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  • Results From Game Design Challenge: Local Legends

    [10.22.19]
    - Danny Cowan

  • Adair Tabb, Student at The University of Montevallo, The Devil's Chair of Cassadaga

    The Premise:

    It's a sweltering Halloween night in Orlando, Florida. With the disasterous combination of candy, alcohol, and post-midterms despair, some college students are inevitably going to do something dumb: in the case of a reluctant Hawthorne and her friends, it's heading over to Lake Helen Cassadaga Cemetery to have a midnight chat with the Devil.

    From the perspective of Hawthorne, the player will go through that Halloween night starting at 9pm and ending at 5am.

    Medium:

    As a third-person RPG interactive drama survival horror, Devil's Chair would be heavy on detail in both character models and environment, which the Decima engine is excellent for.

    Rough Gameplay:

    Phase One (9pm to Midnight):

    At 9pm, 10pm, and 11pm, there will be distinct sections where the player chooses which of Hawthorne's three friends Hawthorne interacts with and how she interacts with them, leading up to when they reach the Cassadaga Cemetery.

    The purpose of this is to establish bonds between characters, reveal to the player the unique flaws, vices, and virtues of Hawthorne and her friends, and begin setting up the interpersonal conflicts that will really come into focus in Phase Two, while teaching the game mechanics to the players. It is also possible to favor one friend over everyone else, or two friends over the third.

    At Midnight, the player will pick which person will sit on the Devil's Chair, except for Hawthorne, who refuses outright. Depending on which person is selected, whether or not the player favored one or more characters over the person sitting on the chair, and various minor choices made throughout Phase One, Phase Two will be different.

    Phase Two (Midnight to 5am):

    Regardless of who sits on the Devil's Chair, the person who sat reports that nothing happened. It's only at 1am, when Hawthorne and her friends are attacked by demons, do they realize that something absolutely did happen.

    The Devil has possessed the body of the person who sat on the Devil's Chair to escape Hell, and Hell wants the Devil back.

    Hawthorne and the remainder of her friends have until sunrise to find a way to get their friend back, or the possession becomes permanent. The player can do this in a couple different ways: either through appealing to the lost friend directly, ignoring the Devil, which is easier if Hawthorne spent time with them & harder if she favored others over them; through arguing with or making deals with the Devil, which will be easier or harder depending on how the player has Hawthorne treat the Devil; or a combination of the two.

    All while avoiding or fending off the forces of Hell, of course.

    Mechanics:

    Dialogue Trees & Meaningful Action Choices: What Hawthorne says and does matters. Each small decision will affect how other characters view her and how much they trust her, as well as opens or closes later possible dialogue or action choices down the line. These will affect how Hawthorne talks to her lost friend and the Devil, and how the forces of Hell choose to attack.

    Combat & Tactics: As a not-particularly-fit college student, Hawthorne must rely on strategy and timing to succeed. She is capable of directing her more talented friends (and useless Devil) to advantageous positions within environments, and use those environments to combat the demonic enemies pursuing them. In a direct confrontation, Hawthorne can use a variety of improvised weapons, but the attack timing must be perfect (no button-mashing).

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