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Sep 16

2021

Wraiths of SENTINEL—Dying made you the perfect spy!

Posted by: Mary Duffy | Comments (0)

We’re proud to announce that Wraiths of SENTINEL, the latest in our popular “Choice of Games” line of multiple-choice interactive-fiction games, is now available for Steam, Android, and on iOS in the “Choice of Games” app.

It’s 33% off until September 23rd!

Dying made you the perfect spy! Will you use your phantom powers to defend the United States government, or overthrow it?

Wraiths of SENTINEL is a 250,000-word interactive novel by Paul Gresty where your choices control the story. It’s entirely text-based—without graphics or sound effects—and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

You are a phantom being of supernatural energy, working as a covert intelligence operative for SENTINEL, a secretive government agency. Your unrivaled powers of surveillance can safeguard the freedom of the country; your paranormal wraith abilities will make the difference between being hunter and prey.

SENTINEL has tasked you to investigate the No-State Separatists, a ruthless band of domestic terrorists. Can you uncover a link to the extreme-right True Freedom Party? Your investigation will delve into the realm of political corruption, draw you into the spirit world, and bring you to the nexus of all reality itself.

As you’ll soon discover, the true threat to the nation is far closer than you’d ever imagined.

• Play as male, female, or nonbinary; straight, gay, bi, or beyond notions of mortal sexuality
• Investigate enemies of the state with two other wraiths, Marly and Zhou, as well as a range of field operatives and high-tech equipment
• Pursue romance with a fellow wraith, a sorcerer, or a medium
• Explore the cause of your own mortal death! What role did MetaHuman Inc. play in your demise?
• Go rogue! Escape detection by the best ghost-hunters in the world
• Return to your mortal, human life—or revel in the abilities you possess as a wraith, forever
• Prevent god-like power from falling into the wrong hands—or pursue that power for yourself!

The fate of the world is in your intangible hands!

We hope you enjoy playing Wraiths of SENTINEL. We encourage you to tell your friends about it, and recommend the game on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and other sites. Don’t forget: our initial download rate determines our ranking on the App Store. The more times you download in the first week, the better our games will rank.

Sep 13

2021

Author Interview: Paul Gresty, Wraiths of SENTINEL

Posted by: Mary Duffy | Comments (0)

Dying made you the perfect spy! Will you use your phantom powers to defend the United States government, or overthrow it? You are a phantom being of supernatural energy, working as a covert intelligence operative for SENTINEL, a secretive government agency. Your unrivaled powers of surveillance can safeguard the freedom of the country; your paranormal wraith abilities will make the difference between being hunter and prey. Wraiths of SENTINEL is a 250,000-word interactive novel by Paul Gresty, author of MetaHuman Inc. and The ORPHEUS Ruse. I sat down with Paul to talk about the evolution of his work for Choice of Games.

Wraiths of SENTINEL releases this Thursday, September 16th. You can play the first three chapters now.

This is your third game for Choice of Games, after The ORPHEUS Ruse and MetaHuman Inc, and we’re absolutely thrilled. Tell me about the world of Wraiths. Does it overlap with the worlds in your other games?

Wraiths of SENTINEL crosses over with MetaHuman Inc., for sure. That company appears in this game—and it’s still employing dark powers in the service of capitalism. Links to The ORPHEUS Ruse are more subtle, but there’s a tonal connection, for sure—the player’s own Possession ability is not unlike the body-switching metempsychosis of The ORPHEUS Ruse.

I’ll add that’s it’s a great feeling to be publishing my third story for Choice of Games. Thanks to everybody at CoG for their support throughout this process. Writing this game took a long time—like, a bonkers amount of time —and the patience of the CoG team was very much appreciated. Working with you guys is always a fantastic experience.

MetaHuman Inc. is one of the most popular games we’ve ever published, and thematically, I feel like Wraiths is a bit of a spiritual (pun intended!) successor to it. We’ve moved from the corporate world to government. What shifts in theme did you observe as you were writing?

MetaHuman Inc. is probably the piece of work that I’m most proud of having written. Even now, nearly six years after it was released, I still from time to time get messages from readers saying how much they loved it. That kind of thing really gives you a boost.

