What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of long-distance relationships? Emotions, misunderstanding, relationships falling apart? Keeping it simple, it’s not an easy time for the separated ones!
Mark Laframboise, the co-founder at Lightning Rod Games, went through a similar trauma when he had to live an entire continent apart from his partner. Mark took it to the PlayStation blog on the 18th of May and wrote about what he had to go through once he was separated from his loved one. With the emotional ups and downs, he had to push through; those were clearly not the best of times. He later wrote that he always wanted to develop a game on a similar concept as a tribute to those who are separated from their significant others.
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Four years ago, when they were brainstorming the gameplay mechanics for a new game, his partner Steven put forward an idea of a folding paper. As compelling as the idea seemed at that point, it made no sense, neither could they think of a way of molding it into gameplay. It was a big brain time for Mark, and it wasn’t long before he decided to merge the concept of a folding paper with his long-running idea.
The game design they developed, comprised of two pieces of paper, and each paper represented a whole new world. The sad part being, the two featured protagonists of the game weren’t allowed on the same paper. The concept of origami came into play, and the developers decided to have the game progress in such a way that the players had to fold their way across the screen in order to make the long-distance relationship not so distant anymore.
The focus of the game lies in communication, the most important pillar in a relationship! The game features an architect and a teacher. The architect finds a job opportunity far away from his partner and has to move away. Afterward, the story proceeds through a series of text messages and puzzles. It is comparatively easier to over-read and misinterpret a message in text than in-person talks. And this is all that there is to the game. As the game proceeds through a series of text messages, the miscommunications and negative emotions pop-up to drive a wedge between the two characters. Next, it is up to you to solve the problems through your origami skills and folding the paper to bring the two of them to close back together.
The story takes you through a series of emotional ups and downs, trying its best to relay the story equally through the eyes of the two protagonists. A few visual representations are on point, such as the time when one of them feels that their life is all topsy-turvy, the puzzle rotates your screen at a 360 degree. Good luck clinging on to the roof and getting yourself out of this mess. There are times when the architect feels guilty that he had to move away, and he had to put his job over the relationship, and this might be the end of both of them. And there pops the guilt on to the screen, you have to carry it all the way to the end of that puzzle. In short, the gameplay mechanics are a complete reflection of how the characters are feeling at a particular moment.
Hopefully, the game will pull on to the emotional strings of a lot of players out there since one of the developers has seen this phase during his life span. The game has been out for a while on other platforms, but it’s bound to be released on the 19th of May for PlayStation 4.
Four years ago, when Mark and Steven took on this project, little did they know that four years later when the game is bound to hit the market, it will be a time of social distancing. A considerable population of the world is shut away in their homes, many of whom are even distanced from their loved ones. What better way to spend the Quarantine life playing Fold Apart, and staying close to each other even when you are so far apart. Talk of luck, huh?