Project Exist is an English visual novel (of the psychological horror genre) being developed by a team that, to an extent, rotates. It will be released for Microsoft Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X. The gameplay will follow a somewhat-branching plot line using a pool of pre-determined scenarios, and the player's choices. Rather than use x/y branching, nearly all branches in the game are point-based. The choices themselves focus on how the player interacts with the other characters. It features two main storylines.
The main "themes" are the thought process and dreams; it is intended that much of the horror doesn't come from what humans do, but how they think. Along the same lines, rather than focus on nightmares, dreams are set-up to influence reality as opposed to the other way around.
The game is meant to break several game design standards/tropes.
- A God Am I
- One common "issue" that other RPG's tend to have is the tendency for the main character to become nigh-godlike so that he can take on some other god, or understands/believes that he is more powerful than humanity. Kazuki Kamata will not become so drastically powerful (although Katherine Faust might be.
- Bumbling Sidekick
- A sidekick that can do nearly nothing isn't worth having around to most people. Most of the sidekicks/party members the player is able to enlist are actually more powerful or useful than the player.
- One-Hit Kill
- As far as many other games are concerned, in exploration, combat, and story branching, there are possibilities to die (or lock yourself out of a storyline) due to one choice you make. Such possibilities are heavily diminished in Project Exist. Many of the branches that will occur through points, and not yes/nos.
- Follow the Plotted Line
- "You're just on time!" "Oh, thank God you're here!" The player will not have ridiculous timing, nor will he magically find himself on the path to a "good end". (The timing won't be ridiculously bad either; "You just missed the train!")
- Exponential Potential
- "Exponential Potential" refers to the tendency for combat-based characters to gain an obscene number of usable skills. The number of skills such a character "knows" will be limited.
- Fake Longevity
- Increasing game-play time is good, but only if there is actual content. Fetch quests, repetition... there should be none of that.
- Jump Scare
- Jump scares are false scares; a good psychological horror uses a human's mentality.