I think I collaborated with my mom on my third-grade science project. We made one of those baking-soda volcanoes. But we haven’t worked together on much since, which is why the game One Way Trip is so interesting to me.
Christine and Michael Frauenhofer are a mother-son development team working on the crazy-looking One Way Trip. It’s a highly stylized adventure with a branching narrative set in a world where everyone has caught a disease that will kill them in a short amount of time. One Way Trip also features a combat system that the Frauenhofers said is similar to XCOM. It’s due out in 2015 for PlayStation 4 and Vita.
“She’s been making software and coding for 30 years,” Michael told GamesBeat about his mother. “She used to make educational games, and she wanted to transition into entertainment-focused games. I always loved that, but I had no idea how to make a game. I was about to graduate, and we decided our skill sets were a good match.”
The pair developed their first game, Demon Chic, for the PC before getting in contact with Sony’s indie-game team about making something for console. That led the Frauenhofers showing off One Way Trip at the PlayStation Experience fan event in Las Vegas.
I spent about 15 minutes with One Way Trip, and it’s difficult to put into words.
The part I played featured a conversation between characters told through a series of still images. The visual style is similar to the Adult Swim show Tom Goes to the Mayor, but the characters all look like twentysomethings who spend their weekends dropping acid and taking live-action role-playing games way too seriously. It’s colorful and hip, and a soundtrack with songs that are far too cool for the radio gives the story a thumping vibe.
It’s a style that the Frauenhofers settled on naturally.
“We both like each other’s stuff,” said Michael. “It would be awful if we didn’t. She does all the background paintings, and I do the characters, and when they go together it looks really nice.”
And while the game is interesting, it’s almost more impressive that a mother and her son can get along well enough to see through the creation of an original game. But Michael said that it is no trouble at all for him to work with his mom.
“I think it works really well,” he said. “You never want to fight with your mom, anyway — so now we have double the motivation. We never really get into fights.”