The Price of Happiness || PS5 Video Game Concept

DESCRIPTION:

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Concept Brief
“Money Can’t Buy Happiness” is an adage that some people live by and others ignore. The saying means that true happiness comes from within, not from possessions that can be bought. People like to create value in their lives through material possessions. They use it to quantify their worth in the world. However, this way of thinking is an exhaustive cycle – one must burn out eventually under the stress of maintaining their image. The Price of Happiness is a PS5 third-person Adventure/Puzzle game directed towards young adults & teens with the intention of exploring the opposing sides of this argument.
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Context
In late January 1900, the Arleccine Dam burst, flooding Ville de Lumière (The City of Light). Many in the city lost their lives during the accident, earning the city the name “Ville des Noyés”, or “City of the Drowned”. Since that time, the city has been rebuilt; overcoming challenges of the new terrain. Living costs are at an all time high, asset holders are more draconian, and the city is in a stalemate with debt. Because of this, many individuals have turned to gambling and petty theft to make ends meet. The game orients around the main character, Marc-Antoine, who resides in the upper class. The story follows his downfall into the clutches of the Nautique Mafia, where he is robbed of his every possession. The goal of Marc’s character is to then retrieve these stolen goods without drawing the attention of his assailants within the city. In light of all this, the secondary character, Ocèane, (not playable) resides in the lower class society. She experiences life through a filter of positivity; of the belief that her relationships are what make her life matter, rather than possessions. Ocèane’s character can take on the form of a water spirit to assist Marc-Antoine in his escape from Ville des Noyés. This character will also have the ability to highlight alternative paths and place focus on positive experiences and relationships which occur during their search.
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JUSTIFICATION & IDEATION
The premise of the game ‘Price of Happiness’ is to explore the perception of wealth and its connection to one’s fulfilment. For those who experience impoverished living conditions, it is easy to correlate finances to a person’s worth, happiness and overall independence. It is a long disputed argument however, that money is the ultimate source of happiness.

I want the game to broach this argument by providing players with two characters who represent the bilateral opinions on the topic. These characters see the world through differing ideological lenses. One has “lost everything” he percieved as valuable, resulting in a mindset which seeks only to restore his reputation and money. The other, never owned anything of “percieved value” to begin with, and has hence learned to appreciate the connections she has in life rather than material possessions. In terms of thematics, this game will simulate the stress of sinking into debt. Debt has become an increasingly apparent issue in the wider
world post Covid-19. The New Zealand economy is still trying to get back on its feet both morale-wise and financially, and it is taking a toll on all Kiwis. Everything has become increasingly unaffordable, and life’s necessities have gradually felt more exclusive. This is a depressive notion that I have discussed extensively with friends and family who reside in differing social classes. In response to the world’s rapidly increasing debt, this game will explore the positive ways in which emotions tied to debt can be managed to benefit mental health.
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Category: Graphic

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