Finalist - Outstanding Achievement in Story: 2014 DICE Awards Finalist - Gamer's Voice Award: SXSW Gaming Expo The Novelist asks one central question: can you achieve your dreams without pushing away the people you love?
User reviews: Very Positive (321 reviews)
Release Date: Dec 10, 2013

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September 8

On Sale for $5.99!

Hey everyone, I just wanted to make a quick post letting you know that The Novelist is on sale for $5.99 over at the Humble Store. You can also pick it up directly at the game's website.

Each purchase comes with a Steam key, so it's a good way to support the game, support charity, and still add the game to your Steam library.

Spread the word!

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May 6

On Sale!

Hey, everyone, I wanted to quickly let you know the game is part of the Humble Spring Sale here.

I didn't know that the Humble Spring Sale was coming when I put the game on a Weeklong Deal here last month, and unfortunately there is a two-month waiting period for sales here on Steam. This means that I'm prevented from reflecting the same 50% discount here on Steam. :-/

That said, Humble sales do come with a Steam key, so you can buy it there and then activate your game on Steam via your Humble account.

Sorry for the confusion, but I hope you enjoy the deal!

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Reviews

“The Novelist affected me, deeply and painfully ... I frequently cried at the outcomes of the decisions I made for the Kaplan family.”
Rock Paper Shotgun

“While it arrives on the heels of other notable non-combat, story-based games, it still manages to feel fresh and emotionally resonant. This is thanks to sincere, realistic writing and an inspired approach to player choice, which has you picking sides and making difficult compromises in the context of family conflicts.”
Polygon

“The Novelist is the most personal and beautiful game I have ever experienced. The creator, Kent Hudson, has quite plainly poured his heart and soul into this game, and the outcome is genuinely something to behold. Never before have I felt so emotionally involved in the characters, their situation and potential future, as in this truly player-driven story.”
10 out of 10 – GameGrin

About This Game

Finalist - Outstanding Achievement in Story: 2014 DICE Awards
Finalist - Gamer's Voice Award: SXSW Gaming Expo

The Novelist asks one central question: can you achieve your dreams without pushing away the people you love? The game focuses on Dan Kaplan, a novelist struggling to write the most important book of his career while trying to be the best husband and father he can be. The Kaplans have come to a remote coastal home for the summer, unaware that they’re sharing the house with a mysterious ghostly presence: you.

Read the family’s thoughts. Explore their memories. Uncover their desires and intervene in their lives. But stay out of sight; you can’t help the Kaplans if they know there’s a ghost in the house. It’s up to you to decide how Dan’s career and family life will evolve, but choose carefully; there are no easy answers, and every choice has a cost.

Dan’s relationships – to his work, his wife, and his son – react and shift in response to your choices. With a different sequence of events in every playthrough, The Novelist gives life to a unique experience each time you play.

The decisions you make will define the Kaplans’ lives, but they may also tell you something about yourself.

System Requirements

PC
Mac
Linux
    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows XP SP2 or higher
    • Processor: 1.8 GHz
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: 256 MB VRAM video card
    • Hard Drive: 800 MB available space
    Recommended:
    • OS: Windows 7
    • Processor: 2 GHz
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: 512 MB VRAM video card
    Minimum:
    • OS: OS X Lion (10.7) or higher
    • Processor: 1.8 GHz
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: 256 MB VRAM video card
    • Hard Drive: 800 MB available space
    Recommended:
    • OS: OS X Mountain Lion (10.8)
    • Processor: 2 GHz
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: 512 MB VRAM video card
    Minimum:
    • Processor: 1.8 GHz
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: 256 MB VRAM video card
    • Hard Drive: 800 MB available space
    • Additional Notes: Built with Unity 4.3.4, tested in Ubuntu 12.04 and 13.10
    Recommended:
    • Processor: 2 GHz
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: 512 MB VRAM video card
Helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
0.3 hrs on record
Posted: October 7
This was really bad. I mean you basically watch this guys life as it very slowly tells a story. The story is mostly depressing and at some point they introduce a mechanic where you can zip between lights in the house.



Go watch netflix instead. You save money and are likely to be more entertained than playing this.
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
2.2 hrs on record
Posted: October 19
One of the best games I have ever played, worth every penny, it's beautiful. Sadly it got bad reviews compared to Gone Home because it's not about lesbians.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
3.0 hrs on record
Posted: October 8
I really wanted to like this game. But I just couldn't. The envrironment is as bland as it gets. The house feels lifeless and boring. The choice in this game is simplistc, and the outcomes are predictable. The stealth mechanic is in the way of what the game is supposed to be; but without it, it becomes even more repetitive and dull. The writing is not bad, which seems like a victory for a videogame, but it feels lacking in characterization. There are hints everywhere of interesting directions the game could have taken, but it manages to avoid all of them. The ending result is a bland, dull and completely unremarkable experience.

