The Followers is the game of murder and mystery genre. Players take roles of a Prague police unit focused on solving murders. The game itself is played for approximately 2, 5 hours, but it starts few days ahead, when players receive their characters. The characters are represented by the G+ profiles of persons, which seems to live their own life, communicate with their friends and at least in the internet space lives.
We tried to create a game, which it is possible to solve in given time without too much Deus Ex Machina like events from our side. The game is split into 4 parts starting on the police station, where the unit tries to understand what connects 8 murders which happened over few months and more importantly how to find murderer and prevent more.
The story of the game was heavily influenced by Followers, which is a serie about mass murderer, who is telling story through murders. All these murders are focused on the cop, who got him in the jail, from which he escapes in the first part.
In our case we let a student of one of the czech theological faculties create a cult as his masters thesis. It should have been just an experiment to see how difficult it is to manipulate people, but as he successfully creates it and starts to see its benefits for his weel-being he retains the cult and his leadership even after the game. The cult uses heavily aspects from BDSM community and also uses sex heavily to keep the members.
Later on this guy got a bit mad because of this and wants to create something which will make him famous on one hand and on the other will create lasting effect on one girl. He decides to embody a poems she writes through the deaths that will resemble the poems. He succeeds in this and the game starts after eight deaths already happened.
Our main goal was to create the game, where we creates the best possible illusion to players. The game itself was split into 4 parts. Two of these parts are happening on the police station, while the other two happens on other locations. One of them is another murder scene on the pathology and the other one is possible murder scene in Prague church.
On the first murder scene the players have most of the necessary tools to actually diagnose the location and before the game we ran a workshop how correctly inspect a crime scene. Based on how well the players did, we gave them the amount of information from lab but regardless of that, there was for example the book of the poems lost on the location, which could lead them to further information. The book of poems was written by the organizational team. We created a fake account on one of czech literary servers and uploaded most of them there, making it possible to connect them to the person.
We also dropped the pieces of important information in the conversation on the Google+, which happened before the game. They could read them and interact with all the relevant characters. These characters were played by us organizers. It was even possible for the players to bring us to question us.
All the players had a device capable of using Google+ throughout the whole game. This way they could discuss the stuff with outside characters diegetically as well as just share the pictures during the gae and ranting about their boss.
Last thing which we used was creating the materials from previous murder scenes not just as a written records but also as a photos and lots of other materials, which could help the players.
The game itself worked pretty good and as a murder and mystery game it succeded. In most runs players solved most of the case and the backside story and prevented the last murder.
What worked was the Google+ accounts and the information scattered in the materials and on the internet. Also the murder scene on the pathology worked pretty well. I also believe that workshops on how to interrogate someone and investigate murder scene worked pretty well. The materials were taken from the guides of curent police forces.
What didn’t work was the length of the game. Most of the player teams was sad, that they didn’t have more time to play with the topic and characters they received.