A game for middle and high school students about how to pursue their passions as a career.

What is it?

FutureBound is a story-driven action-adventure game about developing passions, demonstrating self-advocacy, and building career ambitions. The player takes the role of a middle school student who is confronted by obstacles (i.e. monsters) that represent doubts and fears. Players can unlock passions and potential careers by talking to and befriending other students in-game, which help to overcome these monsters.

The game was developed in the Game Innovation Lab within USC's School of Cinematic Arts in collaboration with Microsoft Research. It is part of a larger suite of games, FutureBound Games, aimed at helping middle and high school students from low-income areas develop career interests, apply for college, and gain self-confidence in their own abilities.

What I Did

Role: Designer

  • Game and Level Design
  • UX and UI Design
  • Game and Usability Testing
  • Storytelling

The team consisted of a large number of graduate students in the Game Innovation Lab, and was overseen by professor Tracy Fullerton. I worked on the project as part of a larger participation in the Game Innovation Lab during my time at USC.

More Project Details


The game was launched on iOS, facebook, and computer in 2011, though it is no longer available in the former two patforms.

An exe can be downloaded here.

Tools Used
  • Unity 3D
  • Adobe Suite
Design And Implementation

FutureBound is divided into three main phases of the game, which are represented by the 3 grades of junior high school. In 7th grade, the story is centered around switching into a higher-level math class, so the students will be college ready by 12th grade. In 8th, the story revolves around helping other students with their passions and hobbies as one assists a friend to achieve the school's annual spirit award. And in 9th grade, the gameplay focuses on the self: by showing the difficulties of changing relationships with peers and demonstrating expertise gained through pursuing one's own passions.

FutureBound is designed to allow the player to experiment with a range of future life goals, setting and sticking to plans, and overcoming obstacles. This experimentation, without the burdens of real-world restraints, allows for kids to test identities and passions they might apply in their own future. It becomes a safe space for mistakes.

Character creation and customization screen.
Just-in-time tutorialization: teaching about passions as the character walks from the bus to school.
Wandering through the hallway at school.
Practicing some passions!
A list of potential powers.
Stats the player could invest in (and thus, be better or worse at certain passions).