“There are three sides to any story. Mine, yours and the truth” Joe Massino
You are Nina, an undercover agent for the Organized Crime Intelligence Division, on a mission to gather further intelligence on Orion, the leader of NOVA, through examining memories within his brain. You may just find some dark and familiar truths within…
‘Cache 22’ is an interactive non-linear narrative set in a retro-futuristic noir universe that explores duty and morality.
In term 2 of the MDM program, we were all enrolled in Visual Story, an advanced narrative course for film and interactive media studies. We learned a lot about various strategies for creating compelling and well structured stories for various mediums. Krishna Sriram, Rahul Kukreja, Rafael Hocevar, Carina Kern, Vidhi Shah and myself took on the challenge of designing a modular narrative for a game. We were all really inspired by the brilliant storytelling methodology employed in the acclaimed "Her Story."
After a laborious brainstorming process to come up with the fundamentals of our world and story, we arrived at a grimy retro-future, cyberpunk aesthetic to draw settings and characters out of. We came up with a story that centred around the character Nina, an operative for the security agency OCID Corporation. Her job is to investigate the contents of recently deceased minds, through memory interfacing software developed by OCID. The player plays as Nina, who is scrubbing through the mind of Orion Tenfingers, a notorious drug peddler in the notorious gang NOVA. Nova preside in the Hive city, a sprawling vertical favela of densely packed scum and villainy. The only catch with Nina's search for the truth, is that the more Nina explores the brain of Orion, the more damage she is doing to it, permanently blocking off access to potentially crucial information.
The player can interact with the brain of the deceased Orion Tenfingers, exploring his various memories, particularly those pertaining to his recent demise. The kinds of memories the player can explore are images, audio, video, and 3D objects. We were only able to prototype the former 3 memory types, but future iterations would include several other memory categories. These memories were structured into a modular narrative tapestry, that the player is in control of. Accessing certain memories and specific sequences, can unlock new stories, and potentially destroy others.
Carina Kern and myself were the two artist working on this project. It wasn't very hard for us to translate Krishna's vivid visions of the Hive City, into concept art for this iteration of the prototype. We knew we needed to represent memories, so after some experimentation we decided that a heavily saturated and high contrast water colour aesthetic fit the tone of the story and mechanics.
I was also responsible for designing the UI for this game. I took inspiration from retro-futurist computer interface aesthetics, harkening back to the 1970s in terms of interface design. I recalled the computer screens of Blade Runner and Alien, which really fit the tone of the techno-dystopian future we were exploring. We grimed everything up to fit with the idea of living in a sprawling vertical favela. Nothing in the under city is pristine.