Game Dev Diary - Cadet 227 Reboot

Demo the Reboot by clicking here.

I've decided to reboot the series a little. While I've been floundering with figuring out what to do with the series, it is still something I feel is important and a genre that should be explored. So audio adventure games are still a go, but will just be going in a slightly different direction.

I've decided to move towards more storytelling and less exploration. I came to this decision after two specific realizations. 1) I enjoy audio books quite a lot and 2) forcing some kind of "exploration" that is somewhat contrived is, well, contrived. I put that in quotes because looking back at the experience, it didn't really engage you. Granted, it did feel like you were doing something, but the something really wasn't that important. I figured that if I can create a much more engaging experience by the words themselves, then slimming down gameplay could be acceptable because the player was already invested in the story, setting and measuring all potential outcomes.

So the reboot is essentially making an audio version of those once popular "Choose Your Own Adventure" books. One of the key components to this is that I wanted to create something that allowed for multiple endings. I wanted to really make it feel like not only were you listening to something of a radio show, but you actually had influence on what the outcome would be. The original Cadet 227, regardless of your actions, would only lead you to the one ending. The only real differing factor being how long it took you to get there. If I could focus on the story more, I could also focus on creating branching story paths.

You can actually see how the game is broken up in this tiny tree here.

This extremely simple story only offers two points in which the player makes a decision. Each decision point only offers two decisions. With only two levels down, the game already offers four endings. At the same time, only because I didn't choose to have any crossing paths, content had to be written for a total of seven separate events. You can imagine how large and complicated the decision tree will be if you allow the player three, four or even five decision points. That is, however, the goal.

Each time the game is played will alter the story completely. That is what I want to create.

When you think back at the old point-and-click adventure games, you are probably filled with tasty nostalgia of Monkey Island or King's Quest. You'll also remember that outside of a fun story, it offered very little replay value. After you had solved all the puzzles, what was left? You could compare it to a movie you really enjoy, where you'll watch it over and over because you enjoy it for whatever reasons, but it would be nothing more than experiencing the same story over and over. While there is a time and place for content like that, I also appreciate experiences that offer multiple paths.

So while the original Cadet 227 is probably no more, this is a genre of game I will be approaching in the same spirit and vain as the original Cadet 227. These games will still be constructed in a way that blind gamers can play and experience the game like anyone else. The story will still be all driven by audio and the choices you make, though limited, will open up one of many outcomes and hopefully make each game a box of wonder.

Related Link: Cadet 227 Reboot Tech Demo