I think that government, and potential poor governance, is one of the themes of the game because it had been a rising concern in my mind for some time at that point—as it had for many people. Some of the game’s excellent playtesters mentioned that the game included some not-so-subtle parallels to Trump’s government. And I guess it does, but the roots of the game go back further than that. I’m English, and I was planning this game after six years of leadership by David Cameron, one of the more nakedly self-serving prime ministers the United Kingdom has had, and the installation of Theresa May as prime minister, despite a shocking stint as Home Secretary in which she eroded civil liberties and carried out some pretty evil attacks on immigrants. So my frustration with politics and governmental bodies was already running high.

The focus on surveillance, and of the potential for a government agency to overstep its mandate, absolutely stems from the documentary Citizenfour, detailing Edward Snowden’s disclosures concerning the overreach by the NSA, and various governments. It’s a rare example of a documentary that’s being filmed as the story takes place, rather than after the fact, and so you see the strange contrast between the humdrum and the incredible—you have shots, say, of Ed Snowden styling his hair while he’s listening to a radio show about whether or not he should be assassinated. I saw that film in 2015, and it terrified me more than any horror film—because the monsters in this case are real, and they are scrutinizing you. Human eyes might not be reading all your emails, but keyword-scanning bots definitely are, and that data can be made available to a lot of organizations as needed. Ever since I saw Citizenfour, I’ve put aside a budget every year for software and online services that protect and respect data privacy.

So, yes, a theme of the book is the constant anxiety of unseen eyes upon you, and the struggle to escape from that glare.

There’s a ton of things in Wraiths of SENTINEL I think of as “good clean RPG fun”—to me it’s very much a power fantasy in that respect. What kinds of powers and abilities does this PC have?

In Wraiths of SENTINEL the reader takes the role of a ghost, of sorts. And yet I very consciously wanted to sidestep existential questions such as the existence of an afterlife, or of “souls.” I wanted to avoid looking at ghosts from the perspective of any one particular religion or belief set. And so here there’s an almost scientific rationale for the presence of wraiths, and other ‘formerly alive’ beings. Every being that exists possesses a scientifically observable form of energy called “quintessence”; physical beings possess both a tangible form and quintessence, while beings such as wraiths are wholly comprised of this quintessence energy. Most “regular” living humans aren’t capable of perceiving quintessence, and so they can’t see wraiths at all. But once you understand the principles of this energy, it’s possible to calibrate microphones to detect wraith voices, say, or to fabricate special types of glass that will show their reflections.

That said, the player essentially has many of the classic ghost abilities. It’s possible to learn to manifest, so that you can speak to living beings for a short time, or even visually appear before them. You can learn a poltergeist ability to move objects around, or you can possess living people, or you can create havoc with electrical devices. Y’know, all those fun things that ghosts are rumored to do.

What do you think will surprise readers about this game?

I’m really happy with the range of outcomes that are possible in this game. Stylistically, it’s rare to be able to “fail” a Choice of Games title—the objective isn’t to beat the game, it’s more about the journey the player experiences as he or she traverses the story. And in Wraiths of SENTINEL in particular, I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing to fail to save the day. Some of the most fun parts to write were sections in which the player has to deal with the fallout of any inability to complete all of his or her objectives.

What else have you been working on/what are you working on next?

A few years ago I wrote The Serpent King’s Domain, the seventh book in the Fabled Lands gamebook series originally created by Dave Morris and Jamie Thomson. To my mind, the Fabled Lands books are the most innovative and replayable dead-tree gamebooks ever written, and it’s a joy working on that series. I’m now working on the next Fabled Lands book, The Lone and Level Sands.

Sep 09

2021

New Hosted Game! “The Vampire Regent” by Lucas Zaper and Morton Newberry

Posted by: Kai DeLeon | Comments (0)

Hosted Games has a new game for you to play!

The Vampire Regent

You rule over the vampires of a city in the heartland of the United States, and your decisions dictate the lives of mortals and immortals alike.

It’s 30% off until September 16th!

The Vampire Regent is a 460,000-word interactive dark fantasy novel by Morton Newberry and Lucas Zaper, where occult political disputes and clashing loyalties tell the twisted story of a town designed for deceit.