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1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
0.8 hrs on record
Posted: October 2
I made a man into an alcoholic who only pays attention to his wife. 7/10
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1.4 hrs on record
Posted: October 17
This game is alright...
I've played this game about twice and it's ok. It's definitally not the best but it's good. The one issue I have with the game though, is that no mater what choice you make, there will allways be someone unhappy in the family.
It's a good game for people who want a nice, slow, play, but other then the annimation and finding the clues, there's not much to the game.
It can be fun at times but it's more of a depressing then anything. Plus it's really hard to get the family happy.
I'd say it's alright but on a scale of 1(being lowest) to 10(being highest) I'd put it near 4. :/ But I'm still saying yes because I still havn't deleted it, so that's a good sign. :)
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2.7 hrs on record
Posted: October 14
Its a good game but its nothing more. The premice intruiged me as Im sure it did most people who bought the game but its repetitive, not challenging and the main problem, I didnt really feel like my choice mattered.

Voice acting is great, the story is interesting and the gameplay is nice. You do get attatched to the characters and wish to help them through the decisions you have to make but thats where the problem lies. It seems no matter what choice you make in the end, someone will be happy, someone will be ok and someone will be sad. I understand the theme that in running a family you cant please everybody but it left no objective to the game.

Throughout my playthrough I spooked one person and it was just through laziness and it didnt matter it just meant that the person I spooked would be the sad person that time round and id leave the other two reasonably happy.

I can see that if this game hit you at a really emotional level then it would be worth buying but i didnt have that experience. For around 5 euro I think the game is worth it.
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2.7 hrs on record
Posted: October 12
I enjoyed this game very much; it made me think about some of the choices that I've made in life and their consequences.
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1.7 hrs on record
Posted: October 4
Let me just start off by saying I got this game because at one point in my life, I had a strong passion for writing. I still hold writing to be important to me, but it will no longer be my career of choice. As such, after hearing numerous stories of how taxing writing a book can be for the average author, be it on their sanity, nerves, love life, or even the amount of time able to be allocated to quality family fun, I really hoped to both emulate that and hear another good story in this game. That, and the fact that it seemed like it'd play out simlar to Heavy Rain, or Fahrenheit (The Indigo Prophecy).

Now, the game itself spins a good story, but not nearly enough as I'd expect from a game all about writing, and titled "The Novelist". The story is too simple, and the choices you can make lack any real sense of worth to the other characters, or even yourself, if you choose to have Dan focus on his book. The choices you must decide on in this game can be easily compounded together to satisfy all parties, with good time management (which I guess Dan does not have). Gameplay is also very repeditive, stealth mode or not, and offers no creativity. The "compromises" are very disappointing, and seem to have even more of a negative imapct on the family than just choosing one solution to one person's desires.

The game also fails to lift any emotion from me, as the voice acting sounds forced, unemotional, and half-♥♥♥♥♥, to be frank. Many lines are very cheesy, melodramatic, and sound as if taken out of a cancelled soap opera. Many of the Visual Novels here on Steam have more tear-jerking moments than this entire game does, and that speaks volumes, considering the VNs on Steam are half-♥♥♥♥♥ themselves, short, and were made solely for a quick buck on Steam.
I digress.

This game does not meet or even come close to the potential satisfaction it could have delivered by such a unique concept in a game; therefore, I cannot reccomend it. For me, not only was it the potential wasted that made me not want to reccomend this game, it was the fact that none of the story even evoked the tiniest bit of empathy within me. It lacked heart, and emotion into the voices, and the dialogue itself.

4.75/10, Don't even consider spending more than $4.
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4.2 hrs on record
Posted: October 8
When I first started to play "The Novelist" I did not expect to develop a connection to the characters and their stories. The gameplay was very unique and I enjoyed being able to view each character's thoughts and memories while having to hide from them (although I started off in Story Mode, I decided Stealth Mode would be a lot more fun). While there technically are no "wrong" or "right" decisions, I couldn't help but find myself to choose the more, erm, "sound" ones. But either way, depending on what you do, the story changes and I really enjoyed that. The extra stories of the previous tennats were a nice addition. I found myself at the end of the timeline almost in tears and that is a good thing. I've only done one full playthrough, and the fact that there are so many different choices to make with so many different outcomes makes me glad to have purchased this game. I would definitely recommend it.
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7.1 hrs on record
Posted: October 26
It is true that there are some tragically underrated indie games that try to takle personal, emotional narratives. This is not one of those games.

