Rhi­anna Pratch­ett has, for a spell, stepped away from triple-a videogame pro­duc­tion. Af­ter wrap­ping Rise Of The Tomb Raider, she has started lend­ing her tal­ent to film and TV – though that isn’t to say that she has left gam­ing be­hind en­tirely. In fact, Pratch­ett is cur­rently work­ing on an in­de­pen­dent pro­duc­tion en­ti­tled Lost Words. It looks to be a match made in heaven.

“Lost Words takes place in the jour­nal of a young girl. It’s partly about what’s go­ing on in her real world; she’s kind of cre­at­ing this fan­tasy world to help process what she’s go­ing through, and you ac­cess that fan­tasy world by ba­si­cally climb­ing through the pages of her jour­nal,” Pratch­ett tells us, who notes that the small team at Sketch­book Games has been work­ing with the Well­come Trust to en­sure that it gets the de­tails right. “That fan­tasy world is sort of shaped by the emo­tions that she’s go­ing through.”

It’s a game all about words. They form the ba­sis of the plat­forms that you need to nav­i­gate, they help solve puz­zles and they can even take form in the fan­tasy world around you. It’s a beau­ti­ful game, smart in its use of nar­ra­tive form and tra­di­tional game struc­ture – though that isn’t to say that de­vel­op­ment has nec­es­sar­ily been easy. “It’s been a lot harder than any of us imag­ined,” ad­mits Pratch­ett. “Be­cause nar­ra­tive is so twinned with game­play, try­ing to make the nar­ra­tive sound nat­u­ral and as if it has come from a jour­nal of a young woman, while also be­ing func­tional in terms of what’s needed for game­play, has been one of the big­gest chal­lenges.”

Lost Words has been qui­etly in de­vel­op­ment for a num­ber of years now and has an all-star team be­hind it. The re­sults are pretty star­tling and, while it doesn’t have a firm re­lease date just yet, we’ve been as­sured that it’s on the near hori­zon.

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