it up to look within, I gasped.
I was no longer human. What was staring back at me... was a young wolf, as opposed to Nicky, who was a coyote kid. My human features- hair, eyes, even clothes- were there, but I also had the grey fur, pointed ears, tail, paws, and muzzle of a wolf.
“I’m... a Canisian pup now...” I said in awe.
“Yes you are.” Luna said, picking up and cuddling me.
“Um… can you let go?” Even though I recognized Luna’s gesture as one of goodwill, I still felt uncomfortable.
Luna put me down. “Okay, we need to go shopping.” she said. She smiled. “But maybe you should have breakfast first.”
“I am a little hungry... wait... it’s morning?” I looked outside curiously.
“Closer to noon, but yeah. You arrived at night, but then you slept for like forever,” Nicky said.
“I thought you said she was having lunch.” I recalled.
“So? You haven’t eaten.”
“Yeah... I could use a good lunch,” I said, my stomach starting to growl.
“I’ll make chicken salad!” Nicky went off to the kitchen, tail wagging happily.
“Make yourself at home, kiddo.” Luna sat me down in a chair.
“By the way, while you’re now a game character, you still have power over the game, able to make changes as you see fit.” Luna mentioned.
“Alright.” I thought about that. “hmm... yeah... I think I should change that character’s role, now that I’m part of the game.” I sighed, “Luna, I’d like to add a member to the family.”
Luna looked confused. “Oh? Who?”
“I’d like to add Liam to the Family.”
“That sweet little black lab NPC at the children shelter?” Luna smiled. “...Absolutely not.”
“But... why not?”
“Leon, I don’t have enough money to take care of everyone. Besides, Liam is doing fine on his own. I’m guessing this was borne out of your Freudian desire to have a replacement for your own childhood dog?”
“Well... yeah... Liam was my only friend before he got sick and had to be put down... I want him back... but... you’re saying that you alone can only afford to care for me and Nicky?”
“Yes.” Luna nodded. “And don’t think you can rewrite everything so that I magically have a spouse. Love doesn’t work that way.”
“Can he at least come to play?” I asked.
I smiled, at least Liam could visit and play. But I felt he deserved more.
Then, an idea hit me.
Accessing my author powers, I rewrote a little bit of the game. The game world glitched slightly, and Luna looked suspicious.
“Leon… the game glitched. What did you just do?”
I didn’t answer, but I secretly counted down in my head “doorbell in 3...2...1...now.”
Sure enough, the bell rang.
Luna, curious, answered the door. At the door was young black labrador kid about 5-6 in age.
“Hi, Mrs. Anderson... how are you?” the little one asked timidly.
“Liam!” Luna looked surprised. “What brings you here?”
“Great News, Mrs Anderson. I was adopted by Mrs. McColley.” Liam smiled.
Luna glared at me. “Leon, you can’t just rewrite everything the way you want it!” she scolded.
“Easy, Luna.” I said.
“Don’t you “easy Luna” me, young man.” Luna still looked stern. “You’re grounded for the rest of the day.”
“Ouch...” I said.
“That’s what you get for rewriting the game.”
Liam looked confused. “Uhh…?”
“Oh, I’m sorry. Congratulations of your adoption. Sadly, Leon can’t play. He failed his last magic exam, and he needs to study.”
“...whoa... not a bad cover up... but still... ouch...” I winced. “Hey, Liam.”
“Hi Leon... good luck with your studies.” Liam said. He exited.
Luna closed the door, and looked at me. “Leon, just because you're the creator doesn't mean you can just magic the game to how you want it anymore, because you’re a character now. A pup, and my kid. You can’t just do whatever you want to the game anymore. No more manipulating the game for you any longer, alright?”
I whimpered a little. “Sorry...”
Her expression softened. “I’m sorry, Leon, but playing God is never a good idea. It causes power to go to your head, and that’s never okay. Look, I can take back the grounding if you promise not the bend the game to your will again without permission, deal?”
“Okay…” I hung my head, ashamed of myself.
“Relax, Leon,” Luna said, gently petting my head, “This isn’t a prison. While you can’t alter the game on a whim, you’re still the creator, and we all appreciate that you created us and gave us life.”
“Thank you... Momma.” I smiled.
“You’re welcome, cub.” I was hugged again, and this time, I accepted it.
From then on, I was now Leon Anderson, second son to Luna, and one of the main characters in charge of guiding the Player through the main storyline.
Once in a while, I’d leave the game in order to try and get it published. Finally, It was published by Unknown Fox Games, and I entered the game permanently from there. No more worrying or bellyaching over the future of the game. Within a few months, World of the Wild was the best selling game of the year, with dozens of characters being created and going through the World of Jiyū. Everything was good, and it was a critical hit as well.
I was happy now.