Just West of Autumn Boulevard (WIP)

Just west of Autumn Boulevard stands an ordinary high rise block.

It’s stood there for 30 years, doing nothing of any particular interest. Most people wouldn‘t be able to pick it out of a lineup, no matter how often they‘ve passed it by.

You‘re no different from them. When you move in, however, your opinion changes quickly once your new neighbours approach you with a list of rules. Rules to stay safe.

Find out why riding the elevator after sundown is forbidden, flee down stairwells whose length doesn‘t match any floor‘s height and get to know the people living on the 50th floor of your new 45 story home.

Maybe you can uncover the mysteries surrounding the building just west of Autumn Boulevard. And its residents.

Hi, every one!
I‘m finally putting out my first choice script project (and first writing project in a few years) and I‘m super excited to share it with you guys.

Just West of Autumn Boulevard is a horror/mystery WIP that explores not ancient horrors, waiting in recently unearthed and long-forgotten tombs, but modern ones. The kind that hides in an empty alley on your way home, stares at you through a dark subway window at night or makes you feel alone and forgotten as thousands of people walk mere feet away from you.

I want to take a look at just why you can‘t avoid your reflection‘s eyes while riding the elevator alone. The reason you find yourself sprinting up empty stairwells at night.
And, of course, at how well you can know the people sharing your roof once there‘s a hundred of them.

The current demo includes the prologue as well as chapter 1. It clocks in at about 23k words (excluding code) with an average playthrough length of probably less than that.

Play the demo here.

If you’ve got anonymous feedback or want to see a bit more writing reports as I work on the game, I’ve set up a tumblr here.

Characters currently in the demo (I will reveal more characters as we move along; romantic options are highlighted; all ROs are available to all MCs):
  • Ben (he/him): Your brother and oldest child of your family. He‘s big in every way, strong and warm. He likes to act tough and cries at cat videos when he thinks no one‘s looking.

  • Lea (she/her): Your sister and middle child of your family. She‘s tiny and sharp, like a knife. She likes to make fun of Ben but it‘s clear she loves her family very much.

  • Rae (she/her, 24) : A tall, muscular woman with tawny skin and dark red hair, Rae‘s one of your new neighbours. She‘s almost always smiling and if she‘s not, chances are she‘s laughing her warm and booming laugh. Rae‘s confident and acts completely at ease in her home. Which is weird, since she‘s only been living there for a few months longer than you. Yet unlike you, she doesn‘t seem bothered by any of the building‘s… quirks.

  • Elli (gender choosable, 25) : Elli‘s your across-the-hall neighbour. Pale, lean and tall, they feel ill at ease in most conversations and usually withdraw quickly. Yet it doesn‘t take long for you to notice that no one seems to know nearly as much about the building as them.

  • Alex (he/him, 28) : Alex is confident, charismatic and always in control. He‘s the head of the neighbourhood association that approaches you as soon as you move into the building. And it quickly becomes apparent that its members know exactly as much as Alex wants them to.

FAQ
  • What’s Elli’s canon gender?
    Elli does not have a canon gender - the player is free to choose! This character was originally two siblings: a nonbinary one and their brother. Once I noticed these characters were too similar personality-wise to justify keeping them both, I opted to make a single, gender-choosable one instead. There will still be canon nonbinary characters in the game.

  • Was this inspired by a nosleep story?
    No! I get where the question is coming from - I’m using a setup that’s very popular with authors of short horror stories, partially because this story came to be as a fusion of several shorts I wanted to write. I am aware that what we have so far is fairly generic, but I hope I’ll get it to feel more unique as we go along.

  • Does the choice of who we meet in chapter 1 affect who we can romance?
    No, not at all! The choice is just who you meet first. You get a chance to make a good first impression here, but that’s about it. You can still romance any of the ROs you did not meet in chapter 1 and you’re not locked into a romance with who you did meet either.

CONTENT WARNING

Thus far there‘s no content in the game worth warning about in particular. I‘ll keep this warning updated as I add more to the story, but I feel it‘s appropriate to mention now that the WIP will contain general disturbing content as well as general horror elements.

