Dear Insane Children,
As I’ve outlined previously… we have a dedicated Business Development person on the team now. He’s tasked with helping us take the Alice: Asylum pitch to a variety of investors and publishers. He’s asked that we also provide one or two more pitches for the discussions as this helps to increase the chances that something gets funded. It gives our team and studio a bit of depth. So we’re working on a couple of small pitch documents – starting with a few ideas based on The Wizard of Oz (book series by Baum).
Here’s an Oz pitch outline drafted by Alex based on a couple of brainstorming sessions. This is our “Jurassic Park meets Westworld meets Oz” variation. We’re working on a “Lost” variation as well.
Have a read and let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Working Title • Elevator Pitch / Synopsis
V2 – 20.08.20
Written by American McGee and Alex Crowley
Machine vs. Magic / With Man in the Middle. We can do this. But should you?
• In future, people can experience life either in person, or as VR avatars.
• Oz is found, then bought / owned by a global megacorp.
• Through a series of events, Oz is marketed and launched as a theme park.
• Magic of Oz, controlled through the machines of global megacorp.
• Magic cannot be controlled, causes destruction and death in theme park.
• Player is initiated by global megacorp to investigate the cause of destruction, but is reluctant due to past experience with Oz, or knowing the danger of what is involved.
• Girl who used to work at park > Forgets > But you have to help us! > Reluctant savior
• Player arrives in Oz, veil is quickly lifted, accompanying team is killed, mystery needs to be resolved. This is the hero’s journey.
• Who, what, where, why, when.
Global Megacorp (Emerald)
Emerald Employees (Who?)
Oz Characters / Wizard? – (Head of Emerald)
Tin Man? Lion? Scarecrow?
Patrons of Park?
Blood drenched mystery ruckus in the magical Theme Park of Oz, OzLand, owned and operated by evil global megacorp, Emerald.
Hidden Island “OzLand”, Themepark, Earth, Emerald HQ Complex / Beyond?
Why: Player will discover the cause of destruction, and prevent / cause more of it.
When: Future Based – Sci Fi / Tech mixed with Arcane Magic of Oz.
Alex’s second attempt at knitting pieces together.
Less chaff. Feeling like a better fit now.
Our World & The Land of Oz:
The story begins in the future, our Earth.
Social media and human interaction has progressed (devolved) to the point where the norm is for people to pilot humanoid robots / androids, like a VR experience, rather than visit places in person.
Human to human interaction still occurs, but it is of high society to protect oneself and live your best life within an android avatar.
Earth is blessed with advanced technology. On the surface, it is prosperous and autonomous, thanks largely to the monopolous influence of “Emerald”.
Emerald is a global conglomerate that controls health services, infrastructure, military technology, entertainment, social security, law enforcement, tourism and living arrangements. Basically your life.
In Emerald Corp we trust.
The magical Land of Oz is in our world, but cannot be reached with ordinary means.
The magical gateway to Oz is located off the Southern West Coast of the Americas, close to the equator.
It can only be accessed via a magical gateway, opened by freak tornadoes / hurricanes.
The Oz “rumour” is investigated by a team of scientists / researchers working for Emerald.
The gateway is opened by an artificial tornado, manipulated and controlled by Emerald technology. A mysterious Emerald scouting team passes through the Gateway to Oz.
The team explores the world of Oz, finding only ruins.
A beautiful mysterious graveyard, a world lost and destroyed by an unknown catalyst.
Returning after a triumphant expedition, Emerald announces to the world it’s groundbreaking discovery. A lost world of magic, wonder and a fresh new place to explore for the world.
Claiming the land of Oz as Emerald property, (trademarked and secured) the company announces opening Oz to the world!
Witness the glory and beauty of a lost civilisation. See it from the safety of your own Android. Come and explore the wonderful world of Oz. A never before seen NEW location on Earth.
For a price.
OzLand Open for Business:
The OzLand theme park is hastily constructed to maximize on the “buzz” generated by the discovery. Emerald constructs a sprawling theme park overlay, strewn amongst the ruins and existing structures of Oz.
It is a beautiful harmony of cutting edge technology and immaculately crafted customer experiences, all dotted amongst the infinite Oz oddities, dormant and lost to time.
The Emerald owned and operated theme park, restaurants and accommodation facilities are monolithic in size. They are gleaming towers of pristine construction, littering the horizon. The park is tied into the lore we automatically associate with Oz.
(Yellow brick roads, witches, colourful cities, magic, adventure).
