Jason Rohrer (creator Passage, Immortality, and others) is back with another game, this one with the theme of regret (bet you never would've guessed from the title). Rohrer and a journalist writing about the design process game up with the theme, after nixing such topics as "stop snitching", "torture policy", and "stop-and-frisk". The game itself deals with feeding animals ... sort of:
I wanted to make a game about how regret feels, but not necessarily about how to overcome regret. We both agreed that we should avoid the Deepak Chopra self-help angle.
My initial design ideas used 2-D platform mechanics as a foundation. Imagine making a mistake like missing a jump, but not dying from that mistake. Instead, imagine that mistake coming back to haunt you, forcing you to replay that jump again in the future. Imagine a level that becomes longer and longer as the regrettable past portions of the level are injected ahead of you - a future populated by past mistakes that you must replay.
Using familiar mechanics as a foundation can work, but I'm more interested in devising new mechanics that are the best possible fit for the topic at hand. I cast the net a bit wider and came up with the design that involves feeding animals. Oh, and killing them, too.
Worth a look this weekend if you've got the time — I didn't have much time to play around with it, maybe after I'm safely ensconced in LA for our E3 get together. Here's hoping traffic doesn't suck.
Game Design Sketchbook: Regret [The Escapist]