The Last Peak
7 weeks (2022)
Many years ago the earth was swallowed by the ocean. For reasons unknown, the water levels have been slowly rising ever since. The only vestiges of humanity live on boats, fighting each other for the last scrap of viable land on earth: the peak of Mount Everest.
Your ship has been destroyed. Your crew is scattered throughout the Himalayas. All that stands between you and the icy abyss is an old rust-bucket barely fit to sail. Find your crew. Upgrade your vessel. Destroy your enemies. Take the Last Peak and claim a future for your people.
Engage your enemies in thrilling asymmetric naval combat, where you must chose battles carefully to avoid more powerful vessels.
BATTLE & EXPLORE
STRENGTH IN NUMBERS
Rapidly manage your crew during combat to reinforce different ship subsystems and turn the tables on your enemies.
AN EMOTIONAL JOURNEY
Experience a short narrative-driven experience as you pick up crew members and learn about their relationships and quirky personalities.
Explore the dark waters of the Himalayas.
Enemy ships will constantly pursue you. Sink them!
Rescue lost crew members to upgrade your ship.
Click to go to section...
As a narrative designer I wanted to make sure the story and dialogue enhanced the player experience. My aim was to make the journey of inhabiting The Last Peak meaningful from a game writing perspective and the first step towards achieving this was to put the story's focus on the two main characters, Captain Ben and Chief Engineer Angie. I wanted to shape their backstories in such way that the player would sympathize with them and fight for their cause.
A narrative experience bringing the crew members to life.
A touching story that speaks of loss and grief.
A dark and melancholic plot with cheerful dialogue.
Unique voices for each character
Furthermore, I realized that each character needed to possess a distinct voice in the dialogue - a voice which would reveal their personalities to the player. This task was another challenge I found myself iterating on throughout the project. My goal was to make sure that the player would be able to determine which character's dialogue was playing without having to read their name or see their picture.
For this to even be a possibility, I had to make sure the player got acquinted with the characters in the first place and I had a limited window in the game to do this and it needed to be done as early as possible. Therefore, I decided that the tutorial was a great place to start.
Story & Dialogue
Outlining the story with all of its dialogue was a fun challenge. I wanted to stay true to the narrative pillars and finding a good balance between the narrative pillars EMOTIONAL and LIGHTHEARTED took some time.
Initially we wanted to implement an intro cutscene to set the mood and ease into the plot, but we decided that the narrative would benefit from removing the cutscene and bake the story into the tutorial instead. It made more sense to take part of the story while actually playing the game.
(Portraits of us in the team)
(click on picture to enlarge)
Most of the dialogue is played before and after the player rescues a survivor in the game and for narrative purposes I wanted to make sure that the dialogues triggered in a certain order no matter in which order the survivors were picked up on the map.
Why this way?
We wanted the player to be able to explore the map in whatever direction they'd prefer and approach any raft in any order without this affecting the storyline. By not making each raft "survivor-specific" we were able to ensure that the storyline played out the way we wanted to.
When placing out the dialogue triggers around the survivors rafts, the one thing I had to keep in mind was to make sure that the dialogues triggered at a suitable range before pickup, so there would be a long enough time window for the dialogue to play and finish before the player actually reached and picked up the survivor. Sometimes this became an impossibility due to lengthy dialogue, which required me to rewrite and shorten some dialogues.
Process of creating Sound Effects
I used FL Studio Pro for all things audio related since creating the sound effects required alot of sound shaping, mixing and some recording. The sound effects I couldn't create myself I found online and tweaked and revamped. I had to make sure the audio matched our game vision and style and for this reason iteration was an important part of the process.
Creating the background noise while dialogue is playing in the game was especially fun and required some creativity. Let me walk you through the process of making this specific sound effect.
I recorded my own voice and pitched it up quite a bit, time-stretched it and reversed it. Then I cut out the low-end frequencies using an equalizer and also slapped on a filter to really shape the sound to my liking. I also used a compressor to get a nice dynamic range and as a final touch I added a radio static noise to the arrangement and leveled the master channel.
For the music, my vision was to convey a feeling of melancholy and stress, but with a touch of hope. After playing around with some ideas, I decided that the best way I could translate this vision into music was to go with the orchestral genre.
I wrote two out of a total of four tracks for this project: The final boss track and the ending theme. I was collaborating with another composer who made the other two tracks and this was a fantastic experience - not only for learning purposes, but also for feedback and continuity.