In the full version of SOUNDeSCAPE, the story below would be told through motion comic style cutscenes. Here you can read the script for these cutscenes taken from my game design document.
The year is 1984 and Eddie Fade is speeding down Route 66. His destination? MidPoint Café. The other members of The Putrid Youth left earlier in the morning. Eddie had an argument with them the night before, chiefly about the band’s musical direction, but actually more about their hygiene. Eddie got hammered after the argument and slept while the other’s made their way to the venue without him. In an effort to catch up, Eddie rents a truck and travels through the night towards MidPoint.
Delirious from lack of sleep and exhausted from travel, he begins to lose consciousness. The truck drifts off the road, turning slowly into the black abyss of the desert as he falls asleep at the wheel. The truck shakes violently as it meets with the gravel, the vibration wakes Eddie up. A piercing screech fills the night as he veers back onto the tarmac, black plumes of smoke erupt from the truck’s tires. He fights with the wheel, sending the truck spinning wildly across the road. When the dust settles, a shocked, and now very much awake Eddie, slowly pulls the truck over to the side of the road.
His heart pounds in his chest as he sits catching his breath. In an effort to relax, he turns on the radio. Horrendous dance music fills his truck as he frantically tries to change the frequency. No matter how many different stations he tries, the same song is blaring from every one. A tired, adrenaline-fuelled Eddie, rips the radio out of his dash and throws it from the truck. In an attempt to get some much needed rest, Eddie takes some sleeping pills and grabs his trusty acoustic guitar. The silent highway is filled with his gentle slide blues as he drifts off to sleep.
BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!
“WHAT THE HELL?!” Eddie screams.
He opens his eyes to find his truck has disappeared, and so has the highway! He finds himself stood before a world constructed from his worst nightmare, dance music. Waveforms fly overhead as a harsh driving beat infests his ears. Eddie spots a strange creature approaching him in perfect synchronicity with the beat. He instinctively hides, grabbing his guitar from the floor. It’s barely recognizable as his own, with jet black finish and blue neon trim.
“I see everything,” the strange creature bellows. “And I see YOU! I am The Equalizer, the ruler of this world and you are trespassing in it, Interloper!”
The Equalizer’s voice has a sinister vocoder-like quality. Low in pitch and terrifying. Eddie swings his guitar behind him and reveals himself.
“Where am I? What is this place?” he asks.
“This is The Quantized Continuum! And you don’t belong here. No one is permitted to move freely, as you do, from my rhythmic pulse. Leave at once, or be obliterated!” The Equalizer hovers over Eddie with a menacing glare.
“I don’t even know how I got here!” Eddie explains as he swings the guitar from around his back, grasping it with both hands.
“You dare threaten ME?!” the Equalizer exclaims.
“Wait, what?” Eddie looks down at the guitar to see it seething with electrical energy. The sparks flying from its neck lick the ground beneath his feet. Eddie looks up to see The Equalizer now some distance away.
“My rhythmic horde will devour you, Interloper!” he gestures to his horde as hundreds of enemies fill the horizon. “GET HIM!” he shouts, pointing in Eddie’s direction.
Game Begins with Sector 1
During gameplay Eddie becomes familiar with the Quantized Continuum and battles with The Equalizer’s horde, the Quantized. He learns of the Cadence, an artefact of enormous power which The Equalizer uses to enslave them. They were once peaceful creatures, but under his tyrannous rule they have become monsters.
Cutscene After Completing Sector 1
A highway cop pulls up behind Eddie’s pickup. The midday sun gleams off his aviator glasses as he dismounts from his bike. He confidently approaches the truck and taps on the driver’s side window. Eddie offers no response, the cop taps again, this time, much louder.
“Wake up sir,” he says with agitated purpose.
Still nothing. The cop lifts his glasses and uses his hand to shield the sun away, he peers further into the driver side window. Nothing appears to be wrong, Eddie just seems to be… sleeping. With both hands holding the roof of the truck he shakes it from side to side.
“Wake up sir! You can’t sleep here!”
No amount of noise or commotion is able to wake Eddie up. With growing concern, the cop makes his way back to his patrol bike and grabs his megaphone. The megaphone beeps and crackles to life.
“Wake up! Wake Up!! WAKE UP!!!”
