Independent developers Embodied Productions launched a Kickstarter project for their debut game Fan the Sea on August 16th. They describe their game as “an interactive story and relationship management game set in a fantasy war-torn world.”
Two countries, Tsaba and Pacem, have been at war with one another for thousands of years. Having intercepted a letter that discusses the enemy country’s top-secret operation, known only as “Fan the Sea”, you are tasked, as a veteran spy, to get to the root of the operation’s mysteries.
You play as Isaac – a master spy sent to infiltrate the opposition on their home turf, a small port town known as Far Water. However, knowing their message regarding “Fan the Sea” was intercepted, the opposition have issued a lockdown on travel within their borders, along with greater security. Once you’re in, you’re not getting back out any time soon.
“Fan the Sea is a noncombat, interactive story game that uses the tension and uncertainty of lying to invoke contradicting and competing emotions from the player. At its core, Fan the Sea is both a love story and a conversation about authenticity.”
– Josh Myers, Director at Embodied Productions.
This is where Claire comes into play – your contact on the outside, who you’ll secretly meet with at the town’s border to pass on information as you uncover it. She is in charge of a stolen ship, and is your only way of bypassing the travel ban when the time comes to get out of Dodge.
The aim of this game is to uncover the secrets of the “Fan the Sea” operation, all while maintaining a believable cover. To do this, you must interact with everyone and everything around you, and use your skills of deception to manipulate the town’s residents into spilling the information you require. The challenge is remembering what you have said to whom, as they will call you out on things you’ve said throughout the game, especially if it appears things don’t quite add up.
Everything you say and do, every little interaction, will affect the way the game plays out. Your character’s consistency, the relationships you build with NPCs through your interactions, and the choices you make along the way, will all go towards determining the end of the game. Choose what you say wisely, as you’ll have to follow through on all of it to avoid suspicion.
Though Fan the Sea works similarly to other interactive story games, with the story and characters being the main focus, and the dialogue being the main component that drives progression through the game, it’s Fan the Sea’s “suspicion” system that makes it unique.
Every action and dialogue option available to you has a characteristic associated with it. Each choice you make will result in a +1 in whatever category it falls into. If any of these characteristics fall into the red area on the scale, your character will gain +1 “Suspicion”. The more residents to find you suspicious, the higher the chance of you being discovered as a spy and failing your mission.
Every character is different. Their history and personality affects their characteristics chart. This should be taken into account when you choose what to say to each individual, as no two people will react the same.
The developers wanted Fan the Sea to be as realistic as possible, and have built all the characters within the game accordingly. Their advice? “If you can’t see your action working in real life, don’t try it in game.”
If you’d like to learn more about this in-depth interactive story, you can visit Fan the Sea’s Kickstarter page to read more from the developers themselves. They are offering some pretty cool rewards for people wishing to pledge support too, including the chance to write a line of dialogue to appear in the game, a free digital copy of the game on its release, and even custom, personalised artwork. Here’s a first look at a gameplay trailer for the game as well.
Embodied Productions need to hit a minimum target of $10,000 for Fan the Sea to go ahead, and aim to have the game completed for release on Steam in December 2017 (though further funding may lead to release on more platforms in the future).