By Grace Zhao, Graham Todd, Josh Lara, and Saljuk Gondal
Desdemona, Ohio. Your hometown. You haven’t been back there in 15 years. It’s a place you’ve tried your best to forget, but there it is, plain as day: your next assignment. As a surveyor with the Strategic Recommercialization Initiative, your job is simple — you’ve done it a hundred times before. You head to a town, evaluate its infrastructure, and deliver your report to the higher-ups so they can determine whether or not the place is suitable for a large-scale industrialization project. But there’s something about this assignment that’s making you ask questions. Why did they pick you for this job out of a thousand surveyors? Why are parts of your assignment redacted? And why won’t anyone tell you what’s happened in Desdemona for the past 15 years? You know that there’s only one place you can get your answers.
In Desdemona, Ohio, you play a mundane government worker tasked with surveying your old hometown, a place you haven’t seen in 15 years. You have every reason to believe that this will be a normal job, just like every other surveying mission you’ve done with the Strategic Recommericalization Initiative. But you quickly find out that nothing is normal about this job. Desdemona, Ohio is a game about the subtle melancholy of returning to a place you once called home and finding it’s changed in your absence — the sadness of realizing that things cannot go back to the way they were before. It is also a game about death — of people and of places — and the traces we leave behind when we’re gone. Over the course of the game you’ll uncover what’s happened to Desdemona and its inhabitants, and even have a chance to shape its future.
Desdemona, Ohio is primarily a point-and-click adventure game in which you navigate between locations in a small American town. In addition to this, however, players will also quickly gain access to the “fremoscope” — a device which can detect the presence of spirits nearby and even allow for limited interaction with them through a text interface. In this way, we hope to combine some features of text-based adventure games, as communicating with the spirits will both be necessary for completing some puzzles and for getting the full narrative experience.
Types of Fun
Along with the primary type of fun of narrative, there will also be an element of fantasy, given the supernatural events affecting the town of Desdemona. Player’s can also freely communicate with spirits over the fremoscope, experiencing a fun in expression, and make critical decisions to affect the game’s outcome, which brings about an element of challenge.