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Hope Valley: Part 1

Hope Valley is a visual novel, adventure game hybrid that I planned with Volrath four years ago. The initial concept was for a game set in a fictional small town based off of The Maritimes. It was planned to be a direct sequel to X-Noir.

Cape Breton, Nova Scotia served as the inspiration for the town of Hope Valley

Eddie needed to escape the city after the events of X-Noir. He wanted to get as far away as possible, so he moved out to a small town on the coast, and became a park ranger under the alias Rick.

One of the main inspirations for the game was Twin Peaks. We wanted to explore themes of community in a small town setting, as well as the dark underbelly of these small towns. The Monster that appears in Beth’s dreams in Labyrinthine Dreams would return as a metaphysical representation of the malice that was brooding in the town.

The game was going to be broken down into four chapters which we outlined. The first chapter outline was mostly complete, and some concept art was even completed.

Concept art for Rick in a casual and park ranger outfit

I drafted up an opening for Hope Valley. Originally, it was going to start in a stark black and white labyrinth. This was to tie the game in with Labyrinthine Dreams. It would be presented in the first person. Rick would be exploring the labyrinth, narrating how he keeps returning here every night when he goes to sleep.

The labyrinth was going to be a recurring place, like the black lodge in Twin Peaks. It was also inspired by the endless maze in House of Leaves.

You can find the original draft below.

Hope Valley Opening

How did I get here? I feel like I’ve been stuck in this maze for days. Maybe weeks. Endless, darkened hallways, turning at acute angles, leading to doorways that open up into giant, unfurnished rooms. Who built this place and for what purpose?

There is no source of light. I have to feel my way along the walls. I know if I follow the left wall, I’ll eventually make my way to the end. But the end never comes.

There is no sound in this maze. I can’t even hear my own breathing. It’s as if all sound is stifled by the endless darkness. The air is heavy with a feeling of dread. As if there is something in the darkness, watching me. I sometimes think I can get a glimpse of it at the end of a long hall, peeking around the corner.

My senses are dulled in this place. It’s as if I have no awareness of my own body. As if my conscious is slowly floating through this hopeless labyrinth. Is this purgatory?

Suddenly, a loud knocking shatters the silence.

Concept art for Rick’s cabin

I open my eyes. I’m no longer in the labyrinth. I’m lying in my bed, staring at the wood ceiling. Even though I’m awake now, I feel a part of me is still behind in the labyrinth, still seeking a way out.

My joints ache as I try to move them. I turn my head towards the digital clock on my microwave. 3:13 am. There could only be one person knocking on my door at this hour. Anxiety kicks in upon that realization, and I use that nervous energy to roll out of bed.

Another series of knocks. “One second!” I grab a t-shirt and quickly pull it over my head. I stumble towards the door and undo the lock. I slowly pull it open.

“Wakey wakey, Ricky.” Foret is standing there in full park ranger uniform. “We got an incident on North Beach.”

“What is it this time? Some drunk teenagers sneak in again?”

“No time to explain. Put on your uniform and let’s get going. You got 5 minutes to get ready.”

That was all I completed of the initial draft. In the next post, I’ll go into more detail what the story outline would have looked like, the gameplay mechanics, and the new direction the game went in over the years.

Click here to jump to Part Two

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