Fair warning: I’m not a native speaker and have thus purposefully littered the game with grammar and spelling mistakes to bully those who are. If you’ve got the time, please point them out to me!

I‘m happy about all feedback, so please don‘t be shy if you‘ve got any!

240 Likes

Seems interesting so far. Will be following this WIP :+1:

6 Likes

Just finished the demo and I liked it, also thanks for writing a horror themed one, it’s a very underrepresented genre here, anyway i enjoyed the premise and what you have so far is very interesting, I’m 100% going to pick the options to be the dumb person asking “who’s there?”, i couldn’t resist not opening the door.
There where also some things that confused me as I’m don’t know if they’re meant to loop eternally or if it’s a mistake? But if I choose to read the rules the Chapter keeps repeating itself, anyway that’s all for now keep up the good work!

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That really describe city life, or well close to what I always felt when I lived in this big city (Montreal). Moved to the country, and while I still get the urge and miss it…its a move I don’t regret .

Anyway, back to your story. Oh man! The association is the real scary stuff!!

Haunted elevator ? Pfff…please, easy! Weird noise coming from your walls? Stairs going down forever? Nah .

Those association are eviiiiiiiiil lol now that is the scary part . Especially with Alex (And I picked that name for my MC…akwaaaaard lol)

The only thing that…I cringed a tiny bit at…was Rae being compared to the brother…I aint got the hot for him y’know ? lol

But pretty good so far, I love it and will keep my eyes on it. Good luck with writing! :blush:

6 Likes

I’m glad you like it! And please be the dumb person, dumb MCs get way more horror for their dime. At least for now.

Wow, that’s… really not supposed to happen :sweat_smile:
I added a quick fix for the moment, should be working now. I’ll try to figure out what went wrong later.

Thank you for liking it! I mostly compared her to Ben since both of them enter with a slap to your back, but I see now how it might read awkwardly. I’ll try to fix it as soon as I can.

7 Likes

Ho boy. I love this story. I guess is would be a bit too easy if you respect the rules. But what if some rules are fake?
Uh, to be honest this story reminds me of one I read on nosleep.
Anyway please continue with the good work. Its great!

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I like it a lot so far- there’s a good slow sense of something being not quite right in the building, but not so much that my character reads like an idiot for not having fled.

That said, I did feel like some of the opposed personality stats were odd. “Stubborn vs. Pragmatic” for example- they’re cast as opposites here, but those things don’t necessarily rule each other out. Likewise with “Polite vs. Direct” or “Optimistic vs. Realistic”.

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I’m glad you like it so far! And yeah, I’ll be redoing the stat names a bit. I wanted to go for something where neither option sounded “bad”, like a pessimist usually calling themself “realist” to avoid the negative connotation. The names aren’t perfect yet and I’ll try to figure out a better naming scheme.
Thanks for the feedback!

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For what it’s worth—speaking as a relentlessly pessimistic person, I’ve always found that practice extremely silly. Pessimism and realism are not any more mutually inclusive than optimism and realism are mutually exclusive. Logically, a realist should be somewhere in the middle…i.e. near the center of the opposed stat bar.

In general, my personal opinion is that unless one trait is blatantly and unambiguously worse than the other (e.g. brave vs. cowardly, principled vs. hypocritical, etc.) you don’t really need to worry about negative connotations and the like. I think a lot of people will be happy to play less conventionally nice or pleasant protagonists, negative connotation or no.

3 Likes

This game seems really promising! I already adore Lea and Ben and the dynamic with the MC and I’m not a native speaker either but damn I wish I could write like this! I’m definitely going to follow how this game turns out :smiley:

Also, I choose to greet Alex and when I do MC says first and last name, but later the game says “You only notice now that you never offered him your first name, despite his doing so.”
I don’t know if it’s a mistake or if it’s just me not understanding something (probably).
Anyway, great game!

