Identity

Identity is an action-RPG that combines elements of shooters and flight simulators with a story that is a mystery inside of a war set in the future.

Identity was a project for a class on narrative. Because it was a narrative class, I focused more on the story over the mechanics. Most importantly, I focused on how the story was told. Because point of view is one of my favorite literary devices, I used that to tell the same story from two different perspectives.

Story

The story is set in the future when humanity has settled various planets. Humanity is also at war with an ominous alien race: the Wraiths. The player wakes up next to a clone of themselves and neither knows who the original is. The mystery is how the player came to be cloned. Memories are missing, and there are discrepancies with the past as each clone remembers it. The clones will travel to various locations in hopes of discovering how they came to be. At the same time, they will have to deal with the Wraiths who are about to defeat humanity in this war.

After escaping the lab where they wake up, the clones will commandeer a ship which will take them to various worlds in the game. Among them are the clones’ home world, Arpeligo, which is a suburban war zone. There the clones will meet their mutual paramour, Jordon, there and vie for Jordon’s affections as they progress. Then there is Zrieh, a polluted wasteland where the clones meet up with friends and fellow soldiers, Mason and Carly. There is the frozen Yarisston where the player will learn the Wraith’s weakness, meet a Wraith ally (if they decide not to kill her) and get everything they need to progress to their final destination. They will end up on the giant city world of Capitol where the player will experience one of several endings based on decisions made throughout the game.

The player controls two clones. Fitting the theme of defining an identity, the player is given a large amount of control over the character and, by extension, the characteristics of their clone. The perspective shifts between both clones, giving the player elements of control over both: In ground combat, switching between the views of each clone is frequent, and gives the player control over both bodies. In space, the two clones have the same view but one shoots and the other flies. Finally, in cinematic sequences, the player will control--and respond to prompts for--only one but which one often depends on decisions made earlier. Prompts directed to the clone not being controlled are answered based on the player’s earlier choices. Branching is frequent and the many choices affect not only how the player experiences things but who they experience it as and how the story will end.

Treatment Download

This treatment was a chance for me to spell out the early version of the game. Here I planned out the story, determined the basic mechanics, and examined the competition.

Business Analysis Download

The business analysis contains the same examination of the competition which can be found in the treatment but also includes an examination of the Identity from a business perspective. It includes box-text, a summary of the game play, and a meta-analysis of the game explaining its appeal.

High Concept Document Download

This document was prepared for a different class where I had to pitch Identity again. It contains more up-to-date competitive analysis, a better overview of the mechanics, and contains almost no story elements.

Focus

Some of the main things I focused on with Identity were giving the player control over the story’s progression systematically, having the two perspectives be close enough to establish the fact that they were clones and then have them distinct enough that they are separate. Additionally, I wanted the experience to be disconcerting for the player. I wanted them strongly identify with the character so the sense of confused identity would have a greater emotional impact. To achieve this, I gave the player a great amount of agency over the character's appearance, background, and how they acted and spoke to others.

More

During the course, a sample script and more complete design document were also produced. Sadly they were lost in an unfortunate series of computer failures. Recreating them from memory and scraps of print out is time-consuming and very difficult. Currently, because of this, recreating those documents has to be given a low priority and these things are not included with my portfolio. However, if one were especially curious, they can contact me and I will give it a higher priority.