Our project takes a slight spin on the standard criminal fiction/detective story. Instead of following the story of the detective attempting to solve a crime, the player takes control of a criminal who has just committed murder. The criminal/player is guided through the story by a narrator that acts as a voice in the criminal’s head. The narrator will instruct the player on what to do given in a given situation and the player has the option of going along with the narrator or defying him. For example, as the player, you may encounter a detective that begins questioning you about the night of the murder where you would then choose to tell the detective what the narrator wants you to tell him or not. In the case where you do not listen to the narrator, you end up arrested and the game ends. We don’t have a very clear picture of the events that will occur later in the story, but we do know that at a certain point the narrator will begin to mislead the player and if the player cannot recognize that he is being misled, then it’s game over. This creates a conflict in the player’s head because for a long duration of the game, trusting the narrator is the right option and then suddenly the narrator begins to abuse that trust.
I can’t speak for my other group members regarding motivation behind this concept for our game, but my own motivation stems from the game Portal. Similarly to our game, the player has a guide, but instead of a narrator, the guide is an artificial intelligence. This AI constantly reinforces that the player will be rewarded with cake once all of the puzzles are completed; however, it turns out that the cake is in fact a lie and this AI attempts to kill the player (the scene below is the scene of the player’s attempted murder). The introduction to Literary Gaming states that “literary computer games combine poetic and narrative techniques with serious, self-critical game design in order to explore the affordances and limitations of rules, challenges, risks, achievement-drivenness, and other ludic structures”. I view our game as a way to explore a similar concept to that of Portal and recreate it with the narrative focuses that Literary Gaming mentions. Ideally, our game will force the player to think “Who should I trust?” through the choices of the story and engage them through the storytelling as opposed to standard game elements such as puzzles that Literary Gaming would consider run-of-the-mill.
I think that working collaboratively on this assignment will contribute solid ideas to our narrative and help us create a satisfying product. It allows us to pool together more thoughts on the direction and other aspects of the story. Sarah and I started toying with the idea of a murderer being the main character to which Ethan expanded upon by adding the idea of a narrator helping to direct the player’s choices. Although we haven’t gotten to much of the coding as of yet I can see myself handing the majority of that because of my coding experience which will allow Ethan and Sarah to focus more on the story than how it will be implemented. The biggest struggle with the collaborative work will likely come when trying to meet and decide on later events of the story. My schedule is fairly busy being on the track team and I’m sure we’ll end up having some disagreements on story direction at some point.