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The Daughters of Time

The name of this game, The Daughters of Time, was decided pretty early on. It is inspired from the 1951 detective novel title The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey. In 1990 it was voted number one in The Top 100 Crime Novels of All Time list compiled by the British Crime Writers' Association. In 1995 it was voted number four in The Top 100 Mystery Novels of All Time list compiled by the Mystery Writers of America. On its publication Anthony Boucher called the book "one of the permanent classics in the detective field.... one of the best, not of the year, but of all time". I was surprised that although the book had been a critical claimed master piece, among all the female detective fiction writers, Josephine’s name is merely not as well known to the general public as Agatha Christie.

Book cover of Josephine Tey's The Daughter of Time
The book title was a refer to a quote from Francis Bacon: "Truth is the daughter of time, not of authority."

The story is about hospital bed bond Inspector Grant, during his recovery, he was intrigued by a portray painting of Richard III, and how this armchair detective discovered the truth behind one of the famous so-called murderous monster king in the British history.

What resonates me even more was that at the end of the story, when Carradine, Inspector Grant's assistant, realizes with dismay that they are not the first to expose the truth of history, and that he doesn't have a wealth of experience in writing about it like many veteran historians, Inspector Grant still encourages him to write down their findings because history needs to be constantly corrected, and the world will always need someone to use their voice to fight against authority’s words and interpretation.

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As an ordinary individual, I clearly don't have the ability to grasp the whole picture of our age. Even in this day and age, the very moment we are experiencing, where the truth is still constantly being misinterpreted and erased by those in power. But I do believe that if I can try my best to translate some of my true experiences into this game, this format might contribute some interesting examples of our current life to the future.


The story of The Daughters of Time is based on my cultural background and my hometown, Shanghai, one of the rapidly developing cities in China. All the game characters in that world have real references from people I've known.


An Alley way in Shanghai Photo by Minhao Shen
An Alley way in Shanghai Photo by Minhao Shen

Writing stories for different characters has helped me understand a bit more about why people make very different choice in life. The past of us has moulded each individual with an ideology that deeply rooted in our behaver, the dramatic changes in society have intensified people's persistence in personal beliefs. Just like the protagonist in the game, Fei, who returns to her hometown after many years of absence trying to help with the issue that the community faces, only find herself filled with more questions, awkwardly adapting, trying to communicate in her way, but constantly failing. These stories might be fictional, but these emotions are certainly real. I'd like to capture a glimpse of the current world as it is in the stories, before it vanishes or falls under any authority's censorship. It might be subjective, but at least it will be an honest record and reflection from my perspective. I hope the game could give the ordinary people, especially the women in my life a vivid representation, they're the daughters of times in a more literal way. Hopefully by the time the game is finished, I would understand a bit more about the time we live in.


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