Portage is a game that follows a lone journeyer with their dog through the dense Canadian Boreal forest, but more importantly, focuses on the player and the experiences that they will have. The aim is to inspire a sense of mindfulness through sound, visuals and the relaxed pace of the journey. Mimicking the feelings of a real walk through nature, the player will be in a space that allows for natural discovery and reflection carried only by their sense of exploration. We have incorporated canoeing, and subsequently portaging, into the game to enhance the journey and provide a simple gameplay mechanic for the player to manage. There will be certain actions including fishing, cooking, and playing the harmonica that are there to add authenticity to the outdoor experience without the stresses of real life. Ideally we want the controls for these tasks to be engaging and possibly even mimic the real action, however we need to balance this with them being intuitive especially with minimal UI support. In terms of encounters, we want the player to react positively when they come across them which means that they shouldn’t be over abundant but, equally, the forest should still feel alive. One key feature of the game is that nothing should be required by the player, instead they should be able to have a unique experience by making choices on what they want to do and by encountering things through exploration. Players that chose to take their time and appreciate the environment will be rewarded by seeing things that players who chose to rush through might not. The importance of the journey is very much what happens along the way rather than the ending.
Unique Selling Point
For people who are stuck in the city, working a job running themselves into the ground, forgetful of what else there is to life; The Voyageur provides a space to forget the dullness of routines and explore the beauty of nature. It does this by giving control to you, the player, to take your own initiative and journey through the forest at your own pace. The difference between The Voyageur and similar relaxing/explorative games is that the focus is not on the ending or any significant resolution, but rather the player-driven experiences and how you chose to reflect on them along the way.
The intended audience is the casual gamer. Built to be a calming, relaxing experience without goals or significant mechanics to learn, our game allows for the players to drop in and out of a journey at their leisure, in their own time. With no story or a time limit to impose a sense of pressure to get to the end, the game has a pace that only the player brings into the game session. The gameplay can last between 20 minutes to 2 hours, with only the current of the rivers to keep the player moving forward. Making the game more of a peaceful experience.The type of person that would fit into this category would be one that has a busy lifestyle, with not many hours to dedicate to gaming. Maybe someone who used to be an avid gamer but now has less time to give to their once loved hobby. Aged between 18-35, the largest gaming demographic. The game is targeted at all genders by using a character without an obvious identity. They have interests for the nostalgic art style from pixel art, minimalist animations and simple movements. Also having an appreciation for the natural world, wildlife and scenic landscapes, our audience enjoys the essence of the outdoors, the sounds and colours which might not be obtainable with their geographic location or schedules