Most of the time, I can point to a particular starting point for games that I write (Time Heist: when the words ‘time heist’ were said in Avengers: Endgame; The Andromeda Ward: when a friend challenged me to make a Darkplace-inspired game; Bear: when I wanted to make a game that only used things that would always be accessible to someone (like their heartbeat, or the immediate weather) as prompts for storytelling).
However, it’s rare for the starting point to be totally unrelated to tabletop role-playing games, but still instinctively make me want to make something that echoes and reflect it. Horizon is a game created out of such a rare instance.
Here’s the initial inspiration for Horizon, that I stumbled across about eight months ago: the landscape concept art of Lorenzo Lanfranconi. If you take a look around, you’ll see how stunning it is – but here’s a taster:
I’ve always been a huge fan of worldbuilding – I enjoy it so much when GMing games, creating original worlds to play in as well as expanding on pre-existing ones. I’ve done performance work in the past which has mainly involved me creating and trialling different types of worldbuilding games for theatrical contexts, and I’ve made a handful of games purely focused on worldbuilding. So seeing these images of beautiful, striking, extreme, stark worlds – I wanted to create a game that could incorporate all of them.
I think this artwork grabs me so much, because I instinctively don’t see the locations as locations, but as settings. Backdrops to moments. I’ve a certain fondness for the small-scale event happening in epic surrounds. The promise made at the edge of a cliff in a deafening storm. The letter finally given over in the blinding dawn light cast on an expansive valley. The goodbye quietly said on the floating island ruin.
And that’s the fundamental centre point of Horizon: creating a game that tells the kind of stories such moments emerge out of.
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