I just began working on my third free adventure game and figure I could use some feedback on the design before I sink too deep
In the near future, genetic engineering and dissolution into nation-states led governments to regulate peace via strict media control. You are one of chief curator of the local digipaper. You are the Headliner.
The game spans 10 days, each divided into three stages:
The Office, single screen with free look from your cubicle approving articles.
- Each day, 5-10 new articles pile up on your desk you must either approve or disapprove
The time is ticking with a wall clock.
- Sticky notes from management or reminders from your wife / husband (like “pick up milk on way home, love, Anna”).
- Similar interface to Papers, Please or Westpoint Independent
The Streets, side-scrolling walk home with buildings and shops in background.
- Denizens walk the streets and comment on latest events as you pass by.
- Megaphones keep counting down the curfew time, urging you to get home as soon as possible
- As the situation changes, there may be protestors or even rioters, vandalized buildings etc.
- Police and armed patrols eventually show up and must be avoided, or face lengthy paper checks
- The quicker you wrap up Office work, the more time you will have in this stage
- Short conversation with your family commenting on events and criticizing/apporiving your paper
- A few choices in the conversation that can impact story (i.e. daughter wanting to attend a protest)
- Your boss’s approval increases (i.e. “Great work last night, our ratings are booming!”)
- Your wife’s approval decreases (i.e. “I cannot believe you work for that tabloid trash!”)
- Civil Unrest increases leading to more protests, riots and patrols / checkpoints / shorter curfew
You start one week from the 4th anniversary of your nation state becoming the first in the world to have over half of the population genetically modified. This led to tensions, with a lot of non-modified “purists” being discriminated against (think Jim Crow laws or Deus Ex: Human Revolution augmented/non-augmented in reverse).
As the annual “Emancipation Celebration Day” approaches, the public unrest and government concern grows. In response, a foreign diplomat Ferdinand Rath will arrive in two days to assuage the situation.
Based on how you shape the newspaper, the unrest can become more discriminatory and violent against purists. There will be an assassination attempt at diplomat Rath, and whether he lives or dies depends on your influence. The culprit will be captured and their defense and public image will also depend on your articles.
The story reaches climax on the actual celebration day, from a fairly peaceful to spiraling out of control with people throwing bricks and burning cars. You will play for several more days after to watch the fallout.
The whole scenario is heavily based on Kristallnacht, “a pogrom against Jews throughout Nazi Germany on the 9–10 November 1938, carried out by SA paramilitary forces and German civilians.” (Wikipedia)
References and Influences
Blade Runner - for the overall dark aesthetic and moral dilemmas
Papers, Please - one of the core inspirations and an excellent game!
Westport Independent - indie game curating a newspaper, albeit lacking in the emotional payoff. I hope to learn from reading its criticism and reviews.
Jazzpunk - for its use of slapstic humor and in-game newspapers[
Deus Ex: Human Revolution - for the augmented/non-augmented conflict and overall aesthetic, similar to Blade Runner