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The Realities of Narrative
It is easy to come up with one idea. It is much more difficult to come up with multiple ideas.
January 18, 2024
3 Min Read
Our game is called Conquering Ciros. On a surface level it is a bullet-hell fantasy game where you play the Lich once called Nilvor and you collect crystals and battle enemies with them eventually making it to the boss. On a deeper level, it is a story about a prince whose kingdom is destroyed along with everyone he ever loved. He is turned into this ravenous beast that transforms him not only physically but also mentally. Nilvor becomes an anti-hero with the sole purpose of avenging his family. The player collects little snippets of Nilvor's life as they play through the game and in the end, they are given a full picture of who Nilvor was, who he is, and who he will become.
As a narrative designer, it is my job to create a story from start to finish based on the elements of a game. When I first joined this game the mechanics, the protagonist, and some ideas were there but the part that was missing was an intriguing plot that created the blueprint of a well-thought-out story.
It is easy to come up with one idea. It is much more difficult to come up with multiple ideas. When it comes to games such as Hades it has predisposed lore to aid it. It heavily relies on Greek mythology to drive its story. Our game, similar to Hades, will have information about the items that the player will eventually either pick up or come across and will be placed inside the journal. Our game unlike the previously mentioned is not based on anything so I am left to create most of everything I write from scratch.
Knowing the limits
There is a hard line of knowing when something is too much or too little. It has been observed that many players tend to skip over portions of the game where they need to read. But for the individuals who do enjoy the storytelling of a game, there needs to be a balance between necessary narrative and filler narrative. There have been moments when tasks were asked of me that seemed like a waste of time. I believe I should have focused on something else rather than the other. Some things can just be said in a few sentences. If something is dwelled upon too much it can do more harm than good. Not every item or idea needs to have multiple paragraphs or multiple pages attached to it.
I feel as though not many people know about what goes into narrative design, and that leaves more room for it to be taken advantage of. Trust me, the work is there. Hours of thought go into how to make the story better, how to appease as many people as possible, what can be done differently, why something does not work, etc. Much of the narrative work I have done has been cut and while it is not a good feeling it can be a necessary evil. As this is a two-year capstone project we as a group only have so much time to fit in everything that we would like. Parts of my narrative will not make it into the game if other departments cannot collaborate efficiently.
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