Europa Descent: Exploring A Narrative Approach to Level Design

Core Principles:
- Using the story as the true vision for gameplay.
- Treating games as storytelling medium: Gameplay and storytelling are one in the same.
- Examining story themes and expressing them through game design.

Movie Inspiration:
- Surface: Interstellar / Europa Report / Life
- Subsurface: The Abyss
- Alien Mega Structure: Alien - Aliens / Event Horizon / Pandorum

Europa Descent will feature a wide variety of narrative delivery methods:
Mixing Player Agency (Allowing for gameplay) vs. Certainty of Delivery (Telling the story) 

- Environmental Storytelling: Low Certainty, High Agency
- Triggered Dialogue: Variable Certainty, Variable Agency
- Narrative Systems: High Certainty, High Agency
- Cutscenes: High Certainty, Low Agency


WHY: Theme
Survival, Exploration, Curiosity

WHO: Characters
Lowell (Player Character - Android) & Deming (2nd Android) / Light Ones (Aliens - new to Europa) / Old Ones (Aliens - have been on Europa for millions of years) / Previous expedition logs/wreckage.

WHERE: Setting
2087, Europa (Jupiter Moon), Cinematic Approach, Surface, Subsurface and Alien Mega Structure exploration.
Feelings that these spaces create: Isolation, Verticality, Vertigo, Claustrophobia, Foreign / Alien


WHAT: Plot and events -> Mechanics
- Summary: After crash-landing on the frozen surface you must survive the harsh environment, interacting with your co-pilot and continue your prime directive, exploring the subsurface for signs of life.
- Breakdown: Story - Learn about the setting / aliens. |  Gameplay - Survival: in a hostile environment - Escape: The Old Ones / Outwit: Stealth, Puzzles
- Genre: Three Phase 1) 3rd Person Liner RPG / Survival / 2) Side Scrolling Action / Survival Game 3) 3rd Person Liner RPG / Survival

WHEN: Time of events (relative to each other) -> Pacing
Linear storyline, Parallel storytelling,  Slow - suspenseful moments, Quick ramp into and out of action.
Story: Fast moments: Cutscenes, QTEs / Slow, tense moments: Environmental storytelling, data logs, radio transmissions.
Gameplay: Fast action mixed with slower, tense moments
-- Movement Incentives: Threat, Objective (Survive, Breadcrumbs, Reach the Lander etc), Movement (movement around the player, other NPCS), Time Limits
-- Movement Deterrent: Tension (perceived threat), Obstacles, Change in gameplay movement (Puzzles, Dialog and Path choices)

HOW: Presentation -> Tone
- Setting the Tone: Cameras and viewpoint, Lighting, Colour Pallet, Writing (characters, menus, UI), Character Performance (acting, VO), Music and SFX
- Story Overview: Suspense and danger, Camera Control (tight vs wide) tense music, personal moments, moments of levity. Omnipotent point of view.
- Gameplay Breakdown: Cinematic’s Introduction/Key Moments, Third Person* Survival (Surface gameplay) Side Scrolling Action (Subsurface gameplay) Third Person* Survival. Tense Music and Atmospherics.
*Note during the Third Person sections of gameplay there will be brief First person interaction sections.