«Northbound» is a narrative, explorative Adventure Game. The player assumes the role of a university leaver who, together with two old friends, goes on a road trip to Scandinavia in a campervan. Although they travel long distances, «Northbound» focuses solely on the inside of the vehicle. There, through the dialogue between the participants, a dense narration develops, which initially has all the hallmarks of a high-spirited and somewhat superficial outing amongst friends, but then turns into a subtle psychological profile of each participant. The player not only bears witness to these conversations, some of which revolve around disappointed expectations, but also drives them forward through the avatar.
In terms of the design of the vehicle’s interior, special attention was paid to a high degree of interactivity so the options available on the dashboard alone (complete with radio!) would capture the player’s imagination. Any object inside the vehicle may be used, changed or positioned elsewhere, which, after a while, results in the campervan transforming into a typical, chaotic state.
«It was important to us to tell authentic, everyday stories in this space, and also draw inspiration from our own experiences and deal with subjects such as change, alienation and loneliness.»
The special serenity of the narration forms a radical contrast to the expectations that game design usually encounters. Similar to the acts of a theatre play, the different sections of the narration are clearly marked and gradually lead towards a finely nuanced, interactively experienced narration.
Without it being a declared intention of the game, «Northbound» functions according to the principles of a chamber drama, where, in a very confined space, basic narrative themes are played out. The contrast between the quiet – and seemingly boring – storyline and the eventually very dense storytelling shows the special quality of the work and the abilities of the authors.