YEAR: In Development (Q4 2021)
ROLE: Lead Writer, Narrative Designer

coil is a puzzle-adventure game in development at Groundwater Studio, slated for the end of 2021 as our first commercial release.

The game takes place in an ethereal realm devoid of any narrative context and revolves around the theme of loss. To emphasize this theme in the gameplay, players must navigate an "unreliable map": areas of the map repeat over and over again, teleport the player, or redirect them in unintuitive, maze-like ways.

Directed graph of character trades, a possible approach to designing the game map, B Side themes

The game is broadly separated into what we refer to as "A Side" and "B Side." A Side consists of a trading adventure game between a cast of characters that have all lost something. This is the "main" game that players encounter when first playing.

The farther that players stray from the part of the map that contains the main story, the easier it is to get lost. Out on the edges, players can discover locations that reveal an entire second part of the game: B Side.

Example of Subjectivity Design ideas being used to guide character arc development

My goal for B Side has been to design a highly symbolic deconstruction of narrative tropes presented as a series of hyper-subjective experiences. These experiences are contextualized in the game as glimpses into the inner workings, the metaphysics, of the strange coil world. 

Currently, I cannot reveal any specifics about what that means. Ultimately, however, the discoveries of B Side are echoes of the events, experiences, and character psychologies of A Side.

The more difficult a B Side secret is to find, the more foreign and disjoint with A Side it will seem – while nonetheless feeling familiar, somehow. 

B Side
 locations are intended to be difficult to discover and navigate. Very, very difficult.

Player character model (designed by Elijah Williams)