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Behind the Seas

An interactive visual novel about home and Immigration. Inspired by true life stories.

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Solo Project (except for coding)
Narrative Design, Game Design, Art, Unity Development


Giannis Koutsoukidis - Coding


Simon Jon Andreasen - Jakob Ion Wille


February - June 2020

Download the game from

Behind the Seas is a story about Reera's normal life in Iran, the incidents leading to her immigration and her life after immigration. Each immigration has it's own unique experience, within this personal game I wanted to share my experience of what living in Iran can be like and express the emotions related to leaving home.

This Game was made as my master thesis project for KADK's Visual Game and Media Design program.

Behind the Seas 2020 - Trailer
Music: Marjan Farsad, Khooneye Ma, 2014

Short Gameplay Video


Narrative design

Story was a one of the main pillars of this game. It was important for me that all the story was real, so all the events happening in the game are based on either my own memories or from my researches.

As a narrative designer, I tried to structure the story, keeping it consistent and compelling by choosing my memories, placing them in the right places, replacing some parts using research results, and developing the main character's internal journey.

The final structure of the story happens in 3 acts and 7 chapters. 


While I started the storytelling process by drawing storyboards, the final version of the story is a 54 page long manuscript. If you are interested in reading the script please let me know.


Game and Level Design

As a game designer, I wanted to get the player to understand my unfamiliar storyworld's (Iran) rules and also experience the emotions related to the consequences of events and actions. 

For former I designed  completely direct  gameplays, picturing scenes of a normal daily life, the similar and different behaviors and explaining the rules either with limitations in how to normally perform an act or resulting in something you normally expect. 


My challenge there was to give the player agency, whilst not giving them the choices and options that they would naturally take.

Leaving lvl.gif
Frustration lvl.gif

For the latter which was mostly related to the scenes about immigration, I tried to use metaphors to express those emotions I wanted to communicate. To come up with good metaphors I took some references from Persian poems and Idioms and also wrote down my feelings in different artistic ways. 

The result was expressions such as "tacking home in your backpack",  "leaving a piece of you behind", "having a hole inside your heart" and "patching your memories where they are being missed" which were used to design gameplays.

Art & Development

The main focus of my thesis was on narrative design and game and level design but as the story was personal for me I wanted to do most of the development by myself. As a result, I chose a simple art line style that I was more comfortable with to be less time-consuming. Coloring depends on Reera's emotional situation and in most of the scenes is limited, for both aesthetic reasons and also to guide the player what to do. 

The game is made with unity. For the simple interaction such as the intro and dress-up scene, I used Fungus visual scripting tool and the complicated gameplays such as working scene were programmed by Giannis Koutsoukidis.

Behind the Seas is still under development. 

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