So I had a really great time at GDC this year – met loads of cool people, got some honest feedback, and went to see some really inspiring talks.
Overall the experience helped me to realise that I really need to push the boat out on my next game if I want to make any impact. It’s the unique and risky stuff that tends to get noticed at the scale of development that I’m working at, and I’m not sure that Wind Racer fits the bill. People were nice about it, but generally I’d say it got a lukewarm reception, whereas some of the other ideas I talked about really grabbed people’s attention.
To that end I’m putting Wind Racer on hold, and trying something new. Without further ado, here’s an outline for the next game that I’m currently prototyping.
It’s the end of the world, and you play a demon or devil, basically damned and stuck on Earth as armageddon approaches. There’s a loophole though – if you can find and convince a truly innocent character (which would be rare) to accept you for what you are, then you can escape with them when it all goes to hell.
What I’m hoping to build is a procedural narrative game, where you essentially have to use information and social interactions to manipulate other characters in the game world. It’ll be like an interactive story where character interactions are your tools, rather than physical objects.
The idea is that you have to talk to and manipulate characters in the game to learn facts and form relationships to advance your position. I probably won’t have a combat system. If you do end up fighting you’d be so powerful that you can essentially kill your opponent immediately. However, you may also lose control and kill other nearby characters, and that has a downside as it means you lose all of their knowledge and relationships too.
I hope to be able to procedurally generate a graph of characters, relationships, and information, so that when you play you won’t necessarily know who to go after, or what it will take to convince them to save you (and there may be multiple options).
An example situation I’ve been using is that you think there’s an innocent inside a club, but the bouncer won’t let you in. If you dig up some dirt on him you might find out he’s got a drug habit, a criminal record, or some other character flaw that you can use to blackmail him into letting you in. Alternatively, you could decide to kill him, but later on you might regret that, as he could be the only one with information or leverage on someone else that you need to deal with…
That’s it in a nutshell – I’m gathering feedback and discussing this with other developers to figure out exactly how it will work. If it sounds like something you’re interested in, then please let me know!