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  • Results from Game Design Challenge: Romance

    - staff

  • Tania Anta, Student at UPC's Master in Video Game Creation and Development, Lost in Your Memories

    To provide a bit of context, as the game will be heavily story-driven, I had the main idea while recalling 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind', one of my favourite films ever.

    The goal consists of gathering the pieces of a perplexing puzzle: the memories of your girlfriend/boyfriend and the relationship you had/have, which apparently you have completely forgotten. Solving the riddle doesn't mean you both get to live happily ever after: as you regain new memories and get closer to your goal, your decisions throughout the game and your interactions with other characters may significantly affect the outcome.

    You won't be alone in your journey: Together with a partially controllable NPC who's going through the same, you'll have to cooperate to find out why your respective significant others seem to have been erased from your memories...if they ever existed.

    At the beginning, you'll get to choose your gender and sexual orientation: they'll determine your partner's identity. Then you can pick a career (such as a scientist, a painter, a PR or a stripper) with benefits and disadvantages to your skills. There will also be some traits to choose which will set some background story-wise and grant you with further bonuses and handicaps. Your character's appearance will be customizable, for the eye candy.

    Your companion will start with some skills of her own. As you progress through the game and get to know her better, you'll be able to 'discover' her own traits (not necessarily the same set you were offered in the beginning) and further refine her skills.

    The plot will advance by completing certain sub-goals: - Get some reaction from an NPC, through conversational trees or performing in-game actions. - Reach some particular location. - Cooperative missions. Say, your partner uses her persuasion skill to distract some guy while you sneak past and then use your amazing ability to find information to...find some information. - Mini-game solving, related to whatever you're doing. Oblivion is useful as a bad and a good example: While I found the persuasion wheel totally unimmersive, the lock picking mini-game was, in contrast, reasonably well done.

    Solving a sub-goal will trigger some hint about your relationship (which will contribute to get you attached to him/her, lest you might end up always romancing a secondary or even more unimportant character) and may give some clues for the next mission.

    If you end up romancing other people (you cheater!), you'll have to talk to them, give them gifts or help them out. Your choices during the game may also modify the approval of one potential lover (where that option makes sense: no clairvoyance!). I'm afraid I won't be spoiling much if I say beforehand your companion will be a love interest, but there'll be more, some of which you might not get to meet on a single playthrough.

    Last, there will be a variety of optional areas where you can get some benefits: insight about missions or the game world, shops, secondary quests, workplaces, motels, etcetera.


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