Manipulate the mayor so her projects align with your interests. Use high crime rates to conceal the activities of your kind, or suppress them to maintain an unsuspecting façade of order. Provide nourishment and safety for the vampires under your rule while trying to preserve the secret of their existence, and face the enemies that threaten it.

Drink blood at nightclubs and listen to rumors and tragedies—or make some of your own. Practice the centuries-old tradition of fencing and put your skills to the test. Quench your thirst for blood, power, or knowledge, and even find love… if such a thing is possible for a non-beating heart.

  • Play as male or female, and explore your sexuality beyond mortal conventions.
  • Choose your bloodkin: the shapeshifting Balkanics, the future-seeing Aznuits, the blood-controlling Neshmaals, or the mesmerizing Merovingians.
  • Spend your nights pursuing different activities and interacting with characters whom you can befriend, antagonize, or get rid of.
  • Fight vampire hunters, criminals, and others of your kind—or manipulate them toward your goals.
  • Unearth buried secrets about the world, the people around you, and even yourself.
  • Find love in the sleepless nights, including a centuries-old buccaneer, a Scottish fencer who is not yet used to immortality, and an altruistic outlaw vampire.
  • Craft your personality through your decisions, and face the consequences of your choices.

Mordhaven is yours to command—but for how long?

Zaper and Newberry developed this game using ChoiceScript, a simple programming language for writing multiple-choice interactive novels like these. Writing games with ChoiceScript is easy and fun, even for authors with no programming experience. Write your own game and Hosted Games will publish it for you, giving you a share of the revenue your game produces.

Sep 09

2021

New Content for The Soul Stone War!Behind the Scenes” by Morgan Vane

Posted by: Kai DeLeon | Comments (0)

Hosted Games has a new game for you to play!

The Soul Stone War

Thrust back onto the world of the Soul Stones, discover all-new content with every companion and love interest available in The Soul Stone War. Catch a glimpse of future interactions with your companions after the main series is concluded. Whether romantic or platonic, experience small, heartfelt moments between your main character and your friends and partners!

It’s 30% off until September 16th!

The Soul Stone War — Behind the Scenes is a 40,000 interactive fantasy novel by Morgan Vane, where your choices control the story. It’s entirely text-based—without graphics or sound effects—and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

Embark on a new journey of companionship, friendship, and love as you once more meet the friends and lovers you made along the way to fulfilling your fate. Catch a small moment of reprieve and spend time with the companions in scenes that will not appear in the main series! What will the world be like after the threat is over? Who will you be, and how will you relate to the people who went through it all alongside you?

  • Play as female, male, or non-binary—with options to be straight, gay, bisexual, or aromantic.
  • Spend time with all the in-game companions—including the antagonist—in scenes both romantic and platonic!
  • Nine standalone interactive stories featuring the whole cast with your main character thrown back into the thick of it all!
  • Glimpse into a time after the main threat is gone and your main character is in established relationships with the love interest(s) of your choice!
  • Experience a moment of reprieve with your found family where all the companions and your main character can relax and be themselves!

The time to dive back into the world of the Soul Stones is now.

Morgan Vane developed this game using ChoiceScript, a simple programming language for writing multiple-choice interactive novels like these. Writing games with ChoiceScript is easy and fun, even for authors with no programming experience. Write your own game and Hosted Games will publish it for you, giving you a share of the revenue your game produces.

Aug 26

2021

The Play’s the Thing—Break a deadly curse to save your theater!

Posted by: Mary Duffy | Comments (0)

We’re proud to announce that The Play’s the Thing, the latest in our popular “Choice of Games” line of multiple-choice interactive-fiction games, is now available for Steam, Android, and on iOS in the “Choice of Games” app. It’s 40% off until September 2nd!

Can you win fame, fortune, and romance as a playwright, before a deadly curse brings the curtain down for good?

The Play’s the Thing is a 245,000-word interactive romantic fantasy novel by Jo Graham and Amy Griswold, best-selling authors of Stronghold: A Hero’s Fate and The Eagle’s Heir. It’s entirely text-based, without graphics or sound effects, and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

Become the official playwright at the Odeon, the most prestigious theater in Medaris. Here, high society gathers to gossip, frolic, and flirt. Dazzling special effects, enhanced by real magical enchantments, keep the audience in their seats. The plays you write have the power to manipulate public opinion, changing the course of history.

