A nuanced take on dialogue choice

We Should Talk is a narrative game that makes players decide how to handle a failing relationship. A unique combinatorial choice mechanic gives players the freedom to express themselves and engage in nuanced conversations about life, love, and relationships.

Carol Mertz + Jack Schlesinger + Jordan Jones-Brewster + Kat + Francesca + Nobonita Bhowmik
Class: Game Studio 2 - 2018
Instructor:  Matt Boch    
Awards:

Honorable Mention – Best Student Game, Independent Games Festival

Official Selection – Different Games 2018

It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. We should talk is a short-form narrative game that will make players think carefully about the words they choose.

Using a unique narrative choice mechanic, players craft sentences in response to the in-game characters in We should talk. Through this careful choice of words, players express themselves as they discuss ongoing problems about life and romance with their in-game partner over text messages, while also chatting with friends and strangers at their favorite local bar about what’s on their mind. The combination of words they choose impacts the conversations they have, how genuinely they can connect with their partner, and whether their relationship can survive the night.

We should talk

Inspired to make a narrative relationship-centric game that avoids transactional interactions and prescriptive responses, we set out to create a totally new way to engage with a game narrative. Player dialogue responses in “We Should Talk” are broken into 2-3 parts, all completely interchangeable. This allows players to build the response that best suits their feelings about the situation and conversation.

Our team’s goal with “We Should Talk” is to exhibit the nuance of communication by allowing the player to choose between small but meaningful differences in realistic conversations. Player responses elicit varied reactions from conversational partners, providing examples that show the player that even subtle choices in their language can make an impact on immediate conversations and established relationships.

“We Should Talk” was developed in the spring semester of 2018 for the NYU Game Center’s “Studio 2” course, and further developed during the 2019 NYU Game Center Incubator.

Credits:

Kat Aguiar, Nobo Bhowmik, Francesca Carletto-Leon, Jordan Jones-Brewster, Carol Mertz,  Jack Schlesinger