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Fold Out Exploring Emotions of Long-Term Relationships in the Written World of Paper, Tomorrow’s Future for PS4 – iGamesNews




Long distance relationships are strong!

Living without someone you love is not easy, whether it's due to work, school, or family options (or the global epidemic is locking everyone in their homes). Communication is difficult and feelings are amplified.

Before starting Lightning Rod Games, I experienced these emotional stresses as I lived the entire continent away from my significant other for over a year. That has been a difficult time and has had a huge impact on how I have grown as a person and partner. Naturally, as a game designer, I thought it would be fun to explore those feelings in the game. I didn't want to play a story about a long-distance relationship though – I wanted to tie it in with the gameplay mechanics that helped reinforce the feeling of being apart.

A few years ago, my co-founder, Steven, and we were thinking about new gameplay mechanics. One of Steven's suggestions was the idea of ​​wrapping paper – like origami or the back of MAD magazines. I thought it was different, but I didn't realize at first how it would make for compelling gameplay. A few months later, I had the “Eureka!” moment (which happens much more like a hard-fought Steven game with a webcam using discarded graphic paper and people who are badly attached.

It turned out that the longevity and paper bonding relationships work well together! If you have one character living on one side of the paper and someone living on the other, it doesn't work effectively in two different countries, such as a couple with a long-distance relationship. But when folding paper, you can combine those countries together and let them blend together. I thought this was a good sign of what it often feels like to live without someone you love – you often wish you could combine your two body areas together and be united.

When exploring the idea of ​​a paper wrapping puzzle, we knew we wanted to tell a very fun story that captured the feelings of a couple when living separately. We decided that the best way to do that would be to focus on the importance of communication.

Good communication is an important part of any successful relationship, but it becomes even more important when you live differently, more often and more often in person (via text message, for example). There are many opportunities for misunderstanding and miscommunication, which can sometimes result in unintended consequences. Finding these themes of inappropriate communication and emotional responses became the main driver of the Fold Mbali story.

In the world of wrapping paper, there are two sides to every story

People treat each other differently, and this is especially true in long-distance relationships where one person is gone while the other stays behind. We found it important to discuss this story from the perspective of both of our characters – Teacher and Builder – and show how each of them feels about their differences in their own way.

Throughout the story, the Master and Photographer sent messages to each other. However, as is often done by texting, someone will eventually misinterpret or read too much into what the other person is saying. These differences can create strong emotional reactions that send characters into the emotional world when they need to process their emotions and overcome their emotional obstacles.

Emotions like puzzle mechanics

While the characters are in their emotional state, the player is able to help them process their emotions and resolve their conflicts by investigating, folding and opening up the world of papers to help them find their way forward.

At different points of the relationship, each character will have different feelings, which we show in the puzzle mechanics of that distance.

After the Architect took up a new job in a big city, the Master feared that the Builder would want them to leave their family, friends and their secular work to follow them. This fear presents itself as a road blocking their way forward unless they can find another way to overcome it.

As such, the Architect often feels overwhelmed with guilt by walking away – a heavy burden they must overcome.

The characters can feel as if their life has been turned upside down…

… Or that their relationship starts to break apart under them.

These are just some of the examples of the kinds of ways in which we explore the connection between story and gameplay mechanics throughout A Fold Moja.

When we started developing the game four years ago, we never thought we would release this game in a place where nearly all of us around the world are physically separated from the people we love and see for ourselves. Whether it's isolation, distance reading, telecommunication, or online communication, we're all in one level of long-distance relationships or the other. Creating a Fold Mandu is one of the ways I have navigated those difficult situations and hopefully the game can help others find hope and comfort (and most importantly, fun!) In these challenging times.


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