This idea is about time travel, as some I’ve written before. But instead of you taking the role of the time traveler, you control a lot of characters, that may be the best friend of the supposed time traveler, the barista of the coffee lounge or even the bakery’s chief.
The story here is that you live each loop as a different character: you may spend one of them as the barista, getting to know people and their lives, and then be the homeless man, that’s convinced that the government is looking for him, writing down about every single “strange” person in town.
The Time Traveler is one of the few characters that are constant in every character, though their relationships may differ: he may have a playful banter with the barista, while just getting to know the bakery’s chief…
The game is based on conversations, and the unique interactions of each character. The barista, for example, talk with a lot of people, and she’s most fitted to discover small bits of information that other characters can’t have, while the homeless man see more people, being able to find strange behaviours in street.
As you don’t play as a single character, the Time Traveler is the one who ask things. He’s the bridge between them all, and you should help him: the homeless may found out someone strange, that the barista saw during the morning and the best friend may remember something you told before.
The only problem I have, in this first part of the design, is how to make the plot advance, without letting every single character in the secret, because the Time Traveler wouldn’t be talking about it lightly. Then, a solution would be to, instead of players taking different roles, but only one in a loop, is to let them control different characters, in small bits: so as the homeless you may see someone go by, then you work with the barista and, in the window, see that same people that the homeless saw going by. That’s an objective, to let the player, but not the character, create a theory behind who’s causing the loops, by not throwing an obvious character standing out, but maybe the most generic one being the guilty one.