Red-faced and out of breathe, the cop scans the area looking for clues. He spots the discarded radio at the side of the road, its wires torn apart. Fearing the worst, he uses the megaphone to smash through the passenger side window. Glass shatters into the truck, but Eddie is still motionless. The cop removes his helmet, leans inside the window and unlocks the door. With the door now wide open, the cop sits beside Eddie and gingerly removes the guitar from his lap. He then places his fingers on Eddie’s wrist. Much to his relief, Eddie is alive, although no amount of provoking seems to illicit any kind of response. The cop unclips his radio.
“HQ. James. Please respond. Over.”
“James. What do you need? Over.”
“Ambulance. 6 miles east of MidPoint. Unknown male. Unconscious at the wheel. I am unable to wake him. Over.”
“Roger that. Sit tight Jimmy. Help will arrive shortly. Over.”
Sector 2 Begins
While in sector 2, Eddie discovers The Equalizer’s plot to invade earth and subjugate the population through dance music. His hypnotic beats will permeate the globe and render everyone devoid of free will. Eddie discovers that he must use the powerful Cadence artefact to remove The Equalizer’s hold over the Quantized. Without them, The Equalizer would be unable to invade Earth.
Cutscene After Completing Sector 2
A nurse stands over Eddie’s hospital bed, she straightens a net cap onto his head. A bundle of wires protrude from the back leading to a sophisticated looking arrangement on a trolley beside him. Eddie lies completely motionless, except his chest raising slightly when he breathes. The window opens to a view of the city below. Its early morning and the crisp sunlight is streaming into the ward. The rest of The Putrid Youth, Keith, Roger and Pete, stand around Eddie’s bed. While Roger tries his luck with the nurse, Keith stands with his drum sticks in his back pocket talking to Pete. The nurse completes her work and makes a hasty exit. The band are left staring at Eddie’s motionless body.
“Do you think he’ll be alright guys?” Keith asks, removing the sticks from his pocket and tapping drum rhythms on to Eddie’s legs.
“Maybe if you stop doing that you idiot!” pete snaps bitterly, snatching the sticks away. Keith yanks them back from Pete’s grasp and points them into his face.
“Maybe if you keep talking he might wake up just to tell YOU to shut up! It’s YOUR fault he’s in this bed! YOU thought it would be a good idea to leave him behind!”
Pete frowns angrily at Keith but says nothing.
Roger walks up between them and puts his arms around their shoulders. “He’ll be alright guys.”
“What about the tour?” Pete asks.
“Is that all you care about?!” Keith shouts angrily.
“The tour is over, we can’t do it without Ed.” Roger pulls them tighter together. “We shouldn’t have left him behind guys.”
Pete flings his arms apart wildly, separating himself from the others. “It’s his fault!” pointing his finger at Eddie, “If he didn’t spend all that time arguing with me he would still be here!”
“Shut up dude!” Keith shouts, grabbing Pete’s jacket by the collar. “It’s your fault! YOU wanted to leave him behind, we never should have listened to you!”
Roger stands in-between them, holding both at arm’s length either side of him. He pushes Pete, sending him flying towards the door. “Take a walk!”
“Fine… I’ll go!” Pete storms towards the exit and pauses for a moment. He looks back towards Eddie. “Let me know when he wakes up.”
Roger nods his head.
Pete exits sideways through the door as Eddie’s doctor enters the room. “Look after him, OK?” Pete whispers.
The doctor walks to the foot of Eddie’s bed and picks up the clipboard which hung from the railing. Roger and Keith stand silently as the doctor scans the document flipping page after page, making little wiggles with his pen.
“How’s he doing doc?” Keith whispers.
The doctor turns to them both and sighs deeply. “Well… It’s just too early to tell. We will have to wait a while before his blood results get back to us. Until then I can’t really speculate on his condition. He’s stable for now, so we can be hopeful.”
“Come on man… give us something. Why can’t we wake him up? What’s wrong with him?” The begging tone in Keith’s voice seemed to have an effect of the doctor.
“That’s just the problem. There isn’t anything wrong with him, he’s just… sleeping. You see that thing over there?” The doctor motions to the apparatus Eddie is tethered to. “That’s an electroencephalogram.”
“A what?!” Roger interrupts.
“An electroencephalogram, it’s a machine for reading brain function. It’s showing slow delta waves, which suggests that he’s in a very deep sleep. We just can’t seem to wake him from it.”
The two turn to face the machine. “So what? He’s just REALLY tired?” Keith asks.
“Not quite,” the doctor says, placing the clipboard back on the railing. “We should probably let him get some rest, he’s been through a lot.”
“I think he’s having plenty of that don’t you?!” Roger says.
