Reunion (Concept for a Story-Driven 3D Adventure Game)

Project Overview

Role: Lead Writer
 Third-Person Singleplayer Adventure Game
Team Size: 3 developers

Reunion is a story concept project about a brother and a sister trying to find their mom across a country after they received a letter from them. The player switches control between siblings as they see their bond grow and they help each other more often in their journey.

This is not a playable game. It is a concept only. The full story pitch can be seen here. The dialogue scene between the siblings and their father can be seen here.

The dialogue scene was praised by the Creative Writing and Interactive Narrative instructor, Paul Jensen, as “one of the best dialogue assignments I’ve had in this class.” It also got a great feedback from Richard Pearsey, who worked on games such as Spec Ops: The Line and Resident Evil VII, as well as Nels Anderson, who was a designer on Firewatch and Mark of the Ninja. Those insights helped improve the dialogue scene a lot and made me take specific lessons into account for future projects.

Reunion was nominated for Excellence in Story and Best Game Design Document at Vancouver Film School.

Project Details and Challenges

Reunion happened because of my wish to write a story about optimism, bonding and overcoming challenges. I was heavily inspired by Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons and their siblings dynamics. Since the project is about a puzzle-adventure narrative-driven game, I worked with my teammates to develop a core loop that would take advantage of the protagonists’ personality. Samantha doesn’t trust anyone easily, but she cares a lot about her brother; Lucas, on the other hand, is more playful and adventurous.

As the siblings go on their journey, it becomes more necessary to work together, and what their learn in an earlier situation can help avoid something similar in a future challenge. Additionally, we wanted to explore the family’s background and make sure each character evolved in a way that fits their arcs. For this to happen, we invested a lot on worldbuilding, to make sure each town or village the siblings stopped by felt important not just to them, bu to the rest of the country as well.

Challenges: Reunion‘s biggest challenge was time management, as it was developed between the production of Xeno Insignia and Composure, as well as other smaller projects. Managing time between all assignments and projects was the most difficult part of this project. However, since we had a clear vision from the get go and a great team synergy, we overcame this by having quick, to the point meetings.

In addition to that, we got feedback from different writing students from the Screenwriting Program at VFS and our instructor, Paul Jensen. The feedback was full of good points that could certainly improve the project. While most of it was similar and easy to implement, a few were contradicting. For those, we discussed as a team and decided which ones made sense and included them.

Roberto Guedes