I’m down to Wolverine’s “puzzle” section of Arcade’s Murderworld setting in my X-Men text adventure (Inform 7), and I threw out my original design. I created the design actual millions of years ago before I sat down to build the game, and it’s trash. Ok, it’s not that bad, but I was a whole other person that long ago.
So, how do you build a locked room puzzle for a character who is so defined by decades of popular culture? Also, which Wolverine is he? The berserker? The detective? The emotional pit of self-loathing caught between beast and man?
Right now I’m leaning toward letting the player decided through their actions. If they start tearing things up in the area with Wolverine’s claws, an archetype-marking variable changes and “berserker” becomes the puzzle path going forward. I plan on having a few robot NPCs there, and if the player focuses on talking with them, the variable changes to “connection”, and the puzzle becomes relating to these (robot) people through dialogue. And finally, if the player spends a lot of time snooping around the area before doing anything else, the variable becomes set as the “investigator”.
This, of course, triples (at least) the work I have to do, but I feel it’s worth it. I worry (of course). Will the player feel trapped by their accidental decision? I don’t plan on announcing in that moment that the player has locked themselves into a path, but it means I’ve got to be very good about not leaving accidental red herrings; vestigial bits of the other paths not chosen. And, the three paths need to be equally good… which, like, gosh that’s a big one right there.
I was wavering with this plan, but typing it out has solidified my ambition. Wolverine is one of the best, and one of the worst characters in the Marvel universe. I feel like this plan captures some of that spirit. Now, let’s see if I can pull off even a little bit of this idea.