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How word choice transformed the exploration-driven world of Beacon Pines

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Beacon Pines sees players shaping the story of Luka and his cute animal friends by changing the words of a magical storybook.

A single turn of phrase or word choice can bring a disturbing end to the kid’s journey, so carefully selecting the right word at the right time will be vital to ensuring everyone has fun staying out late and solving mysteries—and that they don’t all meet an unpleasant end.Games change direction all the time in development, but Beacon Pines took some particularly unique twists and turns on its way to the finish line.Game Developer spoke with Matt Meyer, Creative Director on Beacon Pines, to talk about the game’s unlikely musical origins, the challenges of designing a story that can shift based on the right word choice, and how an outside perspective helped clear up a major design challenge that came from the word choices. Beacon Pines changed shape a great deal over the course of development.

Can you tell us what happened and what made it shift?Meyer: It’s hard to believe given what Beacon Pines is now, but the original concept for the game was a rhythm-based RPG battler.

I even have an old playable prototype of the rhythm battler. The problem was that we never quite found a design that clicked.

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