Recommendations: switch-around-protagonist games

This morning I had an incredibly original thought: What about an IF where you control multiple characters and switch between them all willy nilly?

I did some “due diligence” and to my utter shock I discovered that this has in fact been done before. The first one I found was Luminous Horizon, which I have not played before, so I should get around to that.

Are there any other games in this vein that spring to mind? I should clarify that I’m talking specifically about that subset of “multiple protagonist” games in which moving between protagonists is the prerogative of the player, as opposed to games like Photopia and Hitchhiker’s Guide where it’s imposed as part of the game’s progression. Not that there’s anything wrong with games like that.

I guess a further distinction could be made between situations in which the switching happens between characters that are occupying the same place and time (and are therefore able to interact directly with each other), as opposed to A Swiftly Tilting Planet-type situations where the characters involved are all over the place.

A while ago I started working on a game where you can switch between playing a ghost, a monkey and a robot- using their strengths and weaknesses to solve puzzles and progress through a story involving a future war and the bombing of a circus. Unfortunately, the computer upon which I was working was stolen and I have since lacked the motivation to recreate my previous efforts.

Luminous Horizons is the only other similar IF I know of.

I believe Suspended is the locus classicus, though I have not played it myself.

(My own Art of Fugue has you play four different characters simultaneously, though it should be said that there is no real fiction, only puzzles.)

Did you every anything from Quantic Dream? They had games with multiple main characters, like Fahrenheit and Heavy Rain. Though they’re more action/graphic adventure games, and the character switching is at fixed points, they have interactive stories and scenes that depend on what you’ve discovered and done during the playthrough which I believe puts them under interactive fiction, at least as a distant cousin.

I really wanted to do a game with this style, but I couldn’t figure out how to save the protagonists’ contexts in the language I was programming in. (If someone wants to team up on it, maybe we could do a game together?)

What was the language you were programming in? I’ve got a bunch of projects on the go (something in the ifcomp, rerelease of an old game, game where adverbs are more important than verbs, and a game in which you play the animistic spirit of a room), but I’m always interested in more.

I’m really language-independent, but at the time I was programming in Inform 7. When I do interactive fiction I usually put together the scenerio independent of the language I’m (trying to) use to make the game work.

Yup, it was quite common in the 8-bit years: In Melbourne’s Lord Of The Rings You could control any of the four hobbits at any time. In Questprobe III you cuold switch between The Human Torch and The Thing (Yeah!) and in spanish classic Ke Rulen Los Petas you could do the same beteween the two main characters.

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That sounds like a good way of working. I’m most familiar with Inform 7, having written two games in the language thus far. Switching player characters is a piece of cake in inform, but you say you were having problems working out how to save the character’s contexts- what exactly did you mean by this? If it’s their location, what they have on them etc., then I know how to implement that, but perhaps I misunderstood what you meant.

I wasn’t really able to do either of those at my skill level. Originally, I’d wanted to keep track of some key actions by each character so that I could do some magic later in the story based on how the player had acted, but that got scaled back pretty instantly to what you mentioned. Maybe we could team up on the project sometime later?

Basically, there’s a difference between ‘the player’ and ‘yourself’ in inform. You’re always the player, but you can switch between characters other than ‘yourself’. When you switch back to them, just like normal npcs they’re going to still be in the same place and have all the same stuff as you left them. I’m definitely interested in working on a project sometime. I’ll send you my email :smiley: