Orthogonal Games' debut title The Novelist will launch next week. The Novelist is a story-driven PC/Mac adventure in which players determine the ultimate fate of the characters.
The game begins with writer Dan Kaplan arriving at a vacation home with his family. Dan is trying desperately to write a new novel. At the same time, he's also attempting to be a good father and husband.
You're not Kaplan, though. Instead, you're a ghost inhabiting the home. You watch the Kaplans' lives play out and try to influence them ever-so-slightly.
"Read the family’s thoughts. Explore their memories," Orthogonal says of the game. "Uncover their desires and intervene in their lives. But stay out of sight; you can’t help the Kaplans if they know there’s a ghost in the house. It’s up to you to decide how Dan’s career and family life will evolve, but choose carefully; there are no easy answers, and every choice has a cost."
The events of the game will change with every playthrough. The life of Dan, his son and his wife will be altered by your actions as well.
Orthogonal was founded by Kent Hudson. Hudson previously worked on Deus Ex: Invisible War and BioShock. He quit his job back in Fall 2011 so he could begin work on The Novelist.
Like William, I'm very interested in checking this one out. Games generally fall short of their potential with story-telling but this could be one of the exceptions. We don't see many family dramas in gaming, much less ones viewed from the perspective of a voyeur-ghost. Not everyone's going to be into this sort of understated, interactive narrative but it'll scratch someone's itch for sure.
The Novelist will be released on December 10th. The game is priced at $19.99 normally but will be $14.99 at launch. Though it'll only be playable on PC and Mac at first, Orthogonal is planning a Linux release as well.