LudoNarraCon is a digital pageant celebrating “bizarre and fascinating narrative video games,” and I Did Not Purchase This Ticket is kind of probably the weirdest entry on this yr’s showcase. The visible novel follows Candelaria, an expert mourner whose commute takes a peculiar flip when she finds herself in possession of a bus ticket she doesn’t recall buying. On the following journey, she meets disturbing folks, has disagreeable conversations, and reckons with the trauma she’s been attempting her greatest to repress — all in-between attending funerals for strangers, performing out the a part of the bereaved. The story is temporary, weird, and adorned with surreal illustrations that would appear equally at house in a contemporary artwork exhibit and in a very vivid nightmare.

Tiago Rech, the sport’s writer, is the primary to confess that I Did Not Purchase This Ticket isn’t prone to have an excessive amount of mainstream attraction. “It’s a brief sport in a distinct segment style, so it’s not precisely probably the most business factor on the market,” he wrote. “I believe there’s an viewers that’s good for the sport, individuals who have the same style to mine — individuals who like quick tales, creepiness, and bizarre tales however dislike bounce scares.”

Rech additionally serves as lead storyteller for Time Galleon Visible Novels, I Did Not Purchase This Ticket’s writer. In a way, the unapologetic singularity that distinguishes I Did Not Purchase This Ticket is embedded in Time Galleon’s philosophy — as an organization, it rejects “market-driven design” in favor of cultivating “uncooked, single-author initiatives” by award-winning writers. Consequently, whereas the writer’s catalogue appears a bit eccentric general, the artistic minds behind every title have the expertise and expertise to again up their unconventional concepts. In different phrases: Sure, these video games are bizarre, however they’re bizarre carried out nicely.

I Did Not Buy This Ticket preview interview Tiago Rech Time Galleon visual novel game professional mourner psychological horror

Within the case of I Did Not Purchase This Ticket, the idea was shaped across the character of Candelaria and her distinctive profession. “I examine carpideiras, as they’re referred to as in Portuguese, a while in the past, I can’t bear in mind the place. It caught with me. Such an uncommon act, to cry for somebody you by no means met,” wrote Rech. “As I used to be eager about what sort of quick story I may inform within the sport, I remembered them. I actually like this form of uncommon occasion, and it struck me as one thing you’ll hardly ever see in a online game.” These moments within the lives of curious characters, he continued, “are precisely the themes and parts I like to discover and infrequently get an opportunity to.”

As an alternative of meticulously outlining the varied routes I Did Not Purchase This Ticket would possibly incorporate, Rech and Lírio Ninotchka, the sport’s illustrator, most well-liked to let the narrative take form organically over time. “I knew how the sport would begin and the way the ‘last’ ending would end up, however every little thing else was a clean I labored on as I investigated what every scene can be,” Rech wrote. “The story additionally advanced as Lírio despatched artwork in. For instance, I had envisioned [Candelaria’s] totally different faces in a very totally different approach, however Lírio drew them in a approach that allowed me to discover much more of the character and even provide you with new, fascinating interactions. So, that was a really cool trade between the textual content, sport design, and artwork, with each complementing the opposite.”

I Did Not Buy This Ticket preview interview Tiago Rech Time Galleon visual novel game professional mourner psychological horror

For many individuals, I Did Not Purchase This Ticket will quantity to precisely what it appears like on the floor stage — a darkly amusing novelty you possibly can breeze by in an hour or so earlier than returning to your common rotation of AAA titles — and there’s nothing flawed with that. However, Time Galleon hopes {that a} subset of gamers will take pleasure in a “a lot deeper, extra private expertise” from the sport, and as somebody who hasn’t stopped reminiscing on Candelaria’s unusual journey since my first playthrough, I place myself firmly on this class.

Whereas reflecting on the choices I chosen on Candelaria’s behalf, I used to be compelled to acknowledge some uncomfortable facets of my very own psyche — for instance, a bent to keep away from optimistic change if any quantity of ache or hardship is required to realize the specified consequence. How open Candelaria chooses to be along with her purchasers, how she decompresses after tense conditions, and even one thing so simple as choosing the place to sit down on the bus all have the potential to supply a glimpse into the thoughts of a participant who’s performing on intuition (making choices they themselves would make), and a few of what I discovered from my time with the sport has but to depart my ideas.

I Did Not Buy This Ticket preview interview Tiago Rech Time Galleon visual novel game professional mourner psychological horror

Nevertheless, quite than intending for Candelaria to be a clean slate onto which a participant can undertaking themselves, Rech designed her as a totally realized character whom folks would possibly relate to in quite a lot of methods. “I wrote the sport aiming to make all interactions be very according to who Candelaria is (or what she may be) and along with her backstory,” he wrote. “I believe how this resonates with folks relies upon lots on every particular person. In a approach, I imagine folks take various things away from the sport precisely as a result of the primary character turned out constant sufficient that they will examine her experiences with their very own.”

Along with being chosen for the LudoNarraCon Showcase, I Did Not Purchase This Ticket was featured within the 2023 Latin American Video games Showcase. The sport is at the moment accessible on PC and Steam Deck and can finally be launched on Xbox One, Xbox Collection X | S, iOS, and Android.