Loop is an interactive science fiction story that unfolds through dialogue and choices made in real-time. We’ve combined the best elements of video games and sci-fi novels to create a futuristic, suspenseful, thrilling, and immersive experience unlike any other mobile game out there.
When we started working on Loop, all we had in mind at the time was a genre: “visual/interactive novel.” One of the stories in the sci-fi/fantasy anthology I’d just finished producing with some friends was a psychological thriller set in space called “Loop” (available through DragonScript); told from the perspective of an unnamed Ensign in a series of journal-like entries and reports. Drawing inspiration from a text-based game called Lifeline— and our collective long history of hours logged on old-school MUDs and complex, story-centric games like Mass Effect— the beginnings of Loop were established. We just didn’t know exactly where it would take us.
The game trilogy that influenced Loop – The distress call
Through nearly five years of writing, development, brainstorming, and creating in-game systems from scratch, we’ve crafted a game that’s evolved into something far more than the simple, text-based sci-fi MUD we originally thought Loop would be. There’s an entire universe fleshed out and presented in trappings both familiar and unknown; with technologies and dilemmas that seem frighteningly possible within the near future.
The spaceship’s hallway
Credit: Nicolas Drouart – Advenworks Studio
Our story in-game starts with a distress call. As an Investigator with Fleet Headquarters, you’re tasked with assisting the protagonist, Ensign Althea Young, through what seems like an impossible dilemma: her ship is inexplicably set on a collision course with a brown dwarf, light-years off course; and the rest of her crew is incoherent, unresponsive, missing, or outright hostile. She’s the only one on board who’s unaffected— and the only one capable of saving the day.
Using text-based communications, you assist Ensign Young remotely in her efforts to discover and stop the true culprit behind what’s effecting her ship and crew. Together, you’ll collect evidence, uncover clues, and gain as much information as possible before it’s too late. As you do, however, you realize this is no straightforward distress call. There’s mortal danger lurking around every corner to stop Ensign Young. But, that’s not all: things seem to be repeating— or changing— based on how you and Althea respond to events.
If Loop was simply an investigative “Choose Your Own Adventure” style game, there wouldn’t be much to talk about. Luckily, there are plenty of features to discuss. One of the major components of the game is our reputation system that keeps track of how well you work with Ensign Young. Oh, were you expecting a static protagonist who would just follow directions and orders? Well, Althea’s not that sort of person.
She’s a smart and capable crew-member; she isn’t asking for anyone to save or rescue her. Throughout the game, you build a relationship with Ensign Young and work with her; and the nature of this link depends on your dialogue choices and your behavior. The game offers an unprecedented personal experience as you’re plunged right into the middle of the story-line alongside a clever protagonist. In turn, you’re rewarded for what you bring to into the game: your perseverance, your intellect, and emotional intelligence. As you play, you become emotionally invested since there’s such an emphasis on the interpersonal relationship between player and protagonist. You’re essentially talking people through a crisis in real-time; that’s going to require people to tap into their empathy in order to succeed.
The spaceship’s shed
Credit: Nicolas Drouart – Advenworks Studio
That also means thinking carefully about your choices to make sure you’re doing and saying the right things at the right times. The reputation system doesn’t merely gauge how “nice” or “mean” you’re being; it’s far more subtle than that, and better reflects real-life situations. Depending on the rapport you have with Ensign Young, dropping a joke in the middle of a serious moment can defuse the situation and help her think more clearly— or, it can make her question you and drive the wedge between both of you further.
Of course, the game thrives on mystery and suspense. Every choice you make is a possible rabbit hole of discoveries. Some of them might answer questions while others only lead to more questions. We’ve put the power to command the game’s direction into the player’s hands— and, with great power, comes great responsibility. Certain choices can drastically affect the way the game is played altogether. Your working relationship with Ensign Young will define just how much crucial information you find. Sometimes you’ll lose opportunities and avenues, only to pick up different ones down the line. Some choices diverge drastically in another direction while others are the scenic route to the same destination. Everything is connected and, somewhere in the midst of all that, is the truth. As such, there are multiple endings that depend on the first choice you make in-game to the very last choice, and everything in between.
Then we have our peripheral— though, no less important— tools that will aid you in your investigation. The in-game message center is another feature that helps bring our game universe to life. There, you’ll receive mission-critical information from Ensign Young and the assistive intelligence TaskBot; as well as your usual smattering of messages from other staff at Fleet HQ and beyond. An interactive map of the imperiled ship and clue codex give players a visual of where they’ve been, what they’ve found, and what they’ve yet to learn.
It’s been a true labor of love, pieced together through hours of blood, sweat, and not a few tears.
Thank you for reading! If you wish to try the game, please click on the link below.
If you wish to learn mort about the game, you can discover the trailer, the pitch, the team, etc. HERE.
Link to the store:
Loop Discord Server: https://discord.gg/HmDUyv2
Author: Estee Lee-Mountel, writer of the game Loop – The Distress Call