Adventure game protagonists come in all shapes and sizes — and size is definitely a hallmark of one of our favourites. The enterprising young gnome from Aventasia’s White Ridge Mountains, Wilbur Weathervane, is a plucky little chap with a penchant for adventure and a strong moral compass.
He’s also one of our all time favourite adventure game protagonists, not least since he appears in one of our all time favourite adventure games. The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 follows the legacy left by its forebear in being rich in high production values, engaging storylines and jokes, crafty puzzles and an overall layer of love and polish that shows what lofty production values can do for our under-loved video game genre.
As a gnome, Wilbur’s beginnings in the Book games are somewhat humble. The games gently riff off WarCraft‘s Azeroth in more ways than one — and like the gnomes of that setting, Wilbur is a member of a race given to mechanical tinkering and cohabiting with dwarves in rugged strongholds surrounded by frozen, wintry mountaintops.
Fed up with his lacklustre lifestyle of chores and errands — and with a lack of mechanical knowledge that makes him a bit of a black sheep among his family and the gnomish community — Wilbur Weathervane can’t help but dream of grand adventures.
They soon come knocking, of course, as these things are wont to do — and Wilbur is given the chance to pursue his dream of becoming a mage, never letting things like practicality, possibility or the fact that everyone tells him it’s a bad idea get in the way.
Naturally, by The Book of Unwritten Tales 2, Wilbur has fulfilled his dream and is a mage in good standing — or as close to it as he can be, given that game’s backdrop of political turmoil and sinister machinations.
Cheeky, a touch workshy and fond of grabbing whatever he can get his hands on with flimsy excuses to himself that he’s only borrowing it or the need is great or the like, Wilbur’s heart is in the right place — but if anything, he is always too naive.
In a fantasy world where might often makes right, Wilbur relies on his wits to survive — making those moments when someone gets one over on him all the more heart-wrenching. That said, Wilbur has no taste for bullies and rude people, and will quite happily fleece them nine ways to Friday in pursuit of his goals without a second thought.
Anyone who has played both Book games knows that Wilbur faces plenty of internal crises that rock his identity as the saga continues. Thanks to solid voice acting and being a genuinely loveable character, these tend to actually hit home pretty hard — who could do anything but root for Wilbur and feel his pain solidly when he wails that he’s not who he thinks he is?
We won’t dwell on this overly for fear of spoilers, but let’s sum up by celebrating one of Wilbur’s most outstanding triumphs — his accidental time-travel side-quest into the very history of adventure gaming itself in the magical library.