Saturday, 7 November 2009

Interim Game Idea - Wandering/Wondering

I dunno why I'm doing this, but I considered doing a short game idea to help contextualize my character a little. The game title would be Wandering/Wondering, mostly because the character Haruka spends a lot of her time wandering the land looking for her family and the other character (the demon/whatever hunter) spends a lot of time contemplating his actions and trying to find Haruka. Each character goes to the other side, but don't we all?

Anyway, I considered all sorts of possibilities for the game and character in previous posts and comments. Thanks to a little help from Steve (the MCP of game design) I was able to narrow down the list of ideas to something more concrete.

The main characters would be Haruka and a still unnamed man who's a demon hunter (I'll call him DM). You play through both perspectives of Haruka and DM in order to understand the full story.

Haruka's innate ability is to draw in lost souls, delay, manipulate and absorb them. Of course, she doesn't know this. She becomes more ghostly when in danger, able to run through certain walls or disappear completely and reappear in a random place (her memory hazy). She has little control over these powers and often doesn't know she has used them. Certain people she meets and captures give Haruka other abilities, classic things like more strength or the ability to do things (pick locks, fight, plumb etc). Haruka doesn't realize how she's using these powers, nor does the player until near the end of the game. But the truth is that she's tapping power from the souls shes captured and the more she uses a certain power, the more of the soul's memories she uncovers. The souls are very malicious towards Haruka (wanting to get free) so over using a certain power harms Haruka. Fortunately (or unfortunately) Haruka can gain health by running through crowded areas. Since she passively absorbs souls, she can absorb bits of the souls of the people she's running by, but the consequences (more story/character wise than game play) are that the people are in grave danger. Haruka is safest around a crowd and vulnerable alone, which is a great character contradiction for someone who feels lonely. She wants to be near people, but can't because she'll kill them and she doesn't want to be alone but it's safest for everyone.

Haruka's story takes her from place to place, which is unusual for a ghost. She finds clues that eventually lead her no where. The player uncovers these new clues and gains new insight from using abilities. As she uses her power she realizes the evil surrounding her and where her true power comes from. As she sees her "baggage" she can finally see all the souls she has captured and tormented, as well as all the blood that follows behind her. Depending on the game style, the final boss would be Haruka's "baggage" or DM.

A final thing to note about Haruka's perspective is that she sees threats as story book demons, ghosts and ghouls. In truth these are actually hunters who travel around the world looking for strange oddities. Anything from ghost busters to demon hunters try and kill Haruka, but so far none have succeeded. Haruka's instinct is to defend herself from those trying to hurt her - she doesn't hold back because she doesn't see them as human. If she did, she probably wouldn't exist.

That would be the first perspective, the other perspective would be from DM. From his perspective, DM sees all the destruction Haruka causes and his job is to hunt her down and put a stop to her. The player doesn't really know why Haruka is doing this, or even who Haruka is. He just has to fight the lost and tormented souls (un)lucky enough to not have been captured by Haruka. These souls take on various different forms depending on the person. It might be accurate to say that DM is more of an exorcist than a demon hunter. Though hand in hand?

DM sees many of his fellow comrades die to Haruka, so his view on her is very negative when he finally does meet her. It's up to the player to try and decipher the clues on what Haruka is doing in order to see that she's as much of a victim as the rest of the people. Naturally that's often easier said than done, there are a lot of grim possibilities when DM fights Haruka. He could win (difficult) and destroy Haruka, leaving her baggage to rampage wildly without her. He could lose the fight and become one of the souls that Haruka has in her palm - that way nothing gets resolved. This outcome would happen if the player can't beat Haruka or hasn't tried to see what has happened with her. The final would be to realize that Haruka isn't the enemy and try to focus on her baggage. Through this Haruka would see DM for what he is and finally the baggage would be the true enemy for both of them. That would be the true ending.

The final fight would be similar for both characters (as in DM vs Haruka, Haruka vs DM and both vs baggage), in which the true goal is not defeating your opponent, but understanding them. It would be Haruka realizing her demons and how to fight them, and DM understanding Haruka's dilemma.

The last perspective would happen randomly, you'd see how the souls Haruka has captured came to meet her in the first place and what circumstances led to their death. Haruka is more drawn to people without a purpose, wandering like she is - so you'd see what caused them to become like that. The player wouldn't know exactly what was going on with these perspectives until the end of the game. It would feel like someone met with Haruka and bonded with her, eventually leaving (the ideal would be having their issues resolved - but that's a fake truth).

Lastly, the game would probably be more of an action/adventure game, with more emphasis on the adventure (like how Ico has action in it but it's not the main thing). So with that done, I suppose I'll end this entry and get back to slaving over my 3D model like a good porch monkey.

1 comment:

  1. lol Porch monkeys 4 life! (s'ok, I'm takin it back)

    Dig the idea Kaile, I really think the changing perspectives is the only way to deal with the paradoxical qualities of Harukas tragic story; choosing just one would miss out on alot of the stories more intriguing points. I love the ideaa of a player using crowds to recharge their health and energy, meanwhile terrible accidents befall the people around them. At first they think "wow these people are unlucky" or something. When they learn all the horrors (which could begin slapstick then get worse and worse) are down to their presence. It would be a brilliant moment of realisation for them AND Haruka.

    MCP though? What does that stand for? :P Thanks for the mention, but of course, thanks for all your help also; you were vital in helping me move forward with my latest idea (Parasomnia), and in providing advice on how to get the easternised art style of Affinitus right.


Remind me that I'm whining. Oh, and that I'm black.