Team Candor on Creating Story Through Mechanics
Team Candor began as a student pitched project in the summer semester of the Master of Digital Media Program. Vidhi Shah, Rafael Hocevar, Conrad Sly and Carina Kern pitched the idea of a casual game that had narrative elements, something they believed was missing from this market segment. This led to their game Lure, a 3D platformer developed for mobile. They continued developing Lure into the fall with the intent of finishing the game as a venture-internship with it being a starting point for the potential of a new company. We caught up with Vidhi to learn some more about their project.
The majority of games that employ narrative typically do so by alternating story elements and gameplay through the use of cutscenes, text, quick-time events, and/or dialogue, and many games have been very successful at delivering engaging stories. However, one market that has been rather weak on narrative is casual games. Narrative, setting, and theme have been successful components of player engagement and customer value; however, the casual and typically bite-size nature of many mobile games tends to discourage the inclusion of much narrative. Even while critically acclaimed mobile games such as Monument Valley and The Room have managed to deliver an interesting game, they have failed to deliver compelling and memorable narratives. Very few games have been able to integrate both narrative and puzzle mechanics well. We believe that there is a growing need in the casual market for a rich narrative in short play sessions.
Candor Interactive distinguishes itself from other indie game companies by taking the initiative to integrate story into casual puzzle games mechanics with a level of impact the market has yet to see. We aim to do this with our first game, Lure, which will examine themes of love and relationships through the mechanics of magnetism.
Candor Interactive aims to be the leading developer of engaging, story-driven, puzzle-based, casual games. We are an agile game and interactive experience development team focused on creating original I.P. with the flexibility of working with external clients on mobile games, P.C. games and interactive media.
With our first project, Lure, we are focusing on gamers who enjoy playing physics based puzzle games driven by compelling narratives in a casual setting.
What is Lure?
Lure is a 3D puzzle platformer about a magnet who is trying to reunite with its long-lost love while navigating through a world of still and moving platforms and obstacles.
Hila, a mono magnet, has been separated from its polar half, Liah. Driven by the power of love and magnetic forces, follow Hila’s heart-wrenching journey through a whirlwind of challenging obstacles in multiple stages along its romantic life.
This project seeks to explore how narrative can be more intertwined directly with core game mechanics through innovative gameplay, gestalt theories and novel methods such as imperative storytelling and micro-narratives to create a more engaging experience through praxis (the story as enacted). Candor Interactive will research psychological and cognitive theories around player motivation and engagement, as well as academic studies and industry practices related to video game narrative. We will then test, prototype and evaluate a new framework integrating narrative elements in casual games
Why the venture-internship route?
All four of us have had a vision to start our own company long before going through the MDM program. During the course of our year at the Centre for Digital Media, we worked with each other on various school projects and during game jams discovering a rhythm and balance in our working styles and vision while also fostering a strong friendship. Lure began as a project that one-half of Candor worked on in a Game Design course, but it soon drew the attention of the other members. We decided to move forward with it and through experimenting while working together during the pitch project semester we realised this was an opportunity we could not ignore. We are lucky to have found such a diverse and balanced team; and with a such a unique product on our hands, turning into a company just felt right. Circumstance have also been on our side with the possibility of many grants and funding options opening up. The Centre for Digital Media has allowed us to experiment and take risks while providing us with a safety net that we can all fall back on. This venture internship, though scary, is still a much smaller risk compared to what it would be like in the real world. We have the right team, we are in the right place, it was the best possible time we tried our hardest at making our dreams come true.
"We are lucky to have found such a diverse and balanced team; and with a such a unique product on our hands, turning into a company just felt right. Circumstance have also been on our side with the possibility of many grants and funding options opening up. The Centre for Digital Media has allowed us to experiment and take risks while providing us with a safety net that we can all fall back on."
Team Candor recently received a 100K investment from Mitacs Canada to support Lure. The funding will help us exploire a new form of storytelling and bring Lure to life. With the help of the funding, our goal is to create, evaluate and publish the framework and set of narrative tools that could be used to advance the state-of-art and knowledge base in both industry and the academic community.