I’ve always been fascinated with the concept of time loops and often wondered how they could create exciting gameplay. I would have never imagined that the result would be the story of a married couple, living in a small apartment, continually being attacked by a detective in a twelve minutes loop, all in real-time and from a top-down camera.
All these decisions were part of an iterative process of trying to find the most relevant design of the time loop mechanic from my point of view.
When I set out to build something, I have a significant amount of control in the creative process ( based on my skills, experience, and end goal), but there is an organic side to the development of an interactive experience that only shows itself when the work becomes more than a draft. And it becomes about listening to what this new ‘thing’ is trying to say.
In this case, it told me that Twelve Minutes is about your knowledge. For a long time, I believed that it was about the character you play and how he deals with the situation, but it’s not. It’s about you, and how you decide to interpret and deal with what you learn. At the end of each loop, you learn a bit more about the characters and the world, and that accumulated knowledge changes your behavior.
This shift in perspective will make you deal with the same situation with a different attitude. Not being told what to do and allowing you to choose what to do is what makes a difference and allows the experience to be unique for each player.