It seems that I have achieved some kind of emotional connection, some of the time, between players and the characters presented to them in the game. This connection is derived from human desire to place meaning and to humanise everything. Peoples desire to place traits and behaviours in order to correctly categorise stimuli (visual or audio or touch), and put it in the appropriate mental schema.
So from this point I need to begin designing a game that is completely focused on enhancing that experience so that when the character in the game faces challenges, the player is emotionally moved by those challenges.
Mechanics of the game will needs to be easy to learn and simple to implement, ideally using as few buttons as possible. This is partially due to the fact that the amount of time it takes to programme complex mechanics is quite consuming, also because I am a modest programmer at best. Ideally I will outsource the code, but cannot be certain of that until I make some enquiries. Whilst this may initially seem like a limitation, it could work out to be of great benefit. Because it will keep me from over scoping the game, and will keep me entirely focused on using very bare bones stimuli to immerse players in the world, the story, and the characters. Which is the whole point of the project.
How can I use a basic 2D platformer to make a player care deeply about a character and take them on a journey together?
The most vital part is the player character. This character needs to be visually circular, as discussed in previous posts, because it will make them appear childlike and friendly. Ideally anthropomorphise the character in order to encourage people to humanise the character and place the characters perceived intention, meaning and thought onto the character. The character also needs to have a visible flaw that the narrative will force them to address, to be treated unjustly somehow, and be under duress from sources of conflict to promote tension and make players route for the character and want them to succeed. I also need to know how to put emotional cues and triggers in the game, and how those cues work to evoke an emotion.