Would you be able to learn a language if the world’s future depended on it?
Babel’s Quest is a Graphic Adventure to learn ANY language while you play the hero and save the world. If you love classics like Monkey Island or Broken Sword and also want to learn a new language, this is your game! All contents are adapted to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages so you will be able to prepare official exams playing Babel’s Quest and having FUN!
COMPANY: On Serious Games
INTENDED GAME SYSTEMS: Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Browser
TARGET AGE: 22 to 35 (Young Professionals)
INTENDED ESRB/PEGI: E10/+12
III National Elevator Pitch Competition – Finalist Project
Project Selected by SMARTLAB
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LAZARUS 2. Business Accelerator Program
Project Selected by Caja Rural Castilla-La Mancha
Story & Gameplay
“Hi, Jeremy Babel. Your brother, the bright and handsome scientist David Babel has disappeared. And he is not the only one. The fact that he was close to uncovering the evil plans to control the world’s energy of his company The Windmills CORP seems to have something to do with it. Now, the Resistance has recruited you and it is your turn to play the hero. Too easy? Well, you will have to infiltrate the company’s system, a virtual world, to find out everything about The Windmills’ plans and your brother’s whereabouts. Oh! And there is another slight detail… to allow you access to the virtual world the system has been hacked and only the Mandarin version of the world is available. The Resistance will help you but…will you be able to learn Chinese as you go, now that your brother’s and the world’s future are at stake?”
Babel’s Quest mixes classic Point & Click Graphic Adventure technics, with puzzles, mini-games and quests. Through a compelling story full of mystery, adventure and humour, Chinese words will be presented to the player just as other riddles and puzzles to be solved. The interaction with NPC characters will force the player to use, in real conversations, everything they learn. Through constant practice and repetition of puzzle models, the player will learn the basics of the Chinese language and, hopefully, will save the world!
Once Jeremy enters The Windmills’ virtual reality, he will need to blend in. Disguised as a maintenance guy, he will have to handle his daily tasks and other employees errands with his vital investigation.
The gameplay is divided into two parts: plot and farming
- Plot: The plot is the linear story of Jeremy and his investigation, similar to a classic Graphic Adventure. The plot adds new language knowledge and advance in the story of the Babel brothers and The Windmills. Advance in the plot means to unlock new areas of The Windmills and new puzzles and missions.
- Farming: The farming is a limitless part of the Gameplay that allow players to review their knowledge whenever they want. Like farming games, players will need to repeat some tasks, in the form of mini-games and quests, to earn energy or necessary items to unlock new areas.
To reach the HSK1 level, students are required to study at least 36 hours. Babel’s Quest distributes this time in 15 hours of plot plus 21 hours of farming.
Players will also need to pay attention to “Reputation”. NPCs players will report any suspicious activity. If Jeremy makes too many mistakes in his daily tasks, he could be reported and thus captured. Avoid errors in dialogues with NPCs and do not fail NPCs quests or you will have a problem. Of course, all of them will talk in Chinese so players will need to be clever and review content constantly! The difficulty will grow step by step so players’ level of language will always be taken into account to avoid frustration.
Jeremy Babel is an inexperienced substitute teacher. He is a substitute teacher because still hasn’t decided what he want to do with his life. He is the opposite of his older brother David, a brilliant, successful and handsome scientist that has always eclipsed quirky Jeremy. It is ironic that now the big brother is the one in trouble. Jeremy has a cheerful disposition, a love for game words, bad jokes and black humour plus an incorrigible clumsiness.
Inside the virtual reality world, Jeremy will use an assumed personality, disguised as a member of the maintenance staff. This means that he will be on-duty most of the time and he will need to answer calls to avoid being discovered.
Along the game, Jeremy will gain in courage, wit and self-confidence allowing him to access new parts of the game. At the same time, players will gain language skills to help Jeremy in his quest.
The Resistance – Babel’s Allies
Onega Jones is fearless, rude, beautiful and very short! Don’t mention that to her because she gets really menacing! As one of the resistance leaders, she can be an amazing help for Jeremy, well… if he avoids irritating her. She has also infiltrated in The Windmills reality world so she and Jeremy will meet periodically. Will they become more than allies?
