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The Dark Pictures Anthology: Little Hope

Little Hope is the second instalment in the Dark Pictures Anthology. Set in a small abandoned town in rural Massachusetts, a group of college students and their professor find themselves trapped. While being pursued by grotesque beings from the towns dark history and coming face to face with their own doppelgangers, the gang must unravel the mysteries of Little Hope and find a way out. 

I was part of the core team involved with bringing Little Hope from pre-production to final release. Using the studios modified version of Unreal Engine 4 and their proprietary visual scripting language, I delivered levels from storyboard to final, while also producing the games core narrative and gameplay beats. 

Contributions

Being a Designer on Little Hope meant I was jumping between the roles of both Cinematic Designer and Level Designer. Going back and forth between these roles meant I would be developing exploration cameras, event triggers and interactions in one moment. Then developing cinematic sequences through editing facial and body animation data, creating cinematic scenes through camera work and pacing the dialogue and narrative.

As a core member of the Design Team, I worked on most of the levels in Little Hope to varying degrees, but there are a few levels that I had considerable amounts of ownership over. These levels were; "Reunion", "Another Way - Middle School", "Off Track - Police Department" and "Lost - Graveyard". This meant I had to become an expert in these levels and champion the directors vision within them.

The majority of levels and the world were planned out by Production Design in the earlier entries in the Dark Pictures Anthology and were designed closer to real world functionality and metrics. However, during the development of Little Hope I successfully pitched a handful of level design changes to boost the focus/importance of certain interactions, make the environments more satisfying to traverse and aid in the pacing of gameplay and cinematic sequences. 

 

Reunion

After leaving the scene of the accident the group finally reunite. After some initial tensions the five survivors attempt to return to the bus, but the fog has other ideas. After multiple attempts to go back and the fog repeatedly turning them around the group decide to head into town. A little up the road, they spot a figure in an old abandoned bar and decide to investigate. 

Another Way - Middle School

Deciding to split and up and search for the bus driver, Daniel, Taylor and Angela (If she chooses to stick with Daniel) go to explore the nearby Middle School. As they approach, the little girl is seen again and leads them to a playground. In the playground, the trio/duo experience another vision of the past and witness Mary's abuse at the hands of the Priest. 

Off Track - Police Department

After breaking into the abandoned Police Department, Andrew, John and Angela (If she sticks with Andrew)  search the place for a means to call for help. They come across a telephone but the line is cut, however the phone later rings and a voice is heard on the other end begging for help. The trio/duo are dragged into another vision of the past and witness Amy's trial and sentence to execution.

Lost - Graveyard

The group have been divided after their first encounter with the Drowned Demon, and Andrew, John and Angela (If she survives) find themselves in the Little Hope Graveyard. Still reeling from the encounter, the group search for clues and a way out of the Graveyard while they are stalked by a mysterious presence.

Roles & Responsibilities

  • Creation of levels and gameplay using the in-house storyboard tool to pre-vis the game from start to finish.

  • Developing levels from blockout to final release and iterating upon them alongside the environment artists based on director feedback and needs of the story using a modified version of Unreal Engine 4. 

  • Blocking out and building upon gameplay mechanics such as interactions, exploration cameras, event triggers etc. 

  • Scripting cinematic sequences and integrating third-party animation data to create the games sequences.

  • Balancing and adjusting the pacing of sequences based on playtesting and director feedback.

  • Creating the moment-to-moment game flow and logic for the games branching narrative using the studios in house scripting tool.

  • Part of a small strike team that determined and evolved the games signature Bearings System, auditing the major choices in the game and how they affect the player.

  • Helped determine the games golden path for both Single Player and Alternate Single Player, as well as balance which characters were playable in Multiplayer.

  • Onboarded new members of the Design team.

  • Assisted the outsource team with Design and Implementation.

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