Branching Narrative | Text-Based Narrative Game



Game Designer


October - December 2020


Tianyue Gu - Art
Yuwei Lin - Art
Cassidy Pong - Development


Unity Game Engine
After Effects


A cyberpunk single-player, 2D narrative adventure game with time loops and multiple endings.

Download the game here.



Set in a sci-fi society, the player wakes up in a room where a mysterious voice leads them through a series of decisions that affects their experience and changes the encounters they have with characters in the world. With each time loop, the environment slowly degrades as the player gains more insight about themselves.

Important Themes

Mother focuses on the feeling of betrayal that is weaved into the different branching narratives. As the player makes decisions and begins to interact with different characters, the feeling of betrayal can evolve.



My team and I spent time on Miro sticky-noting different themes and art concepts we each were interested in exploring for the game.

Screen Shot 2022-02-06 at 10.19.10 PM

Story Mapping

To get a better idea of our narrative, we mapped out every event that would occur within each storyline path and how they would connect or split off.

This process helped us address any plot holes and organize all the different scenes and NPC interactions.

Screen Shot 2022-02-06 at 10.21.15 PM
Screen Shot 2022-02-06 at 10.20.01 PM

Reference Art

For the art in Mother, we took inspiration from Japanese Cyberpunk and low poly Sci-fi.



Creating Our Characters

Because narrative was the main focus of our game, we needed a script that players could easily follow as they played. After discussion, we chose to write in first-person to put players in the perspective of our main character. I led the scriptwriting and focused on keeping our script succinct and dramatic to pull players into the apocalyptic world we were trying to build. 

In order to make our script more compelling, and accessible, we decided to also integrate voiceovers into the final game. Although I had never done voice acting before, I ended up recording for all of the characters in the game, which was a fun and new experience for me!

Ending Animations

As a stretch goal, we wanted to add ending animations for each path players reached after finishing the game. Our hope was that the animations would entice players to replay the game to try and reach the other endings. 

Because of my experience animating in Adobe After Effects, I took on the task of creating the six ending animations.

The Truth

Playtesting the Experience

To test for bugs and gauge if our branching narrative was a success, we ran a total of two playtest sessions with six players in total. After each playtest, we asked players a series of questions and received feedback about the gameplay:

Audio/Visual Imbalance

Our audio was inconsistent in volume, with some scenes being too loud and other scenes sounding inaudible

UI Bugs

We discovered branching issues and connection errors within our UI that led players to the wrong endings or empty scenes

Customizations and Effects

Multiple players expressed that the ability to customize the UI or input more UI special effects, such as glitches, would make the game even more interesting

With the feedback gathered from our playtests, my team and I refined our game and address any notable issues before releasing the game on


My Takeaways

Being able to take a game from ideation to a final build was a thrilling process! I enjoyed being able to take on other roles within the game production process, such as scriptwriting and recording character voiceovers, because it helped me get a more holistic view of how games are made. If my team and I were to continue production on this game, we want to focus on adapting our narrative to multiple languages and refining our narrative to push players into making more nuanced decisions.

In all, I am super grateful for my team and proud of the game we made! It took a lot of sleepless nights to get to the end, but we were able to complete all our goals and even our stretch goals. For my first time design and building a game, I would call this a complete success!

Designed by LXM