But as you’re waiting for your first opening night, rumors begin flying. Deadly, shadowy creatures are stalking the city’s streets. Mysterious accidents threaten your productions. It’s a curse, people whisper—but only where the city’s harsh ruler, the Raven, can’t hear them. And to discover the roots of the curse, you’ll have to dig deep into secrets that the city’s nobles would prefer to stay safely buried.

The city’s quarreling rulers have strong opinions about your theater, but they’re also susceptible to its powers. Will you inspire them to save Medaris, or destroy it, as they destroy each other? Will you insinuate yourself into their hearts and minds? Will you expose their darkest secrets?

Will you write your way out of the tragedy that threatens your city, or call down the curse deliberately, carving your name in the annals of infamy?

• Play as male, female, or nonbinary; gay, straight, bisexual, aromantic, or asexual.
• Win popular fame, critical acclaim, or royal favor and avoid scandalous exile.
• Find love or lasting friendship with your actor buddy, the theater’s acerbic director, a swashbuckling city guard, or the heir to the city.
• Manage quarreling actors, skeptical critics, deadly enemies, and a dancing bear!
• Uncover mysterious secrets from the Raven’s past—and your own.
• Battle dark creatures with enchantment, swordplay, or spectacular monologues.
• Assassinate the city’s tyrannical ruler, or win them over with your inspiring productions.
• Use your fabulous wardrobe to play whatever role will win the day.

We hope you enjoy playing The Play’s the Thing. We encourage you to tell your friends about it, and recommend the game on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and other sites. Don’t forget: our initial download rate determines our ranking on the App Store. The more times you download in the first week, the better our games will rank.

Aug 23

2021

Author Interview: Jo Graham and Amy Griswold, The Play’s the Thing

Posted by: Mary Duffy | Comments (0)

Can you win fame, fortune, and romance as a playwright, before a deadly curse brings the curtain down for good?

Become the official playwright at the Odeon, the most prestigious theater in Medaris. Here, high society gathers to gossip, frolic, and flirt. Dazzling special effects, enhanced by real magical enchantments, keep the audience in their seats. The plays you write have the power to manipulate public opinion, changing the course of history.

The Play’s the Thing is a 245,000-word interactive romantic fantasy novel by Jo Graham and Amy Griswold, best-selling authors of Stronghold: A Hero’s Fate and The Eagle’s Heir. I sat down with Amy and Jo to talk about their latest game, a wild new fantasy. The Play’s the Thing releases this Thursday, August 26th. You can play the first three chapters today.

The Play’s the Thing is such an interesting addition to your oeuvre! I’m really amazed at the diversity of setting between this game, Stronghold: A Hero’s Fate, and The Eagle’s Heir. Tell me how you dreamt this game up.

This spark for this game actually came from a tabletop RPG campaign that spawned a side plot involving a playwright trying to run a theater company while momentous heroic fantasy events loomed around him. We knew we wanted a game looking at fantasy politics through the lens of an artist trying to make art in strange times, and that part of the game was going to be working to inspire your audience to take various actions through the themes of your plays. The city of Medaris isn’t a real place, but it’s meant to have a sort of Renaissance Italian feel to it, and we got the chance to play with a bunch of theatrical tropes (and make a bunch of theater jokes).

The PC of this game is a playwright—not an easy profession to depict in the first/second person fashion of a text based RPG. Tell me some of the challenges around “writing writing.”

The trick was to dramatize writing by turning it into interesting challenges that depend on the PC’s stats and choices. The process of writing the various plays in the game tends to break down to three questions: What do you want your play to say, how are you going to make your play good, and how are you going to get your play staged the way you want it? Some plays will inspire people to hope, or to follow their hearts, or to act with honor. Others ironically poke fun at those things. As the game progresses, the influence you have on your audience and on the city’s rulers will change the choices you have available for dealing with the magical threat to the city.

Once you have a message, you need to choose strategies for making your play popular, or critically acclaimed, or (if you’re very lucky) both. The idea for failures here is very much “sometimes bad things happen to good writers.” It’s assumed that you can write great prose, but you may still wind up writing something that the public doesn’t understand, or that fails to pull off something emotionally complex, or that relies on special effects that don’t work or a diva who won’t perform, or that winds up with every original element removed by an overly-cautious director. Or you might write a great play that the city’s ruler hates, and find yourself in no end of trouble.

There’s also an interesting amount of lore and magic in this world. What does that inject into the game for the player?

The curse that threatens the city provides an external threat for the player, and acts as a ticking time bomb: if nothing’s done to stop the curse, the city is doomed to an apocalyptic fall. The shadows stalking the streets are the most visible manifestation of the curse, but it’s also an increasing threat causing accidents and bad luck. Magic is also used in more prosaic ways, to produce special effects onstage or to move objects and create minor illusions.

The curse has its roots in events in the past, and figuring out what happened to create this dangerous situation is just the beginning; the trickier part is figuring out what you’re going to do about it.

Was there an NPC you enjoyed writing most?

I’m fond of Nichol, the theater’s sardonic director, and they (the game’s major NPCs are gender-flippable to maximize PC romance options) were a lot of fun to write. Nichol has a knack for cutting through some of the nonsense of actors and playwrights, but also a deep and ultimately sincere dedication to the theater combined with a well-hidden idealistic streak. I also enjoyed writing the Raven, the city’s tyrannical ruler who is determined to deny that the curse exists even as it becomes clearer and clearer that they’re courting their own doom in the process.

What are you working on next?

Amy is working on a gay historical mystery novel set in Renaissance Rome, cowritten with Melissa Scott, and is also writing on a solo space opera novel. Jo has Sounding Dark, the first book in The Calpurnian Wars series, coming out in December. She’s also writing a historical fantasy series about the Borgias.

Aug 19

2021

New Hosted Game! “Blood for Poppies” by ME Smith

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Hosted Games has a new game for you to play!

Blood for Poppies

You have wings, but you can’t fly. Your wings are pitiful, broken things made of bone and shredded skin stitched together. Your mysterious benefactor, Doctor, has cared for you for as long as you can remember. Doctor never allows you to leave the 8th floor of the Summerset Apartment Complex, and the only people you have contact with are the other freaks of the 8th floor. Will Doctor’s entrapment of you ever end? Will you escape his clutches and make your way into a bustling city that has always been so near–and yet so far–just outside the window of your cramped room? Will you continue Doctor’s work or will you break the cycle of trauma perpetuated by his dark and tortured legacy of mad science?

It’s 40% off until August 26th!

Blood for Poppies is a 188,000-word psychological horror interactive novel by M.E. Smith about entrapment and the lingering effects of trauma. It’s entirely text-based, without graphics or sound effects, and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

  • Play as male or female; gay, bi, or straight.
  • Romance a seemingly emotionless young woman struggling to feel human, an insecure and compassionate artist striving to achieve his dreams despite Doctor’s control, and a rebellious young man with a temper that eclipses his better nature.
  • Befriend and uplift your fellow freaks or alienate all around you through cruelty, manipulation, and betrayal. Characters respond to your choices… for better or worse.
  • Escape Doctor’s clutches or inherit his scientific work for your own benevolent or malicious designs.
  • Devote yourself to Doctor by expressing loyalty to him or rebel against him at every opportunity.
  • Ally yourself with others for your own goals, but be careful; everyone has their own motivations and betrayal is always a possibility.
  • Revel in the hideous or cultivate beauty, live joyously or give in to despair, express compassion or cruelty, allow your fate to be malleable putty in the hands of others or manipulate all around you; your attitudes and tendencies are up to you.
  • Achieve endings that change in minor and major ways depending on the actions you take and the relationships you build.

Influence who lives and dies; not everyone makes it to the end.

ME Smith developed this game using ChoiceScript, a simple programming language for writing multiple-choice interactive novels like these. Writing games with ChoiceScript is easy and fun, even for authors with no programming experience. Write your own game and Hosted Games will publish it for you, giving you a share of the revenue your game produces.

Aug 12

2021

Battlemage: Magic by Mail—Defend your kingdom with forbidden magic!

