“Into Inferno” is a short, experimental 2d game that conveys the narrative of a firefighter rushing into a burning building to save lives while facing imminent danger. This game leverages abstract visuals, audio, and lighting to create a visceral experience that explores both the tense atmosphere of catastrophes and the challenging questions they pose in the moment.
My inspiration for this project came from watching a documentary about the September 11 attacks called Inside the Twin Towers. It depicts in part the story of the firefighters who selflessly climbed up the burning twin towers to save people trapped in the fires. As the situation worsened, these emergency responders had to make an impossible decision: should they evacuate the towers and leave people to die, or should they keep going knowing the buildings could collapse at any time? Their experience formed the basis for my own game, and I abstracted and amplified certain aspects to tell this story in game format.
The game lasts about 15 minutes. You can see a full playthrough below, though the experience can be somewhat different each time and result in some emergent stories.
A key focus in crafting this game was focusing on what I've defined as "environmental tension." The state of the environment can reflect the current state of the narrative, and changes to the environment help establish it as a dynamic entity. In this game, the environment changes over the time frame to reflect the building as it nears collapse. Fires grow larger, smoke grows thicker, a radial light shrinks around the player, earthquakes become more frequent and intense, and the building even starts tilting. These details help deliver a palpable sense of tension, forcing the player to question how much farther to press on at risk to their own life.
You can view my complete design notes on the game here: