While conceptualizing Whispering Willows, we had a core mechanic but we didn’t have a main character. Having interesting characters is one of the first steps to having an engaging, emergent story. With this in mind, we began considering what exactly we wanted in a main character. This was mid- 2012 when there was a lot of talk in the games industry regarding cookie-cutter characters that really only appealed to one audience: white males 18-35. We didn’t want to make another Alex Shepard for people to play as. With such an individual driving story, you really only have the choice of a heroic, stalwart epic, and that’s not what we wanted to go for, even from the start.
So, we went ahead and began crafting an atypical character for the games world. We chose to make Elena, a young girl of mixed race that was more of a reluctant hero, pushed into the situation she must face. Going even further with trying to make the story of Whispering Willows unique, we didn’t make Elena perfect – she has personal problems of her own that she’ll have to get past in order to save her father. Overall, we really wanted to make an experience unparalleled to those others we primarily see in games, and we believe Elena is the key to doing that.