Hello again everyone, and time for another update on our murder mystery.
In this diary we introduce our hero, Diggs Nightcrawler, a bookworm private detective from Library City. Diggs is a stoic, dyed-in-the-wool character whose external cool is challenged mere moments after you open the book and arrive in his office.
He’s always worked alone, and that’s done him just fine… until now. Throughout the course of the adventure, circumstances conspire against Diggs and he’ll rely more and more on your help. With Diggs’ trust earned, together you can solve the mystery of who bumped Humpty and restore harmony to Library City.
Creating a truly narrative-driven game presented some unique challenges. The story, characters and world were crafted specifically with Wonderbook in mind. We knew from day one that we could use the PlayStation Eye camera to put the player into the same physical space as the game characters, and that the player would then have control over the game world by manipulating the Wonderbook. This yielded a natural division of special skills between Diggs and the player, which we used as a foundation for gameplay – Diggs and the player working together to progress.
As an autonomous character, our golden rule was that the player would never directly control Diggs. Likewise, we avoided any interaction that would undermine Diggs’ character – after all he’s a great detective and the player (at least at the start of the game) is new to the business!
With these rules in mind, the story and gameplay were developed in tandem. The starting point was the key story beats, for example ‘Diggs meets player’, ‘Diggs chases villain’, ‘Diggs gets framed for Humpty’s murder’ and so on. In each case we then challenged the beat for gameplay potential, asking what the player could do, what Diggs could do, where it would take place and how the environment could be constructed on the Wonderbook.
Often we’d reject story beats which gave little gameplay opportunity or gameplay ideas which conflicted with the story or characters. In the end the story and gameplay are tightly interwoven such that there are no inconsequential interactions, and everything that the player does drives the story forwards.
If you’ve ever wanted a starring role alongside a great detective (your Watson to Diggs’ Holmes), keep your eyes peeled for more Diggs Nightcrawler updates to come!
Diggs Nightcrawler will be released from 29th May 2013, exclusively on Wonderbook for PlayStation 3.