Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Success of "Thomas Was Alone" (*Spoilers*)

I recently stumbled on a Reddit AMA with the creator of Thomas Was Alone, Mike Bithell. It was very inspiring. Many comments praised him and his game for the relationships and characters he created. I honestly haven't had a chance to play the game, but I have watched Lets Plays of it. It looks pretty fun, and the dialogue was very entertaining.

I wonder if emotions can be met with the same praise. I really want my game to push emotional boundaries for the genre. I want the last level to make the player say "wow" when they learn the complete story. Not a wow as in "that was amazing", but a wow that you feel after watching, say, Donnie Darko.


I am still unsure of how to accomplish this. I think, after beating the final level, the player will be stuck on an empty plane while the credits float around the screen. Maybe then, the player will see the complete story, and I can give some kind of cue that the player is imprisoned in this coma. Maybe I can add in sound effects that resemble a hospital, and maybe some words or phrases that echo around the void.

I want the player to have a revelation that, all this time, the player has been putting back together the pieces of their soul, but they are still imprisoned.

Maybe, when the player is standing on the plane at the end of the game, his wife will be standing on an adjacent plane, but the player can't jump the distance. The model has to be recognizable as the wife from the slides, so it will have to be nearly the same model. The female will stand on the plane, and as the credits go on, the distance will increase until the female is no longer visible.

I should probably introduce the female character earlier in the game also. Maybe a hazy yellow figure at the end of each level. It can be a marker the player aims to move towards. After the player arrives at the last platform where the girl is standing, she disappears, the player gains a piece of their brain and a description of the piece of the brain, and then the slide. This continues until the after the last level. The female figure is perfectly visible, and while the slides play in order, the female moves further and further away.


I digress. The Reddit AMA was very inspiring. I just hope my game forms a community as well. I think my game has real potential to invoke emotion in the players.

I can see some people hating the game because the story is too abstract, and I can see some understanding it. The only problem is not knowing whether most people will understand it or be confused.

Another useful piece of information I found was that Thomas Was Alone sells for $10. This makes me think I may be able to charge no less than $15.

If I can invoke the emotion of distress and sadness in the player, than I can consider myself successful.

Thanks for reading.

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