People are randomly put together depending on what kind of game they sign up for - each game has multiple options such as how many players, time frame, how many teams to start, etc. and you can choose what game to join. Each island features it's own reason why the players are there - either by shipwreck, airplane crash, lost at sea, or by mystic ABC's "Lost" kind of reasoning.
Following joining a game you make a character to act as your avatar so no one knows who they are playing against until after they either win or kicked off the island.
Players kicked off prior to the halfway point are thrown in a volcano, while the remaining players are thrown in a volcano but their spirits come back to life at the final Island Champion Ceremony to decide a winner.
Game length depends on what kind of gametype you join. There are multiple options to set up your own game (as a host) or multiple games looking for players that are open to join (game que). Once a game has enough players though it will start.
There will be time periods in which you can play a minigame and time when you can cast a vote. If you are going to be super busy though you can opt to play them a day or two in advance,.. this is where it gets tricky. The social aspect of the game requires you talk and strategize with the other players so there is a necessity for paying attention to the game for the duration of the game if you want to do well or have an enjoyable experience with it.
Any and all ideas are still open though, Billy and I are still looking at our options for this so it works around people real life schedules too.
There will be an in-game private messaging system between people on your team only, and in between everyone left in the game past the halfway point. You can also invite multiple players into a discussion.
We had no initial plans for the "HII" or a game element similar to that making an appearance, but if the players want it we can certainly add it.
As far as twists go each island you play on has different twists / gameplay elements that differentiate them from the others. So prior to starting a game you kind of know what twists may or may not make an appearance. A few islands are left to have random twists as well, so you don't know what you are exactly in for. A lot of those options are going to be available for the host of the game to decide prior to the game start.