Mnemoscene is a narrative game engine; Emergence is a digital RPG in-development, that uses some of the Mnemoscene engine to tell stories in a world of rapidly advancing technology.
As a story, Emergence explores a world on the cusp of a technological ascension. The player guides the stories of a cadre of characters with important roles to play in how the breakthrough happens. The characters' stories explore technology and our relationships with it, how it shapes and is shaped by us– how it constitutes embodied cognition and is inseparable from us not as individuals, but as a community. How technology, and the stored and shared information that it represents, unites us and drives us to act collectively and individually. It is about the zeitgeist that emerges through the sum of our actions … and that is the player's story.
As a game, Emergence is a JRPG –where the player guides a character or party of characters through their stories, making tactical decisions about how the characters fight, negotiate, or otherwise don't fail, but not controlling the characters' stories. It's also a WRPG –where the player makes choices about who and what the main character is and does and in what direction the story goes. How can the game be both? That's the design challenge. My idea, by no means unique, is to allow the player real choice while applying that choice to a community rather than an iconoclastic individual. The player will be the community's emergent will and character, defined over the course of the story by the choices made in implementing the pre-existing storyline, rather than coming before the storyline.
A very different, but interesting, way to go with this would be to focus it deeply on the personal stories of the characters and how they live their lives around the (player) and its guidance. Tori Amos' Little Earthquakes would be a major inspiration, here, along with the On Children chapter of The Prophet.
But first! First we're going to build a pretty standard JRPG with a pretty linear quest around the themes. As for development_staging, it'll hit a bunch of the plots in a line at first. From there we can have the player start to emerge as a character. Then we can see about making the linear plot just one that could be carved out of the sculptural_hypertext.