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Robert Phillips

Escape the Room/Horror

4 posts in this topic

After writing a summary of my story I can't help but feel like something is missing.

 

My goal was to lead the player through an investigation/puzzle while answering questions and making more as the game progressed, and then at the end have nothing but questions remaining (which could actually be answered through subtle clues.)

 

 So the story is that you wake up (first person) and see that your wife is missing (aided by the picture on the nightstand next to the bed with a man kissing a woman) as you glide your hand across the pillow where her head should be you smear blood on it. Of course you draw your hands infront of your face and realize they are covered in blood (suspensful music and all that as you get up and rush to the door only to have the handle come off and after repeatedly smashing the door you give up. Boom, you take control and the escape begins.

 

Now skipping details after you clear the room there are stairs but you will be prompted to ignore them until you completely investigate upstairs. Evidence is found that you have not just a wife but two kids, then you can proceed downstairs. There in one of the rooms you will find the dead wife torn up in some horrible fashion. Here the player can go to either the front or backyard, in either yard one of the children can be found in a similar fashion. Both yards must be investigated before you can proceed down the cellar. Now at any time the player can look down and see his own body, look in a mirror and see his own face (the character is a male). But if you use the search button while looking at your left pocket you find a picture of two boys, one with the face torn out. Down the cellar you find a man, torn up in a similar fashion who looks exactly like the player. In his pocket you find the torn out face. The man is your twin brother. Here I have the game end by the character being allowed to leave through a gate, and it fading into credits.

 

The question is left, did he kill your family so you killed him, or did you kill him and his entire family. For what motive, etc... Throughout the investigation im going to leave only the most subtle clues, the most subtle being the wedding ring. It will be found on the dead man. Barely visible because right now I plan on him being nailed onto a ceiling. (Directly below the position of the dead wife.)

 

I've asked a few others about why I have this feeling that it isn't complete but perhaps you fine folk can give me some ideas. I feel it needs something more. Suggestions?

 

Also, current title: Simply Madness (I'd like some thoughts on this as well)

My other thought was Simpe Madness, darned semantics.

 

(I understand this could also very well go into game design, but I believe what I'm looking for is more geared towards the overall story.)

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Firstly, I think having the brother nailed to the ceiling breaks the ambiguity. A normal person is unlikely to do this, so giving away that you are the murderer. Maybe evidence of a fight between them, and therefore the quick death. It could still be gory though, e.g. a fight with swords or other unconventional weapons.

 

I like the ambiguity and the general plot, however it feels like the story is quite short, isn't very interactive, and has no resolution. These aren't all required, but I feel it's worth addressing some of them. I think it would be quite interesting if your actions affect how guilty you will look at the end, e.g. picking up a weapon leaves bloody fingerprints, or breaking through a locked door looks psycho, sending a message out brings the cops, etc. Things that an innocent person might do in the situation which could damn you. Especially anything which would improve matters if you're innocent, or make them worse if you're guilty, but you don't know which you are. Another interesting option would be if you had a final choice, e.g. run away, go to the cops, kill yourself. But maybe you don't get to see the results of your action.

 

I had an idea for a similar short film, maybe it will give you some inspiration. A guy wakes up trapped in a basement by various means, he's also been drugged and nearly died from the drugs. He frees himself, finds a girl locked in an old broken chest freezer. She's scared, but he wins her trust. He works to break them out and protect her from the unknown captors. But there is no captor. It's his house. He's a mentally disturbed serial killer with brief moments of sanity. In a moment of clarity he knew his estranged family were planning to visit him and he must do whatever he could to stop himself from killing them. So he trapped and drugged himself. The girl is one of his would-be victims that he snatched last night. He has only minutes to decide what to do before his family arrive. End of movie. ;)

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I see what your saying, I completely missed that.

 

It's meant to be a short story I plan on doing the whole project myself programming, art and all.

 

I didn't want to involve cops in the end but it would add to it greatly, give the game a whole other side but evidence wouldn't matter because twins have the same fingerprints and I don't want the player to be worried about looking guilty as they go through the game. But perhaps adding a time limit might spice things up, where after you clear the branch from the cellar door and open it up you find a phone down the stairs and call the cops before continuing, thus giving you 5 minutes to find your brother, discover the truth and decide how to proceed. (Killing yourself, running away, or surrendering to the cops.) I always have liked multiple endings.

 

Amnesia is a hell of a drug.

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Glad to help. Good luck!

 

Regarding the cops, actually twins have different fingerprints (they're not genetic), but whatever angle works for you. A time limit may work, or driven by specific events.

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...evidence wouldn't matter because twins have the same fingerprints...

This isn't correct: even identical twins don't have matching fingerprints (although they do share DNA). They're often more similar than the finger prints of unrelated or less closely related people's, but they're always distinct.

If this is an important point in your game you'll need to revise to not rely on it. Not involving the police may be a good idea, as then the fingerprints won't be checked during the game.



I agree with the first response that it sounds like there isn't much interactivity to the story, with options to proceed blocked until the proceeding task is accomplished and no apparent branches to the story.

This is fine as a story, but may not be ideal for a game.


Hope that helps! :)
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