A fun, elaborate, well crafted park, suited for all ages, there’s something for everyone!
The park is built over and carved into the ruins. Modern technology and architecture bleeds in and out of ancient and organic citadels, castles and mysterious structures.
The park itself is populated of a mix of real-life performers and android / piloted patrons, all carefully curated and scripted to enhance a customer’s experience in the Land of Oz.
Photo opportunities cost extra.
As the park opens to thunderous applause and a rampage of customers, something else stirs from below the carefully constructed Oz Theme Park facade. Something secret, something sinister.
Emerald has always known there is more to Oz than meets the eye.
Their initial scouting team consisted of representatives from Military, Health and Infrastructure. Why the haste to capitalize on the Oz discovery?
The faint signals of unknown energy sources were also discovered.
Magic. A new and possibly limitless energy supply.
Content to pass on the tourism duties, theme park operation and monetary generation to Emerald’s relevant division, the construction of the theme park also houses gigantic, underground secret Military spec research divisions.
These hidden laboratories and expedition crews have been created with the sole intent of unlocking and exploiting the secrets of the newly discovered Oz magic.
Emerald’s tourism and lifestyle division is an unknowing front.
They are purposely occupied with generating money and allowing the public to explore the selected areas of Oz on the surface. They assume all is safe. They are wrong.
Patrons and most Emerald Theme Park Employees are oblivious to Emerald’s underground research efforts.
The secretive research attempts to manipulate, and control the dangerous magic of Oz, culminate in radical experiments, designed to control the Oz magic.
While small successes and advances are made, the core of Oz magic remains a mystery. Emerald fails time and time again, until one day, calamity.
A mysterious large scale explosion destroys the research centres, and decimates Oz, the Theme Park and a large portion of the Emerald research facilities.
Unstable magic rips across the land. Androids, human lives and Oz inhabitants are killed, or changed by the magic in droves.
Affected inhabitants exhibit changes in three distinct ways:
1. Unstable Psychosis / Telekinesis (Brains).
2. Untamed Bloodlust, Ferocity (Courage).
3. Insatiable Desire to consume specific flesh of humans and wildlife, namely (hearts).
Or a dangerous mix of the above.
The smouldering island remains, wrought with ruin, broken cities and death.
Oz Magic is out of control, and Emerald needs to clean up this mess before the whole world is made aware of it.
Stock prices could drop.
Enter <The Player> Dorothy 2.0?:
Dorothy (player) appears to be a blank slate.
Re-awakened, deep within the Emerald research facility, Dorothy is coerced to investigate the park, and sort this mess out. Her memory wiped, she is unsure of who she is, or what she is? Only that she must help Emerald.
Is she a hosted Android shell, piloted by the brain in a jar of the real “Dorothy”?
Is she someone who has prior experience with the park? An employee, a part of the park, stored away and protected for a mysterious reason.
Is she a defective Android shell from the Theme Park?
De-commissioned and awakened by the Oz Magic now surging through the park?
Or, is she someone with prior experience of being in the park, (a researcher, or tied closely to Emerald) and with her knowledge is coerced into getting to the bottom of it all. Despite her reluctance, through a series of events, D0rothy is deep in the thick of this mess.
She does not want to return. She does not want to be in Oz.
But does so, against her will to investigate on behalf of Emerald.
Once active in OzLand, her accompanying team is swiftly killed off, leaving her to unravel the mysteries of Oz on her own.
What is her connection to this world? Is she the catalyst? Is she the reason?
Is she subconsciously piloted by the original Dorothy? What caused all this bloodshed? Who’s to blame?
This is her journey.
Dorothy is no longer in Kansas anymore.
She is in hell.
That’s it for the online of that variation of the story.
A few things to keep in mind:
Of all the pitch meetings I’ve been in where we’ve sold an idea “on spec” there’s always the assumption that what’s pitched is probably only slightly similar to the thing that ultimately gets made. In other words, this is a first draft. It’ll give people a sense of the team’s style and creativity but it’s not a set-in-stone template for the game or story we’ll ultimately end up delivering. So… we don’t need to tear this apart too much. The main thing is that we have a decent foundation, a beginning-middle-end, and some great artwork.
Omri provided the rough sketch (main image, above) attached here. We’ll include some location, character, and “hero” images in the pitch document.
There’s room for a few little tweaks if you happen to throw out some interesting ideas in the Crowd Design.
Next up, we’ll look at the “Lost” variation of the story.
From Shanghai with Toto (Lulu),