Design Story in a game

Discussion in 'Game Design, Development And Publishing' started by deem93, Nov 28, 2018.

  1. deem93

    deem93 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2017
    Posts:
    65
    Hello.
    I am working on a turn-based medieval/dark fantasy RPG.
    I've been mostly working on systems/assets until now, and recently I started to work on a story.
    Do you have any thoughts/advice/suggestions on constructing a story for a game?
    Thanks!
     
  2. wadaltmon

    wadaltmon Member

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2016
    Posts:
    40
    It's really going to depend on how thorough you want the story to be, what structure you want to take, etc.

    You say your game is an RPG. Is it a true RPG (Baldur's Gate, Fallout 2, Dragon Age, The Witcher), an ARPG (Diablo, Torchlight, Kult: Heretic Kingdoms), or an adventure game with stats systems (Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Assassin's Creed: Origins)? That will determine how people's advice might fare.

    In the meantime, research the structures of the 7 Basic Plots and the structure of "Hero's Journey". That should give you a rough idea.
     
    deem93 likes this.
  3. deem93

    deem93 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2017
    Posts:
    65
    I would say it's closer to an ARPG. What I'm aiming for is a simple set up that would frame the gameplay (exploring dungeons, fighting enemies, gathering loot).
     
  4. wadaltmon

    wadaltmon Member

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2016
    Posts:
    40
    I probably should have included JRPG in there, which uses turn-based combat (Final Fantasy 4, Pokemon, etc). Is your game similar to Final Fantasy Tactics or Divinity Original Sin at all (combat-wise)?

    If story isn't going to be a central point of the game (and it is simply there to facilitate the main gameplay loop), then I basically suggest a few things in general:

    1. Use accepted tropes. This may sound like a bad thing to do, but there are a lot of things you don't need to explain. You don't need to go off on a tangent about why people use swords and why guns haven't been invented yet. You don't need to explain the origin of magic or alchemy. People will accept that those things exist as long as you don't change the basic rules of them (as in, you don't make it so magic is fundamentally changed unless you absolutely explain that) and as long as they are well integrated into the world. Which brings me to...

    2. Characters. You're likely going to be controlling or dealing with multiple characters. Therefore, these characters have to be suitably unique. This is why character-driven narrative is so important: even if you have the best plotline in the world, no one will care if they do not care about the characters participating in it. That's not to say a game with basically no story can't survive, but if you choose to have a story (especially one that at any point is told outside of the control of the player or outside of the main gameplay loop, a la cutscenes) then you have to follow through and you have to make a reason for people to care.The characters have to feel like they've lived a life: their appearance, move set, class, and even their prose will have to be done in such a way that it seems like they've lived in your world and found their way in it. Their motivations must be clear and, while not necessarily relatable, they need to be understandable and justifiable. Also, their personalities must be clear, but not too overblown. You have to make each character unique; in dialogue, they'll need to provide a unique perspective, but not to the point of being a walking cliche, being token, or having a single experience or trait define them. Even if it will never be said explicitly in game, it is good practice to keep a "bible" of character backgrounds somewhere in your own possession to refer to for consistency's sake. If the motivation of your character is just to "explore and gain loot and fight enemies", so be it. Just make sure that's clear, so people know what they're getting into.

    3. Motivation. The player is not going to want to just wander around for no reason in a vast game such as yours (at least, I'm assuming). They'll want some driving force. Does the player have to get powerful enough to beat a certain enemy? Do you have to gather enough military strength and companions to face down a brutal army? Do you have to stop a political assassination before it takes place, but you don't know who is going to perpetrate it? Is your whole game about the discovery of your own past, or of the true motivations of the character(s)? Is the entire premise of the game just that you are an adventurer who wants fame, glory, and loot? All of those are viable, and can be done in any magnitude as long as it's apparent that that is the point: if you have a story in the game, you have to follow through. Even games like Quake II where the whole appeal is just to run around and shoot things still kept up a main plotline to facilitate the continuation of the game. This doesn't mean that you need a time limit, or an inherent fail state outside of what you've already established, but you need something to drive the player to want to continue playing to some end. The game world existing and their ability to move around in it does not warrant their play. "Because it's there" is not a viable reason to explore a game world.

    I'm not a pro at any of this stuff, so take all this with a grain of salt. But that's what I could think of off the top of my head.
     
    o_minus and HeWhoShallNotBeNamed like this.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice