Finding Worth In A Trashed World
Being the director, I handled the majority of the narrative. Dialogue, plot, and worldbuilding were all things that I handled. I was also the one placing the assets and events into the level, so that gave me a lot of control over the narrative pacing.
I wanted to tell a story about a weak girl who felt underappreciated. I had some experiences that could be used to tell a story about having low self-esteem and also wanted to write about overcoming it. The story is about a girl who was physically weak and was tasked with assisting a more physically capable friend who didn't appreciate her.
The player is put into Breta's shoes, doing a lot of hard work only to be seen as a nuisance. This leads to a cathartic moment where while being trapped and surrounded by monsters alone, she decides that she's had enough and has an awakening. She even gains a new attack to boot!
A priority was to make the character of Breta shine with her dialogue. Though she starts off as meek, the player gets to hear some amusing and somewhat sarcastic thoughts from her. When she finally explodes, it feels natural. The player has always been hinted at this side of Breta, after all.
A theme that would also be later used again for my future projects such as Spirit Cutter and Post-Ragnarok is the theme of young people struggling in a world that's falling apart around them as they're growing up. Wreckage everywhere, people and monsters fighting. In the end, Breta decides to befriend a monster who should be her enemy and sets out into the world to find her purpose together with it.
Playing the Assistant
I handled the gameplay design and balancing for the game. I came up with the idea that Breta would be a weak character who would have to support an AI-controlled Hubert. While Hubert was very strong and had loads of health, his attacking strategy was linear. Whenever you're fighting together, you have to carry the fight by keeping him alive and targeting weaker foes.
At some point in the development process, it was decided that Breta would be solo for a portion of the missions. In these segments, Breta is able to explore a map where she'd be able to take various actions to prepare for an upcoming boss fight. Each action she takes depletes a "time bar", and once this time bar depletes she'll have to join up with Hubert to fight the boss.
Some examples of these actions she can take are :
Disarming bombs that will damage Hubert before the fight starts as he will walk into them before the battle.
Gathering materials to craft weapons and items.
Gathering information on each boss' weakness.
Finding money to buy more equipment.
This project is very near and dear to me, thanks to being possibly my first complete video game ever. There were a lot of struggles at the start, and I had to learn a lot of things to get the game shipped.
A stage I think came out particularly well is the graveyard stage. There's an optional interaction the player could encounter that gave a plotline from the first stage emotional closure, and Breta emotionally awakens with a "transformation" inspired by Dragon Ball Z's Son Gohan.
One of the project members also made a spin-off game that continues the universe through the lens of one of the bosses, though it is not released to the public. Though I haven't made much additional content for Double Apprentice myself, I'm happy to have worked on a world that could inspire us to keep adding more to it.