The premise is actualy quite good: you are a ghost inhabiting a summer home where you stealthily uncover and influence one family's problems. I tend to be a big fan of similarly narrative-driven indie games like Gone Home and To The Moon. Unfortunately, this great idea is executed poorly at almost every opportunity. The art-style is bland and repetitive, the house is small and inadequately designed, the music is boring and ill-fitting, and the levels do not get more challanging or though-provoking as the game progresses. By the end of your two hour play-through you will have experienced an interesting but ultimately disappointing game.
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72 of 82 people (88%) found this review helpful
3.7 hrs on record
Posted: May 20
This game made me confront the fact that I was slowly destroying my relationship with my partner through neglect. That it was able to speak to me on such a human level is probably the greatest accolade I could give it.
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6 of 7 people (86%) found this review helpful
3.0 hrs on record
Posted: May 13
Excellent storytelling, excellent voice acting, although not much gameplay - essentially fetch quests with an interesting plot. Was FAR too short in my opinion - took me 2 hours. THis is forgivable in my case, only payed £2.50 with Humble Bundle, however my friend payed £9. He has not played yet, but he thinks 2 hours is not worth that pricetag. If you can get it for <£5, go for it :)
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4 of 4 people (100%) found this review helpful
2.3 hrs on record
Posted: September 16
A sort of "slice of life" simulator, where you play a nosy ghost with the ability to bend people to your will. Sort of.

Actually, it's like The Walking Dead, except your choices have actual impact. No, but really. It's also like Dear Esther or Gone Home, but with a little bit more actual gameplay (I highly recommend the "Stealth" difficulty level), and your decisions throughout impact the entire story and the Kaplans' relationships as well as the ending. You have to balance the father's career as a writer (side note: as a writer myself, Dan hit a little too close to home), the mother's stalled career as a painter, and their son's emotional turmoil--or you can fail miserably. Doom everyone to a life of misery, focus on one family member at the expense of the others, or flail around looking for a happy medium; the choice is yours.

I'd definitely recommend picking this up on sale--$15USD is unfortunately steep for such a short game--and then setting aside an uninterrupted 2-3 hours with a cup of tea or something to play it all the way through. It's well worth your time.
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5 of 6 people (83%) found this review helpful
2.3 hrs on record
Posted: June 28
I will say that I was initially intrigued by this game because of the gameplay, story and etheral feel exploring the setting. However, the novelty of The Novelist quickly wears off. It is, unfortunately, extremely repetitive. It does not encourage or reward exploration, it forces it. It forces you to search every square inch of the same 8 or so rooms over and over. Once you do, there is no catharsis. Every ending is happy and sad. I get that they tried to make it like life, but it makes you feel bad and it hammers home the fact that family is good, job is bad. There is potential here, but not executed well.
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
2.0 hrs on record
Posted: June 29
I was looking forward to this game, but i was disappointed.

The gameplay is very repetitive: Find clues, explore each of the three characters memory, read thoughts and then choose what to do. Repeat for the following chapters.
Towards the end i stopped reading everything and just wanted to finish it...

I can't recommend it, some of you probably love it but i just found it very boring.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
1.4 hrs on record
Posted: May 13
You play as some kind of ghost in the summer home of a family of three. In each chapter, you must make a decision: Who will you make happy? But this always means someone will be disappointed. Each choice will affect which ending you get.

Interesting but I found it sometimes bleak. The graphic style is simple but attractive, also like the music.

The game is quite short, which I think makes the default price tag way too high.

This isn't bad, I just think it could have been a lot better.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
5.5 hrs on record
Posted: June 22
So, where do I begin, I spent 7.50 on it cause it was on sale. I was kinda questioning about the game itself really, before I purchased it. It seemed like a game I would've liked to play. I honestly really enjoyed this game. I've read some of the other reviews, yes it was quite repeitive, yes it was quite simple. But I mean for a simple game with a nice story line, I'm the type of person who actually likes ot play games with decision. Although I wish the story went quite longer, I would hope to have a sequel to this game if anything. I really enjoy it. To make decisions based on what you feel like doing, cause in the end this game could be a life lesson, what if we really did blow off time with family to get our work done? It just shows the possibility of everything.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
3.6 hrs on record
Posted: May 6
The Novelist is a narrative adventure-ish game. You play as the ghost of a vacation house in the countryside. Your guests are a family of three: the novelist Dan Kaplan, his wife Linda and their son, Tommy.
The game is subdivided into twelve chapters, each of which is characterized by specific problems the family faces, such as a death in the family, a drinking problem, or scheduling visitors. For each chapter, Dan Kaplan has to make a decision. You as the ghost spend your time figuring out what the family members want and desire by wandering the house and the family's memories. You then have to influence Dan by telling him what he should do in his sleep.
The mechanics of the game are easily understood and executed. The difficulty of the game rather lies in making the decisions for the family, as you will see that they affect the rest of the characters' lives. As you can turn different ways in each chapter, the Novelist is a game that can be played over several times.
The game is an affectionately told contemplation about our life choices and what we sacrifice for our family, for love, for our dreams.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
1.0 hrs on record
Posted: May 13
Slow paced, with some hard choices.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
2.5 hrs on record
Posted: May 17
A good game for people who love stories.
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