Florence Allen this blonde beauty is David Babel’s sweetheart, or at least she thinks she is. The opposite of Onega, Florence is as feminine as a woman can be… or more! She is the one who recruits Jeremy and his contact in the outside world. She will be easier to reach than other allies, but also she knows less about what is really going on.
Crazyman is an Asian respectable doctor. Well, he would be if he hadn’t worn the same clothes for who knows how long. Something is not working right in this man’s head, but when it works, Jeremy couldn’t find a better ally.
The player will guide Jeremy through classic Graphic Adventure techniques: Point & Click/Tap plus Drag & Drop.
Babel’s Quest is inspired by science fiction stories and classic adventure games. Engaging environments full of mystery and adventure where anything could happen. Broken Sword or Monkey Island formats, mixed with the best of Professor Layton, Brain Training and Hidden Object Games. And all of these, mixed with the most practical educational trends to learn a language in an innovative way.
The world inside The Windmills virtual reality is a clean, bright and modern environment. Or that is what they want us to think. Here and there, hidden traces of a furious battle can be noticed when you look closely. Only weird and semi-insane characters have been left behind. What has happened to the workers here? And where could David be? Jeremy will have to find his way around this giant complex that includes malls, laboratories, libraries and anything you could imagine!
The player will have to uncover The Windmill’s mystery looking for clues around the virtual reality world. During the Plot phase, Jeremy will talk with other characters and search around to gather information. The characters will ask questions or order errands using the target language. Players will be able to understand characters instructions little by little. They will be able to guess answers and in case they are not correct they will receive hilarious responses from the characters. Only solving quests in the correct way will allow players to progress in the game. New puzzles, mini-games and missions will be unlocked, growing in language difficulty.
Information obtained will be passed by Jeremy to the resistance team. He also will receive tasks and clues from them or maybe he will find unexpected allies inside The Windmills.
During the Farming Phase, players will have to review everything learnt in order to be able to pass the next plot phase’s challenges. There are three ways to review knowledge: repeating puzzles and mini-games, accessing quests not related with the plot and reviewing the “Book of Babel” a diary that gathers everything Jeremy learns: from clues to words, special characters, information about characters, etc. Players can access The Book of Babel whenever they want to, except during mini-games, puzzles and exams.
The Game is structured in levels. To complete each level, Jeremy will face a special quest, exam or final boss that will review the player’s knowledge before allowing him to access to deeper levels inside The Windmills.
All characters inside The Windmills are potential enemies. Jeremy has to avoid suspicion and act as part of the maintenance staff. This means he will need to attend characters errands and tasks as best as possible. Constant failure in these quests could bring an investigation and thus put Jeremy and The Resistance in real danger. All characters inside The Windmills speak the target language so Jeremy will need to do his best trying to make them happy. Any unhappy character could alert security!! Enemies can be pacified taken care of their quests. The longer you advance in the game, the more difficult the characters will become, so stay alert!
Usual so-called language learning games are based in remembering flash cards. The best ones are strongly gamified. All of them have problems with user retention. Lack of motivation makes students drop in less than a month. Babel’s Quest presents two different approaches: it is not based in flash-cards repetition but in a constant practice of both concepts and grammatical structures, applying them to real conversations and situations. The second difference is grammar. Usually, games avoid completely grammar because it is difficult to explain. Babel’s Quest doesn’t explain grammar, it forces players to understand and apply it just as a kid or a person living in the target language country would do.
Puzzles and Mini-Games
Puzzles and Mini-Games are little challenges that will proof player’s knowledge or help him learn new words or concepts. They are based in traditional games, logic problems or brain training tests, adapted to language learning.
They will help players to apply and practice in real conversation everything they learn. As quests are taken from characters that only speak the target language, the player will need to increase rapidly not only his language knowledge but also his adaptability and common sense!
With a Little Help of My Friends
Though the player is apparently alone in this learning process, the system is designed to avoid frustration. Players will be assisted by other resistance members in case they are stuck for a long time in a quest. Also, cheats and hints will be available. But, if you really want to save the world, you will need to do your best!