Choice based games have been on the rise in recent years, most noticeably the TellTale Games series’.
These games tell stories to players whilst making them feel like a part of it, through the use of important decisions and choices that the players themselves get to choose. These, choices really bring the player in and allow them to become truly immersed in the tale, as it creates the illusion that the story is being built around them… But is it?
Often the case with games of this nature, they allow for the player to merely change the steps inbetween a definite start and end. So whilst the journey may seem somewhat unique, by the end – everybody has the same thing.
This is of course great in terms of keeping everything consistent – players will all be able to discuss the same topic and give opinions on the story arch as a whole, but does that ruin the personal feeling that the story gave us? Those personal choices that WE made, are they still as personal and therefore as engrossing as they once were?
I don’t think so.
With my recent venture into choice based games – Life Simulator GO, I decided to come up with a system that would mean a players choice permanently effects the game, no matter how big or how small.
Life Simulator GO uses what I’m calling a “card” based system. The player has a current deck of cards, each with scenarios which grant a choice with two options.
The current deck is switched once the player enters a new “stage” of life. For example, from Teen to an Adult. This switch will set the current deck to a base set of adult cards, and any cards that have been added to the adult deck through choices on previous cards.
Each choice will effect the player in different ways, with stat changes and new cards being added to the player’s decks. This would allow for a player to get arrested at a young age for doing illegal activities, and then that ruin their life as an adult because they would be unable to get a job.
I believe that this system of feedback is key to creating an immersive life for the player to live. The game is truly shaped from the choices that you make, and you have to choose the options that will benefit you most.
This system also allows for your character to have memories, memories that you share. For example, you could choose a toy towards the beginning of your life, simply by playing with it more – and then we could add a card to your elderly deck, in which you find that same toy. Little moments like this allow for an immersive game session that feels like you have just lived a whole story, a whole life.
Life Simulator GO is a game that is supposed to be played quickly, maybe in between classes at school – or whilst waiting for a bus. To make this possible, I’m focusing on replayability by providing many “cards” that are chosen from random based on your current deck. This means that as time is advancing in the game, you won’t be able to experience every card in one playthrough, as it simply won’t be possible.
With our first release, we’re hoping to have around 200+ base cards. This may not sound like many, but this is just the base set, so cards that are added to your deck as a result of a choice aren’t included. We don’t have an expected number of these “set” cards, but I’m expecting them to be into the hundreds.
I’ll be doing some more blog posts about the theory behind this game and the progressions that we make as we develop it.
If you’re interested in working with us to create cards, be sure to let me know via an email (or just ask if you know me) – you’ll get your name in the credits of the game and you’ll be able to work closely with myself and the team!
Thanks for reading!