Why do we want to make a game inside a game? How is that connected with artistic expressions?
The concept of the game is inspired deeply by the theories of meta-narration. Meta-narration theories believe that universes are created by storytelling, and the individual that “creates'' a world will have complete dominance over it. The minds in a lower narrative layer can neither notice, nor interact with the minds in a higher narrative layer, unless the dominant ones intentionally “define” them to do so.
Normally, a higher-level mind will never have the chance to fully immerse itself in the lower layers. However, in Beyond Me, the main character focused on the story so much, that he thought he was a part of his own story, not only one time but two times -- meaning he will explore 3 different universes with their own unique backgrounds:
- His own universe, a first-person 3d game with a sci-fi world setting;
- The universe created by him, a pixel 2d game with a modern world setting;
- The universe created by his creation, an interactive novel with a fantasy world setting.
Traveling between the three universes, the player will feel the complete dominance of one layer on top of another. The player will also experience the devaluation of a layer once ascended to the higher ones: All of the emotional bonds that established before seem meaningless, because “they are all just fiction”.
As the character in the highest narration layer dies and the players snap back to real life, they will realize that even the 3d universe is nothing but a story, and their own life is what actually matters. With three similar ascensions in a row, we want to question the definition of reality: Is our universe on top of the pyramid of narration, or it’s also a creation of a more complex mind? If all human minds, memories, and emotions are just scripted in a flash of a higher-layer creature’s mind, then what is the meaning of our existence?
On a more emotional aspect, the game also talked about being alone, and the fear of losing someone important in your life. In all the three layers of narrations, the player struggles with the death of people he loved. Although he can change the story he wrote and revive people, at the end of the game, he still leaves this world alone.
Through the artistic expressions of the two themes above, we think that Beyond Me is able to let the player feel emotions that are more than just pure melancholy, and view the concept of narrations in a different way.
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