A Sneak Peek of My Thesis
I can’t believe how fast the last year and half has gone and that I’m in my final semester of grad school! I’m currently researching and writing my thesis + building my game full-time. When I started my thesis exactly a year ago, I was really keen to make an indie version of Zelda or Bastion based on my faith. But after 9 months of recovery by reading a book that helped me learn my independence and acknowledging the toxicity in my life, my game has transformed into a small indie experience about relationships.
I’m researching all kinds of relationships and how they are interdependent on one another. A damaged relationship with your family can directly place weight on your friendships and also leak into your romances and marriage, then eventually your children as well to restart the cycle. Though this will be bulk of my research, I also will tie it back to how my faith showed me exactly where my relationships went wrong and how I gained a new life by putting aside everything I’ve ever known and moving on.
In my game, you play as a 17-year-old boy whose grandparents have high expectations for his future after the deaths of his parents. Instead, he meets a girl who changes his life forever. Through their relationship and his newfound faith, he becomes dedicated to fighting for the freedom of a tribe that his own people consider low-class, much to the disappointment of his grandparents. Below is a sneak peek of the two of them meeting!
The game will explore relationships beginning with the player’s relationship with his grandparents, his relationships with his classmates and his crush, new friends he will be making after meeting this girl, even how he responds to his enemies, and eventually the relationship he had with his late parents. Conflicts will revolve around racism, social class, marriage, power, and success. Though the player character is a boy, there will be a number of female NPCs who are struggling with challenges that I had personally faced due to those conflicts.
I guess now, the big question is, will this be a romantic game?
Of course! But not between the boy and this girl. I won’t give more details, but an important thing I want to explore in the game is the idea of healthy friendship between men and women. That is a subject of decades of debate and I know that I may be accused of making a game about “the friendzone”.
The Friendzone, I truly believe, does not exist. One of the most harmful tendencies of humans is that we have a hard time taking responsibility for our actions. It’s a lot easier to shift the blame onto someone else, and “the friendzone” does exactly that. Those who don’t believe in “the friendzone” argue that people don’t have a responsibility feel the same about someone who is interested. That’s very true, but there is also more to it. Friendship is supposed to be a wonderful thing. I’m thrilled if people consider me their friend! “The friendzone” undermines what is supposed to be a beautiful relationship of caring and love, and makes it seem less desirable than a romantic one. It tells us that good intentions must have selfish motives and that there’s something wrong if it doesn’t. It also seems to support that a romantic relationship would solve all problems and makes us forget it is actually just a deeper form of friendship.
Also, who made up the rule that friends can’t ever become romantic?
Play my game to find out which girl the player character does end up with! Is it going to be his crush from the beginning, or a new friend he makes during his journey of self-discovery, or someone part of the conflicts that will challenge him?
(Actually I hope you guys do play my game once it’s completed either way.)