Heart’s Medicine: New Blood
Heart’s Medicine: New Blood (2019) is an episodic interactive novel for Android.
It is a spin-off of the time management series Heart’s Medicine, starring Allison Heart.
For this new iteration, the idea was to change the genre of time management to visual novel, and the usual main character to a young aspiring doctor working under Allison’s orders.
It is part of a set of interactive novels entitled My Original Stories.
Like most visual novels, the game has a romantic layer on top of the usual light drama. In this case, the action is set in a hospital, so you can expect a Grey’s Anatomy type plot.
My work consisted of the complete narrative design of the ten episodes, from the conception of the plot to the development of the settings, the characters, and the various plot ramifications, as well as the monetisation system for the most impactful decisions.
I coordinated with the scriptwriter, Jedidjah Julia Noomen, and the GameHouse management team to agree on the plot (especially the ending, which should lead to a possible sequel). The scriptwriter was responsible for writing the final dialogue.
One of the biggest challenges was undoubtedly to document myself in order to come up with a medical case that was credible and that I could easily turn into a «puzzle». It had to be a little known disease, with a wide variety of symptoms, and one that would not offend the sensitivities of the players. Finally, after much research, I settled on Lyme disease.
The second major challenge is one that is no stranger to anyone who has done narrative design. It’s about nurturing a sense of freedom of choice while keeping the tree structure of the story under control. I was instructed that episodes should be about 10 minutes long and always end with a cliffhanger. In addition, the fifth episode was to contain a high-impact mid-season cliffhanger.
With these guidelines, I set out to develop a story that would contain medical and romantic elements, offering an average of 15 choices per episode. Of these, approximately 3-4 were to be premium choices, i.e. choices appealing enough to tempt the player to purchase diamonds, the infamous in-game currency. Whether I succeeded is beyond my knowledge.
And here is the final result: