Set in a world not unlike our own (an Oxford, England doppleganger, in fact), the quaint locales have an antiquated, somewhat medieval aesthetic to them, yet the people who populate the Golden Compass ' world are just as enlightend and advanced as presnt day folk, with a heavy emphasis on quantum physics and theology. Your head may be reeling from that last description, but it's hard to deny that it's a world rife with gaming potential.
The levels we saw showed our heroine, Lyra Belacqua, cat-walking around a harbor amidst Gyptian sea-faring vessels, and riding atop a polar bear in the snow-drenched outskirts of Svalbard. The talking bear in question is none other than the armored warrior, Iorek Byrnison, who rounds out the game's three playable characters. We even witnessed him executing a tandem attack, with Lyra somersaulting into the air as he preformed a double-pawed, feral ground-pound, warding off all encroaching beasts of ill intent. Grrr, indeed
There will be 11 levels in all, two of which that will span beyond the linear realm of the story, delving further into the Dark Materials trilogy. Speculation of a high seas backstory, and/or a witch-centric level abound, but we don't expect to go into the beyond the universe contained in Golden Compass, thus saving the alternate dimensions found within the sequels, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass, for a later game.