Jennifer Allaway is an MFA candidate of Game Design at the NYU Game Center. She's a freelance narrative and game designer who works on experimental board games, point and click adventure games, experiential mobile games, and much much more.
After my excellent performance on Endless Summer Book 3 and The Heist: Monaco, I was promoted to creative lead for my next project – a delightful romantic comedy about navigating the world of high end matchmaking!
This led to a huge explosion in terms of skill set. I was in charge of managing our asset budget and new art requests. I had junior writers collaborating with me and working under me on the project, as well as senior writers and executive leadership to report to with regular milestones for critique and feedback.
I led countless writer’s room with my team, from delivering loglines for the exec team to choose from down to every chapter. I edited and guided my collaborator’s work to match the vision I had for the project.
I consulted with the team in charge of monetization to ensure we had enough premium content baked into the story from the beginning. When the data revealed a new trend, we adjusted our premiums mid-production cycle so that we could monetize with peak conditions.
Ultimately, I served as the lead on a project over 18 months. Despite several setbacks (including the global pandemic), we produced a book that became a best seller in Choice’s VIP slate of content.
The Heist: Monaco is a crime adventure title in the Choices: Stories you play visual novel library, and the first book I worked on at Pixelberry where I was included from the very inception of the product. As a result, I was a part of large scale writer’s rooms where we took the premise of a heist book and brainstormed a larger outline with 16 chapters. My voice was integral in the creation of a diverse and well loved cast, including Choices’ first hijabi character, Samira.
Additionally, we came up with an innovative system for Choices where over the course of the story you assembled a “crew”. So there were two different characters you could recruit for your team hacker, two different characters you could recruit for your team driver, and so on. Once a character was selected to be in your crew, it would drastically change the rest of the story.
We knew we wanted to have at least one moment each chapter where crew members had some banter, to flesh out the crew dynamics and really make the crew you hand picked feel unique and special.
Without being asked to, I designed the entire branching system that would allow us to have moments with crew members each chapter without turning the whole situation into a branching nightmare.
In addition to the duties I was already given as a writer on Endless Summer Book 3, I also learned more lead duties to assist my book lead, took on more writing responsibilities, and began to help out writers on other books when they needed someone to come in and write a scene for them to keep them on schedule.
Endless Summer is an action-adventure title in the Choices: Stories you play visual novel library. I was hired into the company right as production was ramping up on the third and final installment of the series. I had to learn and replicate 20 different character voices within the first two weeks of the job. I participated in regular story breaking rooms, even leading my own when I was in charge of the chapters.
On top of fast tone-matching and working in writer’s rooms, I wrote chapters that were high quality and never missed deadlines. I worked with my lead to make sure every chapter I sent in had less notes than the last one. I frequently collaborated with producers, artists, and QA to ensure the quality of the story.
My work was impressive enough that by the time my first five months on the project were concluded, my manager rewarded me with a substantial raise because of the quality of my work.
“The Episode app is a mobile storytelling network and platform. Episode features interactive Hollywood-caliber stories built from the ground up for mobile, not the passive entertainment of TV and movies. In Episode, your choices decide the path of your story.”
During a brief contract with Pocket Gems, I was given the first few chapters of a fan-made book they were working on monetizing. I greatly edited the voices in the chapters, added in and wrote additional premium content, and worked closely with the full time team from in the studio to ensure quality.
“1931: Your scientific expedition discovers a new and intriguing mountain range in the middle of the Antarctic polar circle. Under these challenging conditions, the survival of your team will depend on your ability to communicate with each other and to coordinate your efforts to overcome each obstacle — but what you discover on the way to the highest peak will strongly test your mental health. Will you even be able to understand yourself despite the madness that gradually insinuates itself into your mind?”
Based on the novel by H. P. Lovecraft, Mountains of Madness is a fully cooperative game with a pinch of real-time gameplay.
I was part of a development team who playtested early iterations of the game rigorously. Together we played builds as they were sent to us, timed our play sessions, and took copious notes on the play experience. Additionally, we came up with potential solutions to problems and playtested them rigorously with rapid prototyping.
