When Starfall first entered development, it was envisioned as a two-parter and it had the subtitle "Light the Path".
As you still do, you (Renee Dawntide) begin the game in your hometown of Port Faria. You have life-long friends and acquaintances, and alongside your childhood friend Sarah Stormhawke, have just graduated to become fully-fledged members of the Protectors Guild.
What follows are your adventures with Sarah as members of the guild. As the seemingly individual escapades and trials the both of you go through unfold, the greater narrative sifts through the seams. After a while, after certain events and revelations transpire, it culminates with the need for you and your party of eight having to leave on a journey northwards.
The original idea was for the game to end there, but I soon realised how unsatisfactory such an "ending" would be. So, at a great expense, I decided to merge the two together and rework many of "Light the Path's" aspects to avoid any jarring dissonance and it actually worked out for the better. And no, not because the game suddenly doubled in length and became two games for the price of one!
A lot of games, with their tragedy-fuelled narrative, ask you to sympathise with their characters, what with their trials, ordeals and what-not. With Starfall, I aimed for a different approach. What if I could not only get the players to sympathise with the characters but also EMPATHISE with them, too?
To most heroes, leaving home turns out to be no big deal. Speaking from experience, it's not easy. So, if certain characters miss home, how would I get the player to do the same? That is where the immense benefit of Starfall's two halves really come in!
For half the game, you're free to enjoy and engage with an open-world full of delightful inhabitants. You're free to follow the story or roam about as you please, doing whatever you may. It's lovely, really.
But then, all of a sudden, there is a calling you must answer to. You must leave on a grand journey where it seems as if it would take an entire lifetime before you were to return. Unlike other RPGs where there is a false sense of urgency, where you are told to go do something of grand importance but are still allowed the liberties of fast travelling wherever you may and engaging in an innumerous amount of side quests, you CANNOT do so in Starfall.
When you leave, you leave. You do have a choice in when to leave, but once you have left, it is a commitment you cannot reverse. And as the narrative builds and the character burdens begin to burrow and weigh, you might find yourself longing for those carefree days you spent sipping tea at the Brewed Awakening...