Official Project Website: Rewindthemovie.net
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Rewind: The Interactive Novel is brand new dystopian interactive fiction - playable either as a full length old school text adventure, or in the format of a choose your own adventure book depending on difficulty preference - for Mac, PC and iOS. It will be based on my script book Rewind: The Empyreum War, which was itself written to redress the balance between a multitude of epic fantasy series hitting our screens in recent years and the great SciFi multi-part classic not seen since the days of Star Wars (yes, I know it's back!). Painting a bleak vision of a post-apocalyptic dystopia ruled over by The Company, Rewind: The Empyreum War (available to buy or sample through www.rewindthemovie.net or Amazon) has been described as a mixture of Blade Runner and Scary Movie, referring to a dark humour interwoven with a plot full of shocking twists which will make you laugh, jump and cry in equal proportions right until the very end - and if it doesn't, a couple of killbots from the department of corrections will be around to sort you out. Think "Hitch Hikers Guide to the Blade Runner" meets "Nineteen-Eighty-Fifth Element". Or Something.
Rewind: The Interactive Novel will be written using a proprietary mix of blood, sweat and tears, and by sitting up all night over an extended period of time mashing a keyboard while cursing loudly at my programming software's inability to magically know what I wanted it to do without telling me that everything is a Syntax Error. The game isn't written using any sort of Interactive Fiction design software, by dropping a new vocabulary into an old parser, or by rejigging something I made earlier using sticky-backed plastic and Lego (there's no s on the end, people) - this is an all new game, written from scratch in order to bring you just the right combination of retro and cutting edge and hopefully prevent latecomers to the world of interactive fiction from throwing both their hands and tablets in the air at the first sign of a tricky puzzle.
So what makes Rewind different from a traditional 80s text adventure, apart from the meticulously crafted graphics and 30 years of extra RAM and hard drive space just crying out to be filled with more story than a 16K ZX Spectrum could've ever imagined? Always assuming, of course, that said ZX Spectrum had the memory or hard drive space to run software capable of imagining such a thing, which it didn't. Excuse me for a moment, I appear to be stuck in a loop.
Imagine a text adventure so rich, so immersive that it'll be like reading a book and making a decision every couple of lines that changes the outcome of that book. Imagine a game where every command you type results in a paragraph that moves the story on rather than a simple impersonal "I don't know what a sword is." - a game with little repetition, big on story, and based on a full length Sci-Fi epic written by the same author. You're imagining Rewind: The Interactive Novel.
Like such IF classics as The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy before it, Rewind will be an adaptation of an existing book. Unlike H2G2, however, the game will run on computers and mobile devices capable of holding the entire text of the book, which means that the story will be far truer to the original. It will actually feel like playing a book, and where old school text adventures will have you stuck in a room for hours trying to work out exactly what combination of hieroglyphics you need to type in order to pursuade a troll to give you a sword, Rewind will involve you in a constantly moving story which evolves and develops according to your decisions. In Rewind, there will be no "stuck in a room", and the game's responses will adapt to the location and number of moves made which means that there will be very little of the numbing repetativness of old school adventures where every command results in a stock response.
The game is designed to appeal to hardcore text aficionados and newcomers to the genre alike, allowing the player to play through the game either as a traditional text adventure or a more simplified choose your own adventure novel. When in text adventure mode, the player is in control, typing commands that control the story, while Choose Your Own Adventure mode will offer predefined options throughout - making the game significantly easier for newer players who do not wish to spend their evenings searching Ganymede for a key. The game will also include original location and artwork throughout (both background graphics and in-line scrolling illustrations similar to the sketches in choose your own adventure books), an original soundtrack, and built-in mini-games to break up the typing and reading - and where possible, you'll be able to customise the interface, colours and fonts to your own taste rather than just take what you're given.
Until now, the Rewind project has been a labour of love, squeezing every moment of spare time out of me in the hope that one day Mr Hollywood might notice my book and hand me a large wad of Arcturan dollars to direct a movie (yeah, right) - but now, I'd like to put my full time into the project and dedicate myself to producing an interactive novel to the same standard as the book, full of devious sci-fi puzzles and mind bending logic, but without a Babel Fish dispenser or colossal cave in sight. Except perhaps in parody. This will be a new breed of game - a game which will suck you in and involve you, and have you wanting to play it through again just to see what would've happened to the narrative if you'd asked the Squarglian bouncer politely to let you into Blue Johnnie's rather than dropping that rock on him from the third floor balcony.
If the Kickstarter campaign is successful and Rewind: Interactive Edition becomes a reality, I also see it as a demo of a brave new world for interactive fiction, in which you are literally "playing" a book rather than being endlessly stuck in a room until you solve a puzzle. The locations, complex puzzles and exploration are still there, but everything you do moves the story on. It's as though you're reading a book but controlling the story, but with the level of control of a text adventure rather than the limited options of a choose your own adventure book (although, in Rewind, you can choose to play as either to make the game easier for newcomers to the genre).
If I exceed my funding goal, I hope to release an all new interactive fiction development system specifically designed to create interactive novels just like Rewind, so that others can create similar games with the same level of depth.