Story Design Notes

This document is a spoiler!

Do not read on, unless you want to spoil the game and future story of the game for yourself

Design notes

Interactions for story telling

I only want physics based interactions in the whole game.

Buttons, Grabbables, items, written text, perhaps voice over.

No traditional menus.

I would rather avoid traditional text narrative choices. "Pick to reply option A, B, or C "


I want restarting to be key to progressing the story.

I don't want an explanation of why you are on the train to be make any sense until you have restarted, perhaps a few times.

I don't want you to die. I want you to do something along the lines of, fall asleep, pass-out, enter a time-space warp, shift between worlds. - I have not yet decided what / how. Perhaps something that can be connected to being in VR, indirectly.

I want the process of restarting to connect to the start, so the start makes more sense from the context of restarting.


I would like the start to be the game, no 'main menu'.

Just the first carriage, as soon you enter the game, you are playing it.

This will assist the 'restart as a core mechanic for story telling'.

You don't feel like you are taken out of the game or the train by restarting, but actually feel like you are somehow further into the game.

There may still be game options in this first cat, and credits / info hidden somewhere.

Game Play

These game-play options do not effect the story, just the gameplay.

The same story is told in all gmae modes survival, vs scavenger vs free run vs future modes


Progress of the story exists in the players head, and not in the game itself. There is no save.

The stories the game shows you are picked at random, no one gets the same order of stories.

Everyone who plays this game, gets a different experience. It is not a single linear story.

It is composed of multiple linear and dynamic stories.

Restarting the game, picks a story for that run.

Once a story is picked, it is linearly told until you restart. At which point another story is picked.

You may get the same story again. It will not behave any differently. (although perhaps in the future, there will be the possibility of multiple stories running at once to avoid repetition)

Each story adds to the overall story of the train.

Helping the user answer the questions for themselves of

What is the train?

Why am I here?

What am I meant to do?

Ending a story

While each character story is linear and will have a conclusion, the game-play itself may not necessarily have imposed limits (perhaps depending on game-mode).

You can, technically play forever. It should be fun (as possible) to do this.

What happens at the end of a story?

  • The game continues without a story until you restart
    • Perhaps the user is encourage to restart
  • It starts telling a new story of another character.

A big thanks to Wilson Taylor, for co-designing this story with me