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The Origin Story of Hindsight 20/20, Coming Soon to Xbox One

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Hindsight 20/20 is a 3D third person action-adventure game in which you can relive your past and fix the mistakes you made for a different gameplay and story experience. Each playthrough of the game provides a handcrafted journey with endings that are personalized and unique to your choices and actions.

For example: you belong to a town that values peace and harmony. Will you break the rules of this town and be ruthless in your actions for a potentially better cause, or will you respect the values of your town, no matter what? The sheriff of this town killed your father. Will you murder him and violate the ethos of your people? Or will you spare his life and allow him to grow more powerful? Questions with moral dilemmas like these are what this game allows you to be a part of. Every permutation of actions, reactions, branching paths and changes to the world are carefully handcrafted so both each playthrough feels personal.

Hindsight 2020

Hindsight 2020

Those who know me well know I am a very self-critical person. It is a part of my personality I struggle with and continually work on improving (I realize I sound like I am being self-judgmental about being self-critical, which is kind of defeating the point!). I think a lot about my past and the mistakes I have made. I tend to obsess about how I could have fixed my mistakes and done better if I had an opportunity to fix them if I had another shot at life.

At some point, I truly understood what “hindsight 20/20” meant as a philosophy to me. Since then I have wanted to make a game where you can make mistakes you may not have intended. I wanted to then provide the opportunity to fix those mistakes by replaying the game for a vastly different experience, complete with 7 different endings (and many quests have their own mini-endings as well). There are no guarantees the new path will be better. Sometimes performing a difficult action for the greater good leads to less desirable results than one might expect.

Hindsight 2020Hindsight 2020

To achieve the goal of presenting a reactive world tailored to your choices and actions, I wrote a gameplay engine middleware called the Experience Engine. This engine is essentially an AI that is observing and recording your choices and actions. Thanks to this, every entity in the game is aware of all your choices and actions. This is what allows the NPCs and bosses to treat you differently depending on the impact you have had on the world. The world itself is malleable and can switch between 5 different states in each playthrough. The power of your choices and actions allows you to determine the fate of your town and acquire a specific ending. The Experience Engine also presents you with a personal picture book of your journey that led to that ending.

I pitched this idea and my motivations to three other veteran game developers: Kevin Cecelski, Paul Whitehead, and Noel Gabriel. All of them were inspired by what I presented to them and thanks to our successful collaborations at BioWare and Amazon Game Studios, they were immediately on board. Our past projects involved shipping big AAA titles such as Star Wars: The Old Republic, Guild Wars 2 and G.I. JOE: The Rise of Cobra. We formed Triple-I Games to make games like these that are too risky or not scalable in the AAA space.

See the rest of the story on Xbox Wire

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