Posted by: Mary Duffy | Comments (0)

Battlemage: Magic by MailWe’re proud to announce that Battlemage: Magic by Mail, the latest in our popular “Choice of Games” line of multiple-choice interactive-fiction games, is now available for Steam, Android, and on iOS in the “Choice of Games” app.

It’s 40% off until August 19th!

Will you defend your kingdom with forbidden magic, or backstab the crown? Win tournaments, kiss a prince or princess, or just seize power for yourself!

Battlemage: Magic by Mail is a 168,000-word interactive novel by Nic Barkdull. It’s entirely text-based, without graphics or sound effects, and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

You’re lucky you saw that ad at the market. “Learn from home! Full battlemage qualification by mail!” it said. Now, your first battlemage assignment is finally here! At last, you can master the magical arts of elementalism, illusion, healing, and necromancy.

Yesterday you were just a squire, but today you’re an aspiring battlemage! But Sir Kelton says that squires aren’t allowed to practice magic, so you’ll need to act like you actually want to be a knight, at least for now.

With the powers you can unlock, maybe you can win a tournament or two, or get in good with the royal family—you can even try your hand at the game of court politics. Or if you really want to get on Kelton’s good side, prove yourself on the battlefield, defeating the mysterious invaders that threaten your kingdom’s borders.

But beware, if you’re not careful, you’ll suffer from Arcane Corruption. At first, Corruption warps your physical appearance, but it soon takes over, putting the magic in control.

You won’t let that happen, will you?

• Play as male, female, or nonbinary; gay, straight, bi, asexual, or poly.
• Manipulate minds with illusion magic, master the elements, channel the forces of life with healing magic, or harness death with necromancy.
• Compete in tournament events like combat, archery, and jousting.
• Navigate the royal court and use intrigue and betrayal to gain power.
• Defend your kingdom from mysterious invaders led by a powerful battlemage.
• Compete with other students to gain the notice of the legendary El Cano.
• Romance a fellow squire, a humble stableboy, a prince, or a princess.

Will you be a loyal squire, a powerful battlemage, or ruler of the realm?

We hope you enjoy playing Battlemage: Magic by Mail. We encourage you to tell your friends about it, and recommend the game on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and other sites. Don’t forget: our initial download rate determines our ranking on the App Store. The more times you download in the first week, the better our games will rank.

Aug 09

2021

Author Interview: Nic Barkdull, Battlemage: Magic by Mail

Posted by: Mary Duffy | Comments (0)

Will you defend your kingdom with forbidden magic, or backstab the crown? Win tournaments, kiss a prince or princess, or just seize power for yourself! Battlemage: Magic by Mail is a 168,000-word interactive novel by Nic Barkdull; I sat down with Nic to talk about his first Choice of Games title and the tropes of this genre. Battlemage: Magic by Mail releases this Thursday, Aug 12th. You can play the first three chapters for free today.

This isn’t your first time writing interactive fiction. What drew you to this form of storytelling?

My first published game was for the Interactive Fiction Competition in 2019. I did it at the suggestion of a fellow writer at another game I was working on, but I was immediately drawn in by the paradoxical simplicity yet potential complexity of the form. I quickly realized that interactive fiction is the same as any other game style, but the assets are all prose instead of drawings, 3D models, or particles. In fact, that first game, Black Sheep, was written largely on my smartphone (I had computer troubles while traveling) and it still managed to win some prize money. I had created what was essentially a point-and-click cyberpunk mystery with only the use of text and some imaginative coding. The fact that interactive fiction gives me access to such powerful mechanics made me love doing it. In fact, I’m working on another IFComp entry this year that I would describe as a cyberpunk text Metroidvania. I’ve moved on from Twine to Unity, but all the fancy UI additions are essentially for flavor. It’s still the text that drives the game.

Battlemage is a kind of classic squire story with some interesting twists and worldbuilding. Tell me about your inspirations for this game.

