Thank you so much for making a awesome fucking game! Its both intriguing, and it doesnt really hold your hand at all i know you want to make a system where it helps you move on from puzzles but the difficulty here was part of the fun. Im very curious what infleunced you on making it?
Influences! Well the game started life very differently. It took place entirely within the office and was a first person point and click. It was kinda cool but I felt very limited with what I could actually do with one room. Most of Chris' writing was in the game in some form at this point, but I felt the writing and gameplay felt totally divorced, neither influenced the other in any meaningful way and none of the progress you made felt very rewarding. So upon pretty much completing that game, I scrapped it!
So I spent some time looking at some other games for influence. I think the biggest influences for gameplay would be Resident Evil 1 and Super Metroid. I loved the feeling of slowly unraveling those games. It's not just a linear corridor of experiences, but this big knot that you have to pick at and unwrap piece by piece. I guess the classic Zelda dungeon design influenced me here too - namely the more open design you see in Link to the Past and Majora's Mask. (See the Game Maker's Toolkit series called Boss Keys for a great analysis of zelda dungeon design. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLc38fcMFcV_ul4D6OChdWhsNsYY3NA5B2 )
'Her Story' was also a big influence, in regards to the story. Again, in this game you piece together the plot slowly, it's not presented to you in a linear fashion but you have to find snippets yourself and start putting them together to form the bigger picture. Seriously, it's a great game. Understanding the story becomes the gameplay itself.
Turns out I could write quite a lot about the process of making this game. It's been a weird experience! Maybe I'll do a blog post about it or something someday.