Reactive Studios

Episode № 87

Jonathon Myers from Reactive Studios joins us to talk about non-traditional narrative and interactive fiction in his upcoming title, Codename Cygnus. When we heard that we could play as a spy in an old-school radio drama we took out our tuxedos, plugged in our earpiece, and used every charismatic option to tell Jonathon: thank you for making this.

We get very excited when game developers dare to explore new and interesting ways of engaging players in story, choices, and mechanics. When Jonathon reached out asking, “Do you think BigSushi would be interested in what I’m doing?” I did not hesitate to respond with a liberal use of the caps lock, “I AM SO INTO THIS!”

The idea is to make you feel like you’re in an old-time radio drama

When was the last time you thought of radio dramas? Imagine for split second you are a child in the 1940s. You don’t have video games or television. You’re sitting cross-legged in the living room in front of a massive radio waiting for your favorite weekly radio program. I knew about these programs from a historical perspective, but playing Codename Cygnus suddenly makes me nostalgic for something I never really experienced until now.

235008442291ad6ff89dba794de1a791_largeJonathon explains that the inspiration came from his time working at Zynga on Indiana Jones Adventure World. While researching the origins of Indiana Jones he discovered that Lucas and Spielberg modeled a lot of the story telling and characteristics from the entertainment they had as kids: weekly comics, matinee serials, and radio dramas. With Codename Cygnus, Jonathon wants to create a series for players to follow on an ongoing basis and engage them in a whole new way as the main character.

As the player you’re a spy and find yourself in James Bond-esque situations: drinking, gambling, flirting, and shoot-outs. Your prompted during several moments of the game to speak single-word choices that determine the kind of spy you want to be. From what Jonathon tells us as the mission and overall story continues these branching choices will provide more flavor to the overall experience.

With a game mostly limited to an auditory experience, there is a strong need for good writing, sound effects, music, and voice acting. Never fear. Codename Cygnus is tapping some amazing talent to fulfill those requirements, including Logan Cunningham and Sarah Elmaleh.

Codename Cygnus is currently looking for more support on Kickstarter with an anticipation of the first mission being available for iOS in September. You can also follow progress on the game on Twitter or Facebook.