Honestly, at the risk of offending genre fans, it came from my doubt of the genre’s conventions. When I was young, I was an enthusiastic fan of high fantasy, but I’ve shifted more to science fiction as an adult because I never quite understood why everyone needs to carry a sword and speak like they’re from 1800’s Britain for it to be considered fantasy. It comes from Tolkien and Le Morte d’Arthur of course, but I also have a background in living outside the West and studying culture outside the dominant European knowledge sphere. So, I wanted to subvert the genre in a way that didn’t misrepresent any cultures. That meant creating a fun pastiche that plays on European fantasy but also includes modern vernacular and place names and people that are more familiar to the life I’ve lived around the world. I think this playful tone allowed me to simultaneously separate from specific historical tensions in the real world while also exploring themes like loyalty, heroism, and betrayal in an exciting way.

Did you have a favorite NPC you enjoyed writing for most?

It really shifted around during the process. I thought I would like Princess Yuwen the most, but she ended up not getting as much attention in the end. I love the shrewd politics of the Contessa, I like the way Kelton interprets loyalty and tries to be serious on the outside but how he’s soft on the inside, and I like the fact that Yuxin is arguably an evil prince yet he’s still a potential romantic interest. But I have to say the unexpected winner of the favorite character award goes to the completely unplanned Sir Clyde. He was thrown in as disposable comedic relief for one chapter but he just kept coming back for cameos right until the end.

What would you tell a writer who was also beginning a journey to write a branching narrative?

I would say check out the Choice of Games model first, and see how similar design is used for games like Disco Elysium. The CoG theory uses stats to remember choices and feel the effect of them later. The key to branching narrative is that it should give the illusion of freedom while still guiding the branches back to the main path. If your branches split off completely, you’re simply writing different stories in parallel. That is a lot of work, and if you get too far away from the other branches it’s harder for them to affect each other. And I think that lesson is literally directly from the Choice of Games style guide, so I can’t take credit for it. But after that, definitely experiment with different mechanics that play on that fundamental theory.

What are you working on outside of writing IF?

I just finished a narrative consultancy where we reworked the story for the Switch and mobile port of a small indie puzzle game called In My Shadow, so it should look quite different from the Steam release. I have also started localization for a VR arena fighting game called Quantaar, which is going into alpha at the end of August. I continue to work on personal projects, like a survival crafting mystery about crash landing on a desert island called Beyond the Beach, but it’s somewhat on hold to take a little break and stay fresh with my IFComp 2021 entry Silicon and Cells. I am also still an active academic, and I’m working on a conference paper about mimetic transgender experiences in video games which I’ll present in Vietnam in December. Overall, I’m just writing and loving writing.

Jul 29

2021

Vampire: The Masquerade — Out for Blood—Hunt the vampires that terrorize your town!

Posted by: Mary Duffy | Comments (1)

We’re proud to announce that Vampire: The Masquerade — Out for Blood, the latest in our popular “Choice of Games” line of multiple-choice interactive-fiction games, is now available for Steam, Android, and on iOS in the “Choice of Games” app.

It’s 20% off until August 5th!

Gather your allies to hunt the vampires that terrorize your town! Study their ways and exploit their rivalries, or you’ll become a vampire yourself.

Vampire: The Masquerade — Out for Blood is a 455,000-word interactive horror novel by Jim Dattilo, based on “Vampire: The Masquerade” and set in the World of Darkness shared story universe. Your choices control the story. It’s entirely text-based, without graphics or sound effects, and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

You’ve barely settled into your new home of Jericho Heights on the outskirts of Chicago, before discovering that vampires live in town. You’re struggling to start a new life, meet new people, and maybe even find love. But when your neighbors start disappearing, you’re forced to take action.

Take on the role of a vampire hunter to save your town from the influence of Chastain, a vampire more than a century old. When a group of young thin-blood vampires start a war with Chastain, will you choose sides, or hunt them all?

Gather your forces and sharpen your stake to take back the night!

• Play as male, female, or nonbinary; gay, straight, or bi.
• Choose from classic VtM attributes and skills to build out your character.
• Enjoy 17 character portraits.
• Meet an ensemble cast of dynamic characters each with their own skills.
• Romance other characters, either human or vampire.
• Hunt vampires, study their ways, or try to be Embraced.

We hope you enjoy playing Vampire: The Masquerade — Out for Blood. We encourage you to tell your friends about it, and recommend the game on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and other sites. Don’t forget: our initial download rate determines our ranking on the App Store. The more times you download in the first week, the better our games will rank.

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