The Greatest Enemy is the One Inside Your Head…
You can’t fix stress – it is a constant force in our everyday lives that spans geographic borders and cultures. However, you can fix the unhealthy, knee-‐jerk responses many people have to stress and prepare people to face inevitable conflict. This is exactly what Nevermind intends to do.
In this vein, the player’s goal is not to remain in a constant state of calm, rather, it is to force himself to proceed into scenarios he knows will cause stress or fear, experience the natural reactions such scenarios prompt, and then quickly temper his response to return back to a state of calm. In other words, Nevermind rewards “true” bravery.
When the player becomes stressed or fearful, the game will increase in intensity and difficulty. When the player calms himself, the game returns to its default state. If the player is unable to calm himself, then the game becomes increasingly more difficult and intense until he is removed from the level (“the patient’s mind”) and is returned to the calming “hub” area of the game (“the clinic”). This will be paced as the experience progresses – with earlier levels leaving more opportunities to collect oneself when faced with moments of stress – and later levels demanding more active stress management “on the fly”.
One aspect of this system that needs to be emphasized is that it is not a self-‐help program that simply lectures to the player how to handle stress. Rather, it leads him to personally discover how to manage the stress in a way that is specific to them – and provides plenty of opportunities to practice, refine, and make a habit of employing these healthy coping strategies both in and out of the game.