Daily Design: Day 54

Daily Design is a series of game concepts devised daily through all of 2016. These are just basic concepts, designed based on three randomly generated words. Today, they are;

Mercy, Cycle and Call.

As such, the game I’ve designed today is…

The Twilight Phone

The-Impossible-2012-5.jpg

In The Twilight Phone, players will have a phone call with a stranger who’s about to kill themselves. It’s their goal to stop them doing so through words alone.

Initially, though, this is impossible – the stranger will always commit suicide no matter what the player says. Luckily for them (and the plot), the protagonist possesses the power of time control for some reason, and can restart the conversation at any time.

Players will select from a list of dialogue options, as seen in many (especially older) RPGs. However, this isn’t just about selecting the correct options the first time through; more options will become available as dialogue trees open up new avenues of discussion. By learning something about the stranger, players can unlock new dialogue trees to pursue on their next attempt.

For example, you may learn that the stranger has a child, which would open up many dialogue options that in turn may unlock more.

It’s basically a text-only version of Her Story. That’s easy to say, though – Her Story was a fantastic game, but that’s largely because of the powerful acting. In this case, the game would need captivating writing with genuinely interesting twists. The stranger’s case would need to be compelling and sympathetic, and the protagonist would need to be believable enough to relate to, despite having time control powers. None of this is impossible, but it’s a very important part of a successful game, and none of it easy to achieve.

While I just said this is a “text-only” game, I’m not entirely sure that would be the case. I imagine it could work well as a text game, certainly, but may it may also work well with some limited visuals. Having characters – probably the stranger – react to the conversation could be very compelling. Similarly, strong voice acting could lend a huge amount to the game.

Because I’m not creating this, it’s easy to say, but realistically I think I’d keep this is a purely text-based game, simply for cost. It’s so reliant on the writing as is that I think extras may be adding unnecessary risk and cost to something that relies on the writing anyway.

That’s it! Thanks for reading. I’ll be back tomorrow with another quick game concept. 

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