Near-future techno-fantasy. Limited forms of magic exist, but are not possessed by humans. There is no mechanical flight and no space exploration, but a few major cities enjoy an extreme level of technological advancement and wealth – automated wireless everything, high speed magnetic rail, laser weapons, flexible and lightweight armor. Recycling is not just mandatory, but ultra-efficient; when old technology is replaced, all of the parts and pieces are broken down and the core materials recovered for future use. While this has made the cities extremely self-sufficient, it has left secondary populations in the dust. As a result, the few remaining rural towns – which are still agrarian and contain a vanishingly small portion of the world population – are a hodgepodge of pre-industrial technology with what little unrecycled gadgetry finds its way out of the cities. Some possess no technology whatsoever. The overwhelming majority of city dwellers know nothing about rural populations because of how few and irrelevant they are.
Major cities are also vast fortresses built to defend against a threat now largely taken for granted – a race of physically weak, but intelligent and narcissistic sand demons (sand wraiths?? :O yeah I’m gonna go with that). Because the cities are utterly self-sufficient, there are no gates for transport outside of the magtrains that connect the various cities. This design has guaranteed virtually complete security against the wraiths, but has left the rural populations helpless for most of the past century. As a result, most of the remaining villages have been utterly eradicated, the inhabitants dragged away at night to become slaves, all used to construct grandiose palaces and monuments for the glory of the sand wraiths. Empty villages – still mostly intact – dot the landscape. Most of the few surviving villages have done so by moving up into the trees, coming down only during the day to do their farming. There are also rumors of a flotilla village off the coast.
The sand wraiths, not being agile creatures, use demonic boars to seek out new locations to harvest slaves. When a boar has found a village, that village’s doom is wrought; the boar will immediately explode (or something, fuggifino man), marking that territory as the next target for the sand wraiths. The wraiths will arrive that night, using their shadow magic (which is strongest at night) to weave nether golems that will subdue the villagers and take them back to the desert underworld realm of the sand wraiths.
Three hunters from a now nomadic tribe (forced to migrate because of the boars) encounter a demonic boar during one of their hunts. It explodes, and they are summarily covered in boar’s blood – they are now living targets for the sand wraiths. They cannot return to the village, as this would endanger everyone else. They must run. And run, they do – but every night, they have to evade an onslaught of nether golems, who they can only defeat by killing their handlers, the sand wraiths.
Eventually, after killing an especially important-looking sand wraith, the hunters discover that sand wraith had imprisoned a neutral faerie creature that…okay, it’s a fucking Moogle. I’m not going to mince words here. They find a Moogle. The Moogles in this universe are telepathically connected to one another, and it turns out there’s a Moogle inside one of the cities. Using the help of the telepathic Moogles, the hunters find a secret entrance into a city. Still marked by the boar’s blood, however, the sand wraiths follow the scent trail they leave behind, and the same night that the hunters make it into the city, the sand wraiths begin wreaking havoc on the inside of the city.
It’s been so long since anyone thought about the sand wraiths, everyone’s forgotten what they are or how to kill them. Except for, of course, the hunters. Boom. Primal axe-throwing tattoo-covered badasses kicking ass in ultra-technologified cityscape.
Bayonetta and/or Ninja Gaiden.