Interview with Christopher Webster of StoryFix Media
Tell us about yourself
Sure! I’m a Canada writer and narrative designer living near the beautiful Rocky Mountains.
I got my start reporting on film and TV news for various entertainment websites, then segued into writing my own material. Most recently I wrote on a new anthology TV series coming soon called “Dark/Web” and published two novels through StoryFix called “New Horizons” and “The Blue Moon”.
Despite all this, I still slog it out in a day job in marketing. I’ll never stop writing, but it’s definitely tough to go full time on your own without a big hit to give you some runway.
Tell us about your team. How many members? What’s your role? How did you meet?
I was talking to my brother-in-law about various projects that were in the works when he asked me if I would ever consider writing an interactive fiction game. He was a big fan of the scene and I was intrigued by the idea of branching narrative design and so dove in.
From there we recruited our other brother-in-law and started developing the story of the THE PULSE, our first release.
So we’re a small, but passionate, team who want to get compelling stories into the palm of people’s hands.
Tell us about the game you are currently working on
THE PULSE is a sci-fi / horror text adventure about a woman searching for answers to a mysterious calamity has befallen a small town. Her memory is wiped, and as you help her through her journey, you may learn things that change your perception about who she is and what her role in the whole thing is.
It was important that the mystery be solid and interesting, but perhaps even more important was this idea of trust. We inherently trust the protagonists of our stories, but why? Are they not fallible? Would they not withhold information from you if it suited their interest in the moment ? We wanted to play on that and sow unease in the player about who they were really talking to and what motivated them.
We built a lot of mechanics into the story that the player won’t see that can affect how the story unfolds and who you ultimately ally with depending on how you play and what information you uncover along the ride.
The Pulse is available to download on Google Play now
What inspired you to start this particular project?
We talked a lot about movies and TV when it came to developing the story of THE PULSE. Rather than starting with the character or situation, we asked ourselves what kind of storytelling compelled us the most.
We love “Lost” despite its divisive ending. We talked about the underrated “Pandorum”, which we agreed was compelling in terms of how it uses amnesia to reveal its story to the audience. Bio Shock was a touch point, too. We just geeked out about our favorite storytellers until we landed on the right approach to how we should tell the story.
In terms of other games in the space, we talked about Bury Me, My Love, Lifeline, Stories Untold, the stuff that Inkle was doing — all the studios that were able to keep it simple and still put out a compelling story. That was the intention.
What challenges have you faced during this project and how have you overcome them?
None of us had any experience before coming together to create THE PULSE mobile game.
But we were determined to learn any new skill we needed in order to create something interesting . From designing the branching narrative, to coding, to recording the music to building the trailer in After Effects, we just tackled one problem at a time until the entire thing was working in front of our eyes. It’s very rewarding to go through that process and come out the other side with new skills.
Now we’re hooked and we can’t wait to work on the next game which will be even bigger and better.
What was your first gaming system?
I was a child of the 80’s, so the first game console I remember playing was an Intelevision. The first console I ever owned was a Nintendo Entertainment System, however.
What is your favourite game? (or games if that’s too difficult!)
I don’t know if it’s my favorite game, but I’ll never forget playing Resident Evil for the first time and being completely blown away and terrified.
What is the one piece of advice you would give to other game developers?
You know, I’m still a Padawan, learning from as many developers as I can, so I’m not sure I would have any advice for anyone yet!