The protagonist wakes up from a 3-month coma, not having any recollection of what has happened in the past 3 months, in a world where everyone — except for the protagonist — has lost their hearing. (Another version: After waking up, the protagonist loses their sight alongside their memory, and could only perceive the world through auditory senses.)
The protagonist has been tasked with deciphering the only records of the traumatic past event: cassette tapes. As the protagonist pieces together the history of what has happened by navigating through these audio-based snapshots of time, the protagonist realizes that they themselves are the cause of everyone’s deafness. (Another version: The protagonist realizes that they’ve committed a crime against someone who’s close to them.) Ultimately the protagonist must decide whether to reveal what they have done to reverse the tragedy and face eternal condemnation, or hide their realization and allow the tragedy to continue.
We still have some features in the synopsis that we are not quite sure about, and we will further flesh them out when we design the whole narrative. Our major debates now center on:
- Internal/External. Whether the narrative should focus on the inner psychological strife of the protagonist, or should focus on the worldview with everyone going blind as a spectacle.
- The scale of the crime committed by the protagonist. If focusing more on the internal aspect of the narrative, then the crime would be more personal; if focusing on the worldview as a spectacle, then the crime would center on the metaphor of blindness and the disorderliness of an all-blind world.
- The form of interaction. Whether the protagonist should interact with other characters around them or focuses on interacting with the past through cassette tapes.
- Some details concerning the protagonist’s trauma, fear, motive, etc.
- Internal conflict/self reflective
- Dark / mysterious — piecing together the past
- Possible Psychological thriller
- Life is Strange: internal conflict, decision-making, one’s ability to interact with temporal space, possible non-linear timeline
- Hollow Knight: sad, somber, quiet, and post-apocalyptic
- With Those We Love Alive: dark, playing with the concept of memory, writing
The world consists of the interactable world in the present and the audio world in the past. The audio world is accessed through cassette tape(s) and is a snapshot of the same location in the present world. The audio world consists of directional sounds and voices that are visually represented and the player can move towards them for improved clarity. The player may also manipulate time in the audio world by rewinding and fast-forwarding the recording to navigate through the time dimension. The real world has some inaccessible areas and features that are navigable through sound in the audio version, which creates the puzzle aspect of the game.
Another conception involves the cassette tapes being recorded audio of the protagonist’s past either in the format of personal audio memos or environmental recordings. The world starts off as dim, blurry, and/or distorted, and as players learn more through the audio recordings, the world gets clearer, though new information that is in conflict with past knowledge or reveals some aspect of ignorance may interfere with their view and distort the world.
Some small town in a relatively desolate area. Creating a dark, claustrophobic atmosphere.
For the scope of this project, we may limit the navigable area to a single building, outdoor space, or a single room