Finding an identity

Hello There,

So, armed with the desire to build a game, one of the first things I needed to do was figure out what the game was about.

You can think of this like an identity because the narrative gives the game a sense of purpose. It is this which sets the tone and foundation for everything else.

The Warehouse

The original idea would follow the protagonist at their rock bottom. Isolated and in unrecoverable debt, they feel helpless and desperate for a way out. One day, a mysterious note is slipped under the door of their flat.

The mysterious note claims to make all of this go away. The catch is to play the game. If you win, you can put your past behind you and start a new life.

Here is an except from the intro sequence, told from the eyes of the protagonist as they arrive at the agreed location.

I felt a tremendous weight on me; what is this place? As I look around, everything seems so small next to this multi-storey structure. As I walk up to the building, a sense of foreboding washes over me; there is no going back once I enter not unless I find a way to leave. As I enter the warehouse, the door locks promptly behind me.

I was surrounded by darkness, with nothing but the musky air to comfort me. Two screens light up in front of me, lighting what is about to unfold. The screens welcome me and invite me to walk across the walkway ahead. Towards the end of the walkway, a panel is illuminated, revealing a button.

As I approach the walkway, I see stagnant water below my feet; what could it be hiding? I knew I was not far from finding out. The sound of my footsteps bounced around the space. To the right of me was a viewing platform. There is no doubt the answer to my past stood lurking in the shadows.

I stood before the button, took a few moments to prepare myself, and pushed firmly down. The building sprang to life with mechanical sounds; I could hear things moving above me. Suddenly several platforms lowered to my level. After a short while, the sounds stopped. I was left with nothing but my thoughts and an unwavering sense of determination…the game had begun.

As I approached the platform, I looked down to see the water was hiding a series of sharp spikes; it suddenly dawned on me that if I made one wrong calculation, it would be my last.

The entire game takes place in a ever-changing section of the warehouse which grows in complexity as the player moves through the challenge.

The finale would see them being chased by the antagonist in a last ditch attempt to stop them from walking away victorious.

It was a self-contained experience but was scraped as I realised the theme and message was too dark and disturbed to be enjoyable as an experience.

The Game

From there, the idea began to evolve and change (much like the original setting). I started experimenting with the idea of a twisted game show. It is here where the idea for the door first came into fruition. Upon entering this door, the player would be met with a room styled like the entrance to a ride you might find at an amusement park.

Upon gaining entry, they would enter an elevator to the first of 9 floors. Each game would see the player complete a challenge. If they succeed, they are rewarded a prize and eventually their freedom. However, if the player fails, then they remain there…trapped.

It was this idea that explored themes of curiosity and exploring our limits as humans. Curiosity has the potential to bring significant change in both positive and negative ways, it’s just a question of how far you are willing to go.

The Facility

That brings us to what I am calling “The Facility”. By taking elements of both ideas and setting it to the backdrop of a internet urban legend forms the foundation of this story. What lays beyond the door, is a matter of perspective.

I will leave you with an synopsis of the games premise.

In the early hours of the morning, a mysterious door is known to appear. Each time somewhere new and never the same place twice. A small community has formed to keep track of its sightings. Interest begins growing as does confidence in approaching the strange door.

What do you think of the other ideas?, let me know the comments.

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