Or, “why the hell should you care about Among the Innocent“.
I prefer the second version, but I’ve been told that putting the word “hell” into the heading kills SEO ranking… gotta get those Internet points!
If you’re reading this post then that means you want to know a little more about Among the Innocent, or you’ve been tricked into clicking on the link by nefarious sources. Either way, let’s chat. In my previous blog post, I mentioned that Among the Innocent is the first of five games, together called the Stricken series. I’ve been trying to figure out how much story information should be shared publicly; I want to tell you all about every nuance of this series because I think it’s a rad story, but these are adventure games, and the act of experiencing that story is a big part of playing them. So I’ve decided to tell you just a liiiiittle bit about them, because without that information, you really have no reason to care in the first place.
The Stricken series takes place in South Africa, vaguely in the area of the south-eastern Free State near the Lesotho border (this will be in the test later). I say “vaguely” because I’m taking a few liberties with the setting; I don’t want to get bogged down with the task of accurately recreating specific areas, but living in nearish-by Johannesburg, I draw a lot of inspiration from my very vibrant surroundings, and as they say: art imitates life. Until recently the area in which the game took place was going to be snowy – very snowy – but after much thought and debate, I made the call to change to a far more clearly South African landscape. It’s better this way, and will allow me to spend more time making a game world that looks and feels real instead of one that’s trying to imitate an environment with which I have little personal connection. The snowy environment was a neat idea when I first conceived Among the Innocent, but as the game grew in my head and in reality, it became clear that the environment was lagging behind.
There’ll be a few obvious “South African things”, but don’t worry: no knowledge of SA history or geography is required to enjoy the game; this is merely the setting for a much bigger ordeal. The entire Stricken series will take place over the course of about four decades – I haven’t yet decided the timeline for the fifth game – but Among the Innocent takes place in the early 2000s.
The first game will see you take on the role of an as-yet unnamed guy who finds himself trapped in a cabin in the woods. Spooky! As the player, you’ll first have to escape the cabin and then explore the game world around it, discovering the many things that occurred before you arrived. I’m drawing a lot of inspiration from cheesy horror films in terms of setting, but there won’t be too many jump scares, or hiding in cupboards. I have to stress that Among the Innocent, and indeed the entire Stricken series, is an adventure game (albeit in first-person form), one heavily inspired by old-school point-and-click games from the likes of Sierra, LucasArts, Cyan, and Westwood, and later adventure series like The Black Mirror and Still Life. I’m not a big fan of describing “horror” as a genre itself – it says nothing about the gameplay – but it does say plenty about the atmosphere and surrounding stuff that affects the player and the environment. “Horror adventure” does a decent enough job, but feel free to just call it “adventure”. Let’s roll with that.
While Among the Innocent will play to classic horror tropes, each game in the Stricken series will have its own flavour and inspiration, although they’ll all be horror-related in some way. They’ll also each put their own spin on the gameplay to suit the theme of the game: varying degrees of action, exploration, interaction, puzzle-solving, and so on. I’ll share more info on the themes throughout Stricken at a later stage; I’m still figuring out some of the details and I don’t want to commit just yet!
That’s all for now! I hope you’re a little more informed about Among the Innocent, and Stricken as a whole. Feel free to shout at me on Twitter or the comments below if anything I said didn’t make sense, and don’t forget to sign up for the mailing list if you’d like to be bombarded with spam about my cats on a regular basis. Just kidding, there is no cat spam (sadly), but I will let you know whenever a new blog post goes live.