Die Young: Prologue

Die Young: Prologue (PC/Steam 2019)

First-Person Action/Adventure DLC

Project Role: Lead Designer
Main Responsibilities: Level Design, Narrative Design, Production.

About

This stand-alone game was first released for free to tease the final release of the main game (“Die Young“) in the same year. The director’s idea was to create a more action-oriented experience that would include all the features of the main game and that could be completed by players within a short period of time. My challenge was to design a level that could be used both as a tutorial and as a showcase of the game mechanics (parkour/climbing, stealth, crafting, combat, etc.), but that would also feature a full narrative arc to keep players engaged and leave them with a sense of completeness.

Level Design

The game is divided into three levels: introduction/tutorial (“The Sewers“), main level (“The Harbor“), boss fight arena/ending (“No Escape“). The main level was built around the idea of letting players experiment with different paths and approaches, trying to convey the non-linear structure of the main game on a smaller scale. As the only designer of these levels, my responsibilities included:

  • Designing, blocking out, testing, and iterating the levels, from blockmesh to final state.
  • Gathering visual references for setting, props, mood, and lighting.
  • Working closely with artists, providing a list of necessary assets and modules.
  • Set dressing and placement of gameplay-related assets (such as covers, signifiers, items, interactive objects, etc.).
  • Monitoring art passes.
  • Working with programmers to improve mechanics and AI behaviors.
  • Implementing AI patrol paths and AI-related volumes and triggers.

Narrative Design

The game is meant to be a stand-alone experience taking place before the events of the main game. It features a new main character, following her desperate escape from the island on which the game’s story is set.

I was responsible for:

  • Developing scenario and characters.
  • Writing the script for cutscenes and in-game lines.
  • Working closely with the animator and cinematic artist for scene layouts.
  • Writing in-game documents and item descriptions.
  • Communicating with the sound designer for voice acting directions and audio.