Exit, Pursued by a Bear is small video game prototype that explores self-expression and emergent storytelling in a digital medium. Designed and created as my graduation project for Design for Virtual Theatre and Games from the HKU Art School in 2015. In the game, two players inhabit two characters in a largely featureless world. They have limited controls for self-expression – the players provide the context. Their controls are largeley orthodox 3D platformer but their world is static – there is no mission or objective, forcing them to find something else to do – relate to one another.

Over time, the world does change. A large rift appears, and soon the whole world begins to crumble. Having established a relationship, the players must now say goodbye.

Exit, Pursued By A Bear was the culmination of a number of experiments I performed at the HKU, all of them relating to some form of spontaneous, expressive player-generated storytelling in non-narrative games. All of them, including Raft, were more or less Waiting For Godot video game adaptations, or at least were intended to be that. The Design for Virtual Theatre program was housed in the HKU’s Theatre division, which allowed for some unorthodox inspiration away from the dreary, incestuous tech bubble of Game Development.

Exit, Pursued By A Bear presented at Nieuwe Filmers 2015

I have toyed with further iterations of Exit, Pursued By A Bear but nothing concrete has sprung from it so far. As an experiment and artistic gesture it still has some merit, I believe, but is is a roundabout way of achieving the sort of play that people are generally capable of generating through tabletop gaming with much more ease.

Exit, Pursued By A Bear can be downloaded here.