How Unexpected Life Events Inspired Road Not Taken on PS Vita/PS4

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How Unexpected Life Events Inspired Road Not Taken on PS Vita/PS4


There is a repeated theme in our upcoming game, Road Not Taken, which we announced here back in August. The characters in our little northern town have all lived their lives according to the same plan: first you go to school, then you get a job, then you fall in love and finally you start a family.

But life doesn’t always work out that way.

I grew up expecting to live a very traditional Norman Rockwell-style life. We had a little house on a lovely winding road in rural Maine. I did well in school; checked all the official checkboxes. Then upon entering the real world, things fell apart.

On the job front, I’ve been through multiple careers. My “safe” job at a large stable employer — the sort of job many people dream about — well, that was an incredibly bad fit for me. I’ve joined sketchy start-ups that failed. And some that succeeded. I’ve been fired for idly drawing pictures of planes inserted into bums. I’ve been hired at double the salary because (as I learned later) I wore the right type of hat to the interview.

I live in a tiny condo in a big city, not a house in the suburbs. There is no yard or golden retriever. A bit later in life than the movies would have had me believe, I did stumble upon an amazing love. Back on track!

Then we found out that we can’t have or adopt kids. It is complicated; all my various thoughts about this get tangled up with one another. I’ve now got a checkbox that will never be checked.

At this point, I feel pretty far off the golden path. And I’ve ended up with a lot of questions. Is it okay that I’m happy? Am I still a useful person? When I’m 87 years old with full blown dementia, who will sign my drooling shell into the retirement home?

Many of my friends are raising families. They are nesting in their perfect houses (with yards) and bonding over baby-induced sleep deprivation. Their conversations revolve almost exclusively around sleep schedules and potty training. It is like watching a whole different life veer away from me. I woke up one day and realised, “Hey, that really is not my future.”

A surprising number of people I know are in a similar place. Their current life is not quite the simple arc they imagined it would be as a kid. Real arcs buckle and twist. I hope we are all richer for it.

So, back to Road Not Taken. It’s a game that puts you in the shoes of a person who has fallen off the standard path. You live alone, outside the village, and every season a new storm arrives. The people of the village need you. There are tragedies and small delights. There are unexpected events and decisions.

You can try to live a perfect life.

Take care,


PS. I thought I’d take this opportunity to share a glimpse into Road Not Taken’s relationship system which is inspired, in part, by games like Harvest Moon (see image above.) As you play the game, you’ll meet and develop connections with a variety of people. Like everything else in Road Not Taken, this will involve making choices and living with the results, some of which will be predictable, and some of which won’t.

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5 Author Replies

  • Got surprised here by its atmospehere and music.
    Promising. :D

  • I understand exactly the situation you have gone through, as me and my wife are similarly watching our friends and family grow and start families, posting non-stop feeds on Facebook about their little angels or new bundles of joy, while we struggle, in our 30’s, to conceive our first child, and fear that we may never be able to.

    Onto a lighter subject, this game sounds FANTASTIC. Is it coming around launch of the PS4? I’ll be getting the Vita version if it’s not cross buy. But it looks wonderful. I can’t wait!

    • For me part of this game was embracing the fears and saying,”You know, this life isn’t so bad.”

      All the best,

  • Yeah, love the concept. That’s something I’m most pleased with about Sony and their platforms….their continuing effort to bring something new and different all the time. Looks like a gem of a game with a lot of promise.

  • Well TripleTown absorbed a small part of my life……So I can bet this will too!

  • I don’t usually post comments on these, but just the fact that you took the opportunity to put yourself out like that, I had to say something. I’m going through the same situations right now where things at home are great, but the things going on outside of the house could use some work. I have so many ideas that I know could turn into something big if I just focused on one thing. Thanks to having a great support system of a fiance, we are starting to do just that.

    I wish you the best of luck Daniel on this project. I can’t wait to check it out.

    P.S. Keep your head up Figboy. We may not be exactly where we expected we’d be at this point in our lives, but it’s never too late for things to change the way. Maybe the road not taken will get us there…

  • This looks …interesting. I wasnt expecting that. I’ll try it out

  • That was an interesting and engaging read. Thank you for sharing.

    As for the game, I’m really looking forward to playing this on my Vita. Love the style and direction. I’ve wanted this since I first saw the reveal during the summer.

  • Love the art design and music. If the gameplay is as keen, I’ll gladly support it.

  • Why can’t you adopt? I don’t understand that bit.

  • “idly drawing pictures of planes inserted into bums” lol, awesome. i found a new hobby

    • That was one sign of many that I wasn’t very good at being a nice corporate employee. :-) (Our company was trying to sign major deals with Boeing at the time…bad timing for that sketch to be hung in the halls.)

      take care,

  • Love the art :)

  • Really interested on the Vita version…any word if we will have a demo?

