Below is the mail I sent to DON'T NOD sometime around May 2020
My name is Dmitry, and I’ll be straight with you: I want to get into GameDev and have no idea how I may even fit there with my skillset. But if you think this is a resume – it’s not. Confused? Good, I hope it’s confusing enough to hook you up to read further, since I have a proposition!
I hope that there are plans for Life Is Strange 3, perhaps, you are even working on it already. I might have an idea, that could be used in it. Or in LIS4, if LIS3 already has a story. How about expanding the game outside of US? For example, Russia and Europe? But let me gradually explain what I have in mind. And I do have ideas for both the plot and some gameplay features. They are "barebones" and need a lot of fleshing out, but still, should give a solid grasp of what I have in mind and am willing to turn into an actual game, should you give me a chance.
Please, find the below. And feel free to contact me if you are interested in them.
I have 2 stories, that could work as "Captain Spirit"-like prequels to the main game: The Well, although it would require some adjustments to the setting, and Father Dearest, which was partially inspired by LIS2. At this point I would strongly suggest reading both stories (they are in English) before continuing further, because that may spoil them to an extent.
We can have both boys as playable characters and make them meet at some point (maybe even make them have a relationship, depending on the player choices). But the main game should start several years after the events of both stories.
Boy from The Well (both have no names in the stories, so I’ll call them Will and Phil, respectively, just for the sake of conversation) has been moving slowly through the country to the west, to Europe. The city his friends dreamt off turned out to be almost abandoned, since federal government did not care about it (no natural resources to speak of) and local government just sucks off working folks. Younger generation is trying to move out of this city, obviously.
Disillusioned, Will tries to join the young ones who are planning to leave the city (despite their parents being against that, saying they are being abandoned). Through the talks with the people Will notices, that he "inspires" them. This is his "special power" or rather how it’s beginning. Inadvertently he convinces the young generation to stay in the city and improve it (includes a small revolt to overthrown local government, with which Will helps a bit).
From gameplay perspective this should be pretty straight forward at this point: if Will knows some information about people, he can use his power to "inspire" (just extra choices in dialogues). But it gets more interesting further on, when he leaves the city. On the road he gets into a situation, where, say, a guy pulls a gun on him. Will says "stop" to him (while begging for his life), the guy will freeze (and freak out with his words, but Will adds "shut up" as well). Turns out that Will is able not to "inspire", but "convince" or "suggest" with words. Will should get a final option to let the guy go ("inspire") or make him kill himself and this should conclude the 1st episode (or rather a prequel).
Prequel episode for Phil could just follow the Father Dearest story, but in an interactive way. There is no supernatural aspect here, way less dialogue compared to Will’s route, but more exploration and interactive objects. Some objects should trigger the flashbacks from the story, which also become interactive as if a game inside a game, perhaps even with its own UI (there is a reason for such gameplay feature, keep reading). Episode ends with Phil shooting his dad regardless with only choice being – where. In story he shoots in the stomach, giving dad chances to survive (could be used in the future). And, same as in story, Phil has a nervous breakdown.
1st episode of the actual game should start something like 5 years after prequels and with Phil’s story. I do not see much details here yet, but the fact, that he visits psychiatrists often, his dad is in prison (if he survived), he lives with Valentina. Since the breakdown he now has "empathy", which is a gameplay feature: in dialogue he may have an option to enter a small (relatively, maybe like a house) space of a person he talks with and interact with elements in that environment to get some pieces of information about that person. These "spaces" should be like representations of person psyche, so they can (and probably should) be a bit weird. After leaving them Phil should get extra options in dialogues to affect people and events.
I think 1st episode should be mostly about how Phil is depressed about this "power" since most people have darker thoughts that only amplify his depression (hence psychiatrists). So much, that in the end he decides to… Jump off a building? Not sure how this works (maybe something happens to Valentina?), but thing is, that on the same building sits Will eating a sandwich and he "convinces" Phil not to jump. He also convinces him that they need to leave, even though Moscow (probably) is brimming with resources. Episode should end with a choice of whether to leave right now or accumulate the said resources.
