(Check out our interview with the developer here.)

We’ve had a couple of point-and-click adventures to talk about in our look at Tokyo Game Show 2016 thus far. It’s a genre that never seems to go completely out of style, but has definitely seen a resurgence in the past several years. The success of titles like Heavy Rain and The Walking Dead have breathed new life into the genre. But some people want to go back even further, to a time when text was all that was needed to make a great game. The team at 4D Door Games is currently hard at work on Will: A Wonderful World, their modern take on a text adventure.

Don’t expect to go stomping around ancient ruins and battling beasts like Zork, though. Those familiar with visual novels popularized in the east may find some more common ground here, instead. There’s very little art in Will aside from a few background images, and the focus here is instead on letting players create a flow for their story. Characters in the game have problems in their lives but feel like they have nowhere to turn, so they instead write letters to a god (that’s you!) in hopes that a solution can be found.

Each of the letters has one or more crucial points on which the entire flow of the story hinges, and by making a small alteration here or shifting things around, the course of events can be changed. Letters begin simply enough, getting players used to the very menial task of changing someone’s fate. The pieces have to fall into just the right place after all. Letters are given, as one might expect, in large chunks of text, which are broken down paragraph by paragraph to allow for it to be clear where alterations can be made.

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Though initially single letters are given, the game quickly starts creating points of contact between multiple characters, and their letters can start to affect one another. When a girl is trying to run away from a possible threat, she starts searching for an open door to escape. Another character writes about accidentally leaving his doors unlocked. Of course, he fixes that, but if the mention of an unlocked door is switched to the girl’s side, she suddenly has an escape route. The fates of both characters are changed here. By default, these crux points are in bold red, making it clear where the shifts should occur, but the option can be turned off to give the player a chance to flex their mental muscles a bit.

Given that everything is done through written letters, it’s understandable that the game is going to be rather reading-intensive, and that could turn off some players, but the idea of interconnected stories is one that personally always appeals to me, and there’s the potential for no small variety of outcomes. Though the demo dealt with a simple change between two characters, I asked Miaoyi Wang, the director, about the potential for more complex relationships further down the line. As the game goes on, she told me, there were greater chances to affect change, and “if you have 3 or 4 movable paragraphs, the combinations will grow explosively. So maybe you will have 7 to 8 endings in just one story.”

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While it certainly won’t become a cinematic masterpiece given its medium, Will is definitely an intriguing idea and an interesting dive into a genre that goes largely unexplored these days. I’m definitely a fan of the unique and am personally very interested in seeing how this turns out.

For more information, check out the official site.

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