  • Very intriguing. Thanks for taking the extra effort to make it cross-play too!

  • Appreciate the kind words and I’m super happy folks are finding game interesting. I’ll be around later this afternoon to pop in and answer some questions!

    All the best,

  • My husband and I had a failed adoption (birthmom changed her mind), and are now attempting surrogacy. It’s been a long, winding road and I’m very interested to see how your experience translates into tone and mechanics.

    Will there be same-sex romantic relationships in the game?

    If could pre-order on PSN right now, I would.

  • Nice Danc.

    Thanks for sharing, and glad to see you have helped create a game that looks very intriguing.

    I remember completing the 99 levels (or was it 100??) of Lolo’s Adventure.

    Hopefully the story, is as good as it may seem.

    * I also hope this will be CrossBuy, and at a price that is reasonable.

    As for personal, I have a wife and four boys <—–(who mean the world to me) , but try watching them from a distance, and being kept from them due to the "priorities" of life, or "others will".

    Thanks and hope to put this in a library that may be able to be shared one day.

  • Thank you for putting yourself out there and sharing your story. Sometimes it’s hard to remember there are real people out there creating these incredible games and that they all have their own stories too. The music instantly took me to that cold place (or maybe it was just the thought of winter right around the corner). I look forward to playing this game on my PS Vita.

  • Huh. I play games for escapist fun and a hobby so reading your post made me kind of uncomfortable. But I appreciate your courage in sharing such personal information.

    Best wishes to you.

  • Now this concept is unique, this is what PS Vita needs more of original games. PS4 day 1 shipping I’m out

  • This game looks really neat!

  • Wow! Let me just say off the bat I will be buying your game. Period. Done Deal. It already looks like it is going to be a great game, but the transparency you give into your own troubles in life is just amazing. That takes a lot for a person to muster the courage to do. I am not buying it out of pity I do not pity you in anyway. I am buying it because of how impressed I am with how candid you are about deeply personal things. I love that you took trying situations in life and instead of falling into despair about it were actually able to utilize those experiences and harness them to create this experience. That instead of dwelling on it you turned the negative inside out and made a game about it! Truly amazing. When I was younger in life I always assumed different things about those who were successful, and I quickly learned how very wrong I was.

  • Every successful person I have ever met or read about has had one very important trait in common. They believe wholeheartedly, and with absolute certainty that it is the accidents, mistakes, and negative encounters that we have that are truly memorable and allow them to succeed. That prepare them for all life can possibly begin to throw at them. This game will be a success. I haven’t even played it yet, and I know it will. I will also be looking forward to your future endeavors. Congratulations in advance on this successful game you have created. Again Day 1 Buy from me. You are officially on my radar as a developer to look out for in the years to come :)

    George Spears

  • I was already interested in Road Not Taken, but after reading this my anticipation just went sky high. I love when developers/designers put a personal touch inside their games, making them not only awesome and fun, but also interesting and memorable experiences.

  • I love that we get to know more about the people behind their games.
    You know I am getting this as soon as it is made available, so good luck to you.
    I’ll be looking forward to Road Not Taken on my PS4 & PSVita.

  • Medal of Honor is a must for the PlayStation Vita…
    just like on the PSP it is given more of a chance as a Strong FPS then on the major consoles…

    and the last major concern for for now while the PS Vita is young, is to make as many as the PSP games backwards compatible to compete with the Nintendo 3DS / DS backwards compatibility.

    plus you also have to compete with the E-Shop.

    It amazes me that games like Metal Gear Solid Portable Ops & Final Fantasy Crisis Core , Some of Playstations greatest games on the PSP does not work on the PlayStation Vita. I’m confident that these are minor setback that will be definitely fix in the future updates of this system…

    >please comment reply

    reply if you agree

  • What kind of hat did you wear to that interview? I have to give that a try!

    Very well written article by the way, I’ll have to check out the game.

    • I wore a wool cap I picked up in Ireland. I wore it through the entire interview which in hindsight was a little rude. It turned out that they had no designers on their team, so they weren’t quite sure what they were looking for. But they all agreed that wearing an Irish cap throughout an interview seemed like a very designer-like thing so I was obviously the real deal.

      And that is why I’m currently in Seattle. Life turns on strange moments. :-)

      take care,

  • To Daniel Cook; I just wanted to say thanks for the kind words, and it definitely is encouraging and helpful advice! Me and my wife have an amazing relationship, and whatever may come, I believe we have the strength to weather it together.

    I’m really looking forward to this game!

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