My goal for this project has always been to create “mini games” under a larger umbrella. To create varied experiences bundled in one game under a larger story that unfolds slowly. I have now begun to challenge this idea.
The major issue with this is that all of the stories need to feed into the larger meta-story. This will make their production slower and it forces some limitations on the sub stories. For example in an interrogation scenario, the logical end of a story might be way after all the necessary information has been collected. So I need to force the stories conclusion to be the last piece of the puzzle. This is not always natural.
Also, as I am working alone, creating a full 10+ hour game will take a very long time!
Make it an anthology game!
This is actually quite an elegant solution. The game could very well be an anthology game in the vain of “Black Mirror”, “Electric Sheep” and “Love, Death and Robots”. All of the episodes would be 1-2 hours of gameplay and be released independently. A “season” of content could be around 5-6 “episodes”. This would allow me to be much more experimental with the content. To have wildly different stories with wildly different main characters.
You would be able to play the episodes in any order. You would not need to play all of the episodes. Think of it like independent small gaming experiences that would cost around a 1-2 dollars each and provide entertainment and puzzles for around one afternoon. Actually similar to the Backbone Prologue, but it would be the full story each time.
I would not need to throw any work away. I would just scope down the story and make it into one episode. This will actually free up the writing as the sub-stories do not need to tie together and I can use all of the ideas I have had to abandon!
Changing to an anthology release plan, allows me to be more experimental, allows me to make the short stories stand on their own better. Also it accelerates the release rate of the episodes to players’ hands. I feel that it better serves the purpose of this project for me and is better for the players as well!
As I had already written previously, I had scoped down from the original idea a lot and had scoped the full game down to one location. The reasoning behind that was to make the project feasible for me to complete and release in some sensible timeframe. But going the anthology route again opens up the locations and time-eras as I can release a new episode as soon as it’s location and puzzles are complete. This will keep up the velocity nicely!
I also hope that I do not need to fear the episodic release where the number of players go down each new episode as some players might not advance in the game, as all of my episodes are fully stand alone, independent games! You could be stuck in episode 1 but still buy the episode 2 and play them like fully separate games. Or only buy the episode 2 if it has a theme you are into.
I need to do some rebranding, come up with a new name, get a new web domain, and update the blog front-page, but that is about it. Not much work goes to waste and I can “unleash my creativity.”