The doctor gives an embarrassed smile and makes his way out of the room. The two turn to one another.
“He’ll be alright, won’t he?” Keith asks.
“He’ll be fine dude, he’s been through worse.” Roger grabs Eddie’s foot and wiggles it slightly. “He’ll be fine. C’mon, let’s go find Pete.”
Keith sighs wearily and follows Roger out of the ward.
Sector 3 Begins
Sector 3 sees Eddie fight with The Equalizer. Depending on whether the player has found the Cadence artefact or not, will depend on the final cutscene of the game. After defeating The Equalizer, the player can decide to return home or to continue playing. If the player decides to return home without the Cadence, they will get the bad ending. If they decide to complete 100% of the game and find the Cadence, they will get the good ending.
A nurse stands over Eddie’s hospital bed. It’s dark and smells like disinfectant. He opens his eyes.
“Where am I?” His voice is weak, his mouth dry. Each syllable scrapes its way past his lips.
The nurse turns sharply as Eddie shifts around in his bed. “Doctor! Doctor! He’s awake!” Her voice cracks as she sprints out of the room. Her shouts fade down the corridor as Eddie stirs slowly. He manages to pull himself upright in bed. He shields his eyes from the fluorescent lamps which hang from the ceiling. Their harsh light pierces through the gaps between his fingers as blurry dreams sharpen into vivid reality.
“Hello? Did I make it back?” His voice is met with silence as it echoes through the empty room, cascading down the vacant corridor.
He shifts sideways and hangs his legs over the edge of the bed. His vision narrows and his head throbs wildly.
“Hello?!” Eddie screams into the darkness, but still no one answers.
He taps his toes on the floor, testing whether his legs can take the weight. His blanket falls to the ground as he struggles to his feet. Eddie’s emaciated frame wobbles slightly as his bony legs buckle under what little weight there is. His vision becomes clearer as he takes his first tepid steps towards the window. After steadying himself, he rests one hand on the windowsill and uses the other to pull the curtains apart.
Vibrant colour streams into the room. He raises his arm to shield himself from the onslaught, but the motion causes him to lose balance, sending him staggering backwards. After steadying himself once more, he peeks out from over his forearm. All colour drains from his face as what’s lying beyond the window comes into focus. A skyline of perfect architecture spirals out before him. Colossal neon structures split the clouds overhead as flying objects dart in-between the immaculate buildings. Devoid of life, but yet alive with energy; the city is horribly familiar to Eddie.
He takes a step back, unable to comprehend the unfathomable view which lies beyond him.
“No, it can’t be… how did this happen? How did they get here?” He yanks the curtain shut and sinks to the floor. He lies with his head bowed, motionless underneath the window. A familiar dread begins to overwhelm him as music begins playing from the corridor.
The same music that was playing the night he entered the Quantized Continuum.
A highway cop pulls up behind Eddie’s pickup. The midday sun gleams off his aviator glasses as he dismounts from his bike. He confidently approaches the truck and taps on the driver’s side window. Eddie wakes up, bolting upright in his seat. The cop makes a winding motion with his hand as Eddie squints upwards at him.
“Open the window,” the cop says, pointing to the handle inside.
Eddie comes to his senses and frantically winds down the window. The cop begins to speak, but Eddie interrupts.
“Did I make it back?! Am I home? What year is it?!” The manic look in Eddie’s eyes causes the cop to back away.
“Umm… nineteen… eighty four sir?” Worry fills the cop’s voice as he steps further away from the truck. “You can’t sleep here mister, please continue on your journey. Have a pleasant day now,” he motions down the road with his arm outstretched. “Be on your way.”
Eddie frowns at the cop. Both seem equally perplexed by the other. “Alright then.” Eddie says calmly. He turns the key in the ignition and slowly pulls away. “MidPoint Café,” Eddie whispers, “I remember now…”
He swings the door to the café open, the bell above the entrance causes The Putrid Youth to turn towards him.
The band are setting up their instruments. Pete looks away as Roger and Keith stop what they’re doing and grin at Eddie. “You finally made it then?” Roger says, holding Eddie’s guitar up to him.
“Yeah… I made it.” Eddie smiles broadly and grabs the guitar. “Guys… we have a lot work to do.”
Eddie removes something from his pocket, it glows with a vibrant energy. It’s shaped like a guitar pick. It’s the Cadence artefact from the Quantized Continuum! He holds it up to his friends.
Credits. The End.