As a young girl growing up in East Harlem, I didn’t see many examples of kickass Latina women in pop culture, nor had things improved once I became a successful television and movie actress in Hollywood landing roles in properties like “Harold and Kumar” and “Devious Maids.” In 2007 I was browsing the aisles at San Diego Comic-Con when it dawned on me that in booth after booth, no one was representing female or minority characters. The few times I would see them, they’d be either bad guys or half-naked female vampires. However, when you take a good look at the crowds at this event, you can’t help but notice that the attendees are not just white people, but every type of human in the world! A massive number of the people buying these comics aren’t being represented at all in the entertainment they are consuming.

Borrowing on my Colombian heritage, I decided to do something about it, and along with my husband Antonio Hernandez, we created the character Aluna, a spirited young 16th Century Spanish princess who is accused of witchcraft and sent back to her native Colombia from where she was taken as a baby. There she learns the truth of her destiny: to defend the mystical shard said to contain the heart of her goddess mother, Pachamama.

The goal was to organically create a hero that represented a female with ethnic roots that everyone would enjoy, but who doesn’t belong to just one group. We chose the 16th Century, before Western colonizers created borders between countries like Colombia, Mexico, Brazil, and Peru. After extensive research on the indigenous tribes of South America, we established that Aluna’s mother would be the Incan goddess of the earth, Pachamama. In the 1500’s, Spanish conquistadors were conquering and plundering local peoples for gold and land, so we cast a Spanish sailor as Aluna’s father to represent a mix of the natural world and the more brutish, colonizing world of humankind. We created a demigod heroine that is not the usual demigod of Western and Eastern cultures seen in so many games and comics.

With a global audience hungry for more Aluna, I partnered with my husband’s development company Digiarts and N-Fusion Interactive to translate the adventure into a videogame. Heroes of Newerth made us a fan of top-down gameplay, moving the character around a map to fight creatures and collect loot. I found Diablo and had so much fun playing for hours that knew this was the direction for the videogame incarnation of Aluna.

In Aluna: Sentinel of the Shards, players take on the character of Aluna as she defends her powers from the evils that seek to destroy her in a 16th Century New World based on indigenous lore and the colonization of South America by Spain. Players explore a wild environment of dense jungles, towering beachside cliffs and volcanic canyons while encountering creatures and bosses inspired by Incan mythology. Weaponry is modeled on historical South American and Spanish conquistador arms of the era. The real world is aided by the mystical as players can customize Aluna’s fighting style by unlocking powerful magical abilities across three schools of magic.

Latin American culture has so much variety and depth, there are hundreds of exciting stories to tell. We hope players have as much fun playing Aluna and exploring her world as we did in creating it.

Aluna: Sentinel of the Shards

Digiart Interactive LLC


3
$19.99
From the heavens, mystic shards rain down upon the earth defying both time and space. Superstition, mysticism and fear of the unknown gave life to a path that went beyond the land of its birth. We meet our heroine Aluna, who as a child has was given the most powerful of these shards that is said to contain the heart of her mother, the goddess of Earth Pachamama. Through a series of circumstances, Aluna must leave her home and journey to the new world. Aluna is fulfilling her destiny, but so is the evil that seeks to fulfill theirs. Aluna’s past guides her future and her enemies will stop at nothing to steal the shard and take control of the world…

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