Sorry for the radio silence the last two weeks – I’ve been working very hard on finishing off HOMD’s main story. It’s turning out very well, and I should be completely finished by the end of next week.I’ll talk more in-depth about it further down the page.
For now, though, I wanted to let you know that the Steam Store page is now public! (Important: This does not mean the game is released, just that it’s now up on Steam as “Coming soon.”)
What’s the significance of this? Well, people who want to buy the game when it comes out can now add it to their Steam wishlist! It’s a nice little reminder for you, and it will make me feel a little giddy and validated, so I strongly encourage it.
The Main Story
Alexis Kennedy once wrote about how game endings are difficult. And, well, he’s right – all games writing is difficult. . But personally I’ve found writing the endings much less tricky than the beginning and middle. The endings have been festering in my skull for a year, constantly picked over and turned over and niggled at, like a lump of decaying whale at the bottom of an ocean trench. The process of finally getting them out has been quick, cathartic and a bit painful. A persistent scab finally peeled off my brain.
I don’t want to talk about the themes and characters and story details, really. HOMD is a slowly-unravelling mystery, and I don’t trust myself not to ruin it. I’ll talk about mechanics instead.
HOMD is an exploration game. You can go anywhere, do anything, experience the world of the House in fragments. If you wanted to see everything the game has to offer, I think it’d take you somewhere in the order of 60-70 hours. Maybe longer.
There are two types of players in the world: Those who read that and thought, “Great!” And those who read that and thought “Oh no. What about all the other games I want to play?”
If you fall in the latter camp, have no fear. By focusing mostly on the main story – with only the occasional diversion for spice – you can finish the game in 10-12 hours, and it’ll still be a perfectly rich and fulfilling experience.
Without going too much into spoiler territory, the way to advance the main quest is by exploration itself. You need to gather a resource called ‘Apprehensions,’ representing your knowledge of the House and all its secrets and oddities. You can collect Apprehensions by writing poetry, discovering new locations, or completing side-quests.
(Why did I choose this design? Well, I was fed up of the thing you get in most open-world RPGs, where in order to enjoy all the side-content you have to ignore the main story entirely. Why not advance the main story by enjoying the side-stuff?)
Apprehensions can be spent on two things: Improving your stats, and advancing the main quest. A player who knows they want to play for 60-70 hours can spend mostly on the former. If you’re in a hurry to finish, focus all your spending on the latter. High stats are nice, but aren’t a necessity for reaching any of the endings.
The more you discover about the House and the more Apprehensions you collect… The more attention you will attract, from entities far older and more powerful than you. They will come to you in dreams. They offer you the impossible: an escape from the House.
It does not come without price.
A House of Many Doors releases on the 3rd of February. Add it to your Steam wishlist! Mark it on your calendar! Scream it down a well!