“One year ago, a demon possessed you; forcing you to tear a trail of bloodshed through New York City. Your salvation finally comes in the form of the Unavowed – an ancient society dedicated to stopping evil.
You are free, but your world is in tatters. You have no home, no friends, and are wanted by the police. Your old life is gone, but perhaps you can start a new one. Join the ranks of the Unavowed, and fight against the oncoming darkness…”
Unavowed is Wadjet Eye Games’ next point-and-click adventure extravaganza, packed to the gills with exciting puzzles, memorable characters, and a twisting plot.
After being extremely impressed with the quality of my work on Shardlight, Wadjet Eye’s CEO invited me back to work on Unavowed. This time, I got to outline an entire level of the game. I provided extensive narrative documentation and outlines of the direction I was taking things. I wrote lots of dialog and interactions with characters in the level. Much of the original concepts, background art and banter provided ended up in the final game.
Unavowed was later nominated for a 2019 IGF in Narrative Excellence.
A lost ROM named Turing breaks into the apartment of a struggling journalist to ask for help. They claim to be the first sapient machine—not a simulation of life but a genuinely self-aware artificial being—and the technical genius who created them has gone missing. Can you unravel the shocking conspiracy that threatens to rock an entire society? Or will the darkness that lies behind the bright neon lights of Neo-SF consume you?
I was the lead writer on the re-make of the existing game Read Only Memories. This meant taking all 8 hours of the game’s text (which is a lot, in a game as text heavy as a visual novel) and rewriting all of it to prepare the game for voice acting. I worked on very tight schedules, sometimes only receiving a character’s script to edit only a few days before the voice actor was going to be in the booth with the material. I also wrote completely new content for the re-release, including the ability to romance a half lion hybrid man. This content was praised in the Kotaku article “Video Game Makes Banging a Half Lion Leather Daddy Surprisingly Normal”.
2064 is out now on PC, Mac, Linux, Steam, and PS4.
Overdose was made during Global Game Jam 2016, where it was nominated for Best Design and Best Audio in Brooklyn, NY’s jam location and is an official Indiecade 2016 selection. Players are chronically ill patients who must take many pills a day to function.
The story follows a woman at a high demand job in new york whose body rapidly breaks down on her. Players navigate the hellscape of taking countless pills a day, trying to appear ‘fine’ to the people around you, and battling the worst villain of all – the american healthcare system.
The theme, narrative, and mechanics were inspired by both my experience with chronic illness, and my mother’s 9 year battle with Lyme Disease.
The world ended on the day the bombs fell. Since then, it’s always been like this: disease, hunger, death. The ruling Aristocrats — a faceless oligarchy that controls all resources — have unchallenged authority. There’s never enough food, water, or vaccine to go around. The rich receive regular doses of vaccinations in exchange for their unconditional government support. The poor live in fear, superstition, and squalor until they die.
Amy Wellard, a young woman reluctantly working for the government to qualify for the vaccine lottery, believes there’s a cure — and she’s going to find it. Even if it costs her her life.
I joined the Shardlight narrative team primarily as an editor. I played through the entire’s game narrative, created lengthy documentation detailing the changes I planned to make to various character’s voices, how to rewrite certain plot beats, etc. I worked with the lead on the game to perform character building exercises so that everyone from minor shopkeeps to the main characters felt fully realized and distinct in the writing.
In addition to rewriting and editing previously existing content, I contributed original writing in places where the story had not yet been fleshed out. I wrote the description text for every single object in all the rooms in the game, along with their accompanied voiced line attached to the interact action. Lastly, I wrote an original song for the music’s score and collaborated closely with the musician.
As you meander through the Crosses, you begin to realize how much of a misnomer “The Hill of Crosses” is in reality.
While the majority are crosses by a mile, Judaic Stars of David, Muslim Crescents, Wiccan Stars, Buddhist Wheels, and other symbols you don’t recognize begin to pop out of the sea of white rectangles.
The Hill is a text adventure developed during the IGDA Writing SIG’s game jam focusing on games with extensive stories to tell. Developed with Rachél Bazelais, the game focuses on a lesbian EOD specialist in the height of the the Iraq war, and her partner’s grief at her loss. I wrote the entire story, while Rachél programmed and implemented images. The Hill can be played for free here.