Since I’ve been asked a few times about the name “Tribes of Mexica,” I figured I’d write a short post about its origins.
A screenshot from an early prototype of Tribes of Mexica.
When I was first prototyping the game’s radial approach to colour-matching, I knew I wanted to make it combat-heavy. Something along the lines of Puzzle Quest, but in real time and with a few elements of fighting games. I also wanted an a unique setting; I suppose I could’ve created one from scratch like I’m wont to do with many of my ideas, but I decided against it. For our first title, I thought it’d be beneficial to use a pre-existing and somewhat recognizable universe.
Not wanting to resort to generic fantasy tropes, I took a look at some of the lesser known world-mythologies. There was definitely plenty of material to pick from in that rather broad category, but in the end I chose to go with the Aztecs.
The Aztec empire was quite immense and contained many amalgamated aspects of the societies that resided in current-day Mexico. Some of its vibrant imagery was fairly recognizable too, but as a whole I realized it was an underrepresented culture in Western media. As such it provided us with exactly what we needed: a setting with a mythology that was somewhat familiar yet largely unexplored.
Now the word Mexica is actually the indigenous term for the Nahua people who resided in the Valley of Mexico, not a misspelling. The empire they created started off as a tribe, but quickly grew to include multiple city-states and smaller towns and tribal villages that paid tribute (i.e., taxes) to the ruling body. This is what inspired the title “Tribes of Mexica” as it clearly hinted at the game’s setting while retaining the proper terminology.
During my research I also came across lots of other interesting information that fed back into the game and its creative process, but I’ll go deeper into that in future posts.