Lamplight City Narrative Commentary, Part 1: Introduction

Jess Haskins
2 min readDec 28, 2019

In this multi-part series, I’ll be sharing spoiler-free (or -lite) transcripts from my portion of the newly released Lamplight City developer commentary, which includes behind-the-scenes insights and anecdotes about the story writing and editing process.

And for those who have completed the game, or who just hate mystery and suspense, the rest will go up in an all-spoiler series once this one is complete.

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Hi! My name is Jess Haskins, and I’m a game designer, writer, and editor living in Brooklyn.

I do freelance writing and consulting work under the Paperback Studio banner, working mainly with small studios and indie clients. My specialties are worldbuilding and narrative design. I work in all kinds and genres of games, but my favorite are narrative games, and adventure games most of all.

Some of the biggest projects I’ve worked on are the multiplayer steampunk airship shooter Guns of Icarus Online, as writer, designer, and community head, and Hiveswap, a point-and-click adventure in the Homestuck universe, as writer, designer, and creative director.

For Lamplight City, I consulted on the story and worldbuilding in the design phase, and I also edited the final dialogue script for all the characters except the narrator.

In this commentary I’m going to be talking about worldbuilding, theme, character development, the editing process, and some of the changes the story went through after I started working on the script.


Part 1: Introduction
Part 2: Heightening the conflict
Part 3: The editing process
Part 4: Iterating Mrs. Hanbrook
Part 5: Gender-swapping
Part 6: The history of slavery in New Bretagne
Part 7: Punching bigots
Part 8: Anachronisms
Part 9: Subtext!
Part 10: The uses of steampunk
Part 11: Bohemian attitudes

Next: Heightening the conflict