Delve into a world of magical realism full of strange stories, grotesque beings and weary machines.
Dujanah is a digital game for PC Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems. It is an interactive narrative with a focus on exploration set in a fictional Islamic majority country that has an occupying military force. The protagonist and player character is a woman called Dujanah who has grievances with the intervening forces. During the game the player will encounter various moral, psychological and political dilemmas.
Dujanah will employ a number of innovations that make the narrative unique and subversive. Stories in the game will have various randomised elements for players, encouraging conversation outside of the game. The story will also change depending on decisions made by the player allowing for different final outcomes. Dujanah allows for a non-linear narrative meaning that players will experience a story that is unique to them. The main motivation for the player at the start of the game is to find a resolution for the grievances experienced, considering the question: how does revenge manifest itself?
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Whilst seeking an answer to this, the player will visit various environments with a multitude of characters from an assortment of backgrounds, all with unique dialogues. This is where the greater part of the game takes place, finding the different stories and exploring the world of the game. Among the themes I hope to explore are: pluralism, motivations, ethics regarding intervention and libertarianism. An important aspect of the narrative is a certain quality of magical realism where fantasy elements are present in a real-world setting.
These include figures from Islamic eschatology, fictional machinery and humanoid creatures. The purpose of this is at once to symbolise certain inhuman characteristics and at the same time remove it slightly from reality. An aspect of magical realism is also present when the player’s role in the game is explicitly referred to and when non-fiction interviews and stories are presented alongside fictional ones.
The world of Dujanah is comprised of clay animation and hand-crafted objects combined with photo-collage and paintings all augmented with digital effects. Unlike many contemporary games which are depicted purely in computer generated images, I want to create something that is instantly familiar to any audience yet also original and visually distinct. Many of the scenes are inspired by Islamic art and architecture, in particular the adobe buildings and geometric patterns of Moroccan villages.
Sound is an important part of Dujanah and helps create the mood of the world. Most of the music is performed on acoustic instruments using harmonic and double harmonic scales which resemble Arabic modes.
The arrangements often include piano, assorted percussion, guitar and kalimba to create a percussive, “earthy” timbre. I intend to use a variety of recording techniques, from low-quality recordings to resemble a more vintage sound to recordings made with binaural microphones to create a more immediate and intimate effect. Other scenes will have spoken word elements, either real-world conversations or dramatic monologues. I hope to record conversations and interviews with different people who have interesting perspectives on the themes discussed in the game.