Either way, in episode 2 we should find themselves somewhere in Belarus (not sure if it should be Minsk, probably some city to the West), roughly 5 more years later. If they stayed behind in Moscow they should have learnt more stuff: Phil is now good with computer, Will now knows English, at least (important for further episodes). If they did not they should be facing issues with passing the customs to get into Poland – no proper skills to present, not knowing language (even English) and stuff like that.
Regardless, their job will be to somehow get over to Warsaw. From this episode further we are playing both boys (or young men at this point) similar to what we had in LIS2, but with ability to switch between them. We also learn of limitations of their powers, like they can’t always use them, because they exhaust them, headaches, nosebleeds. For Will when holding a shift-button (L1/R1 for example) you will always have 4 options (2 good and 2 bad) to force people into action. In some cases, there should be possibility to enter "empathy" stages with Phil, while being able to communicate with Will. I guess Will would be required to first "stop" the person, though. I see ability to "switch" freely between "empathy" and dialogue in this case, but it should be time-limited with people freaking out, when it ends (fails).
Another gameplay feature should be communication between 2 characters. Depending on who is asking whom, we should have different dialogue options, that could strengthen their bond or make it more brittle. There should be some limitation in terms of using their powers on each other. It should not "not work", but something should be different, at least, awareness of the powers.
2nd episode should end with them crossing the border and being chased by soldiers, where Will is faced with choice to kill or not. Choice should affect whether the boys will be together starting in episode 3 or not.
In episode 3, something like 2 years (at most) after previous one, we find them in Warsaw. I think that somewhere in episode 2 they should have decided to go to Prague, since it’s known for its "darker" or "occult" places (or common perception of it being like that, at least). No, depending on choice in episode 2, they either work together toward that goal or – not. But they should come to understanding, that they can’t go alone, that they’ve grown too dependent on each other (especially, if Will does not know English language due to the choice in 1st episode).
I think, if they are separate, Will should be in some local Russian community, missing Phil. If they are not separate, I think they would still be required doing the same stuff to get over border, but this time together (most of the time), and not separate. Either way, they should get to Prague (or close to it, at least) by the end of the episode. They should talk to someone about their powers, trying to find shelter. And, someone "bad" learns about that and abducts Phil, since he can learn information from people. When Will learns about that, he has a choice to search for Phil or go forward to Prague, after losing any trust in people. Phil is faced with the choice whether to help spy on someone (not sure who). If he disagrees – he is forced to. End episode 3.
Episode 4 starts in Prague with Will, probably less than a year since episode 3. Depending on previous choices, Will is either [again] realizes how much he depends on Phil or is even actually searching for him "convincing" people. Regardless, he sees Phil in a car driving by and that gives him clues to find him, which includes infiltration of a government (?) agency secret headquarters. Maybe even in a crypt, who knows?
From Phil side he should have several "empathy" episodes, where he is resisting a truth serum, which forces him to tell the truth about what he sees (if he declined in episode 3) or he simply works through those episodes with option to lie. I think, that depending on his choices when to lie (and how), there may be a revolt inside of the agency.
Either way, when Will finds Phil, he either gets him off medication (with withdrawal) or has a choice to "convince" Phil to leave (with his power). If he does not try using that power, Phil still agrees to go with him after some hesitation. They also get a choice of taking over the agency using their powers or not and the episode ends.
Episode 5 starts with us still in Prague (or at least in Czech). Boys’ lifestyle depends on whether they took over the agency (kind of wealthy and comfortable) or not (living on the move or in the motels). By this time, players’ choices and amount of interaction between the boys should affect their relationship (whether they are gay/bi/straight), but still be a choice of the player. Guess, during the boys chilling out at some early point in the episode.
Regardless, of that, they find information (or rumors) about how Daniel bent the wall back in LIS2 events, cyber stalk him and Sean for a bit, and decide to try their luck going to US. Having taken over the agency, they simply take off on the agency plane. If not – they need to find money and get on a public one (probably with a lot of "convincing").
Do not know now what should happen when they get to US, but at some point, the guys from agency should come after them, with intent to kill. I think here, depending on the choices before either of them can die, but if Phil dies and Will and Phil did became lovers, Will should go off the rails and episode should end with TV news seen by Daniel about the massacre Will created. In other cases – do not know yet.