PC, Developed September-December 2020
A puzzle-platformer that explores the definition of a hero. The original development cycle was from September to December of 2020, but the team has regathered since our 2021 graduation to continue the project!
Isra’s Odyssey is a 3D Puzzle-Platformer centered around a magical Forest, slowly being consumed by shadows. All that remains in light is a single village, wherein our hero, Isra, lives. Having grown up on stories of the Age of Day, when the Forest was full of life and light, Isra sets out on a quest to turn back the clock and restore the light to Forest, in the interest of creating the best future for her newborn son. On this quest, Isra discovers the power to wield both the Light and the Shadow, and the nature of these primordial forces.
I had several roles on the project, including Product Owner, Lead Designer, and Lead Narrative Designer. During the course of development, I guided the team towards the ultimate vision of Isra’s narrative arc; her purpose in the greater sphere of games was to explore the role of parents in games, and the image of a hero. Isra’s Odyssey was modeled after the narrative arc of YA literature, with a notable change: the protagonist, instead of being a gods-chosen teenager, is a normal mother, motivated by stories she heard as a child, and her love for her son. A primary goal was to portray Isra as a parent who genuinely put her children before her own interests.
As a result of my work on narrative, I aided in Level Design by helping to place and inform contextual clues to the broader narrative, as well as took on the role of Puzzle Designer. Every puzzle started with a basic premise; Isra’s Light-based abilities could only be used in direct sunlight, and her Shadow-based abilities were exclusive to hiding in the shadows of the trees. Puzzles required spatial awareness of the zone, as well as needed to be designed to require both power sets in order to achieve success. The first puzzle was a wall with a hidden door, unlockable only by using Isra’s Light Beam to light up the colored gemstones, and her Shadow Step to cross through. The second involved floating platforms, which could be moved by using Isra’s Light Beam on mounted gemstones, and using Shadow Step to traverse them.