The Novelist is a 2013 independent video game developed by Orthogonal Games and published by Iceberg Interactive. The game is a stealth-adventure game in which the player assumes the role of a ghost who can read the thoughts and memories of the Kaplan family, a novelist and his wife and son, who are on vacation at a remote coastal home. The player can intervene in the family’s lives by influencing their thoughts and actions, but must be careful not to be seen, as the Kaplans would be traumatized by the knowledge of a ghost in their home.
The game’s story explores the themes of family, ambition, and creativity. The Kaplans are a troubled family, with Dan struggling to write his next book, his wife Sarah feeling neglected, and their son Ethan struggling to fit in at school. The player’s interventions can have a significant impact on the family’s dynamics, leading to different outcomes for each character.
The Novelist was praised for its innovative gameplay and thought-provoking story. The game’s stealth mechanics were praised for being challenging but fair, and the player’s ability to influence the family’s thoughts and actions was seen as a unique and engaging way to explore the game’s themes. The game’s story was also praised for being well-written and emotionally resonant, with players often finding themselves invested in the Kaplan family’s lives.
The Novelist was a commercial success, selling over 100,000 copies. The game was also nominated for several awards, including the Independent Games Festival’s Seumas McNally Grand Prize.
Here are some additional details about the game:
- The game is played from a first-person perspective.
- The player can read the thoughts and memories of the Kaplan family by interacting with objects in the environment.
- The player can intervene in the family’s lives by influencing their thoughts and actions.
- The player must be careful not to be seen by the Kaplans, as they would be traumatized by the knowledge of a ghost in their home.
- The game’s story is nonlinear, with different outcomes depending on the player’s choices.
- The game has two modes: stealth mode and storytelling mode.
- Stealth mode is more challenging, as the player must avoid being seen by the Kaplans.
- Storytelling mode is less challenging, as the player can intervene in the family’s lives without fear of being seen.
The Novelist is a unique and thought-provoking game that explores the themes of family, ambition, and creativity. The game’s innovative gameplay and emotionally resonant story make it a worthwhile experience for fans of adventure games and interactive fiction.