4 Likes

Where to start? First of all, let me thank you for writing a horror-themed game. It’s both a genre I love and one that is, unfortunately, still quite rare.

I really like the MC’s relationship with the siblings. Family ties are very important to me, and I truly felt - in just this one chapter - that they were a united bunch. The dialogue and banter between the three was really well made. You showed how close we are to Ben and Lea, not just told us. I really hope they’ll appear again!

I also really enjoyed some of your descriptions and turns of phrase. This one in particular stuck:

“Before your mental eye, the building’s surroundings start to fade as it turns into a solitary, ashen colossus.”

The building feels distinct, almost as if it’s a character itself and, of course, creepy as hell. Seriously cannot wait to explore it!

I like how we can shape our main character. I really like that I can kinda play as a dumbass :smile: I’m not sure if there will be game overs in this game, but if there are, then I’m sure I’ll find them all.

I’ve only played once, so I’ve only met Alex so far and, uh. I really liked him. The hand holding :sneezing_face: I am weak already. I know we’re supposed to feel some suspicion - how does he know our name after all? - but by MC is too blinded by his charm right now to care.

Which brings me to probably my favorite part of the demo: The rules and the ending. The rules are absolutely well-written. With just enough hint, a slight scent, a brief wind of dark things ahead. The detail of the flowers is intriguing, as is, of course, the more glaring stuff.

Is the landlord even real? Who and what exactly is this committee? And, most importantly, when can I meet Alex again? All great mysteries I’m eager to solve.

The ending. Chills. Very well written. I’m going to replay and open that door, and I’m already dreading it.

Keep up the great work! :black_heart: And excuse my ramblings thoughts

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I’m smitten!! I love the atmosphere so far~ And overall I’m always a fan of “the horror MC keeps rationalizing weird stuff even though we know there’s weird stuff”. Can’t wait for the horrors you have planned!

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First of all:

I Loved it.

With that out of the way, if it isn’t too spoilery, is this the “I stumbled upon horror and now I’m in danger of a gruesome death or worse” or “I stumbled upon horror and now my sanity is slowly slipping through my fingers, oH gOd hOw dO i gEt oUt of hEre?!?!?!”
Can’t wait for more.

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:smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

Oooh, good question! I won’t go into too many details but I can say this:

I want MC to reach a feeling of utter helplessness at at least one point. And where’s the fun in that if they can’t understand the desperation of it all anymore?
That being said, I certainly don’t imagine MC’s mind as some impenetrable fortress, its gates kept perfectly sealed. And not everything in this building has the courtesy to knock.

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You have something great here. Im very curious about the 50th floor. Really love the idea of the game.

I just hope someone on the floor is a foodie and has some game rooms or bar because if the elevator is of no use at night going out does not sound very appealing, especially for higher floors, and I’m not very confident about the stairs either, even if they are slippery only when it rains… :neutral_face:

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Alex makes me go:
images.jpeg
I love the spook this wip gives me, can’t wait for more <3

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Great idea :+1: I hope we get to cuddle with ROs when we feel scared :heart_eyes:

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Is this inspired by a story from no sleep? :slight_smile:

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Loving how uneasy I’m feeling already! You’ve managed to find a great balance between “am I supposed to be scared” and “Bitch break your lease” so far. Still haven’t managed to force myself to open the door on playthrough number 4!

Also, Rae is :heart_eyes::ok_hand:

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This story is actually a bit of a mix of horror shorts I once planned on writing! I know there’s quite a lot of the “creepy building where you have to follow these rules so you don’t die” floating around, but I didn’t actively try to capture any of their tones.

I am borrowing from a lot of “generic” horror though - there’s something wrong with the elevator, floors that don’t exist, stairs that don’t work, doors you shouldn’t open if there’s a knock on them. A lot of these are based on fears I want to explore! And I hope I’ll have managed to put a unique spin to them by the time the story is done.

I also moved into a high rise block myself a few years ago (though far smaller than the one in my game) and I’ve realized how surprisingly creepy they are. And I still follow the first advice for horror authors I ever got: Write what you fear.

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