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Writing For The Hero With 1,000 Faces. Storytelling Challenges and Gears of War. On today’s menu. Storytelling in games Crafting the player experience. How? Not by accident, that’s for sure. Storytelling in games = group effort For many on team, uncharted waters

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Writing For The Hero With 1,000 Faces

  • Storytelling Challenges and Gears of War


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On today’s menu

  • Storytelling in games

  • Crafting the player experience


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  • How?

  • Not by accident, that’s for sure


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Group Effort

  • Gears

  • Bioshock

  • Blacksite

  • Always working with team




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Movie = His Story

  • Plot

  • Character development

  • Exposition

  • Conflict

  • Dialog

  • For one story: his



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  • Anger what goes

  • Fear

  • Frustration

  • Dominance

  • Satisfaction



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Story can do 1 of 2 things: what goes

  • Amplify gameplay

  • Or

  • Block gameplay



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Neurons Good gameplay

  • Mirrors player experience

  • Amplifies gameplay

  • Integrates story with game


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  • 1 gameplay 2 3


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backstage gameplay


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Cinematics gameplay


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Cinematics can: gameplay

  • Throw player out of game

  • Force story on player

  • Reveal too much


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It’s a pickle gameplay

  • You want to tell the story

  • But you don’t want to get in the way of gameplay

  • Help


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Backstage Good gameplay

  • Story runs parallel to gameplay

  • Story builds naturally

  • Story is portable, adjustable


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  • 1 2 gameplay 3


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throughline gameplay


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My big fat theory gameplay

  • No clear right or wrong with scripts

  • Uncharted waters for most devs

  • Fall back on approach that works



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  • Code is great gameplay

  • Without it, none of us would here today

  • BUT



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  • But what hopefully: that’s the goalis a throughline?


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It’s Friday night hopefully: that’s the goal



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  • But wait hope

  • Doesn’t this force a player to listen to dev’s story, instead of creating his own?

  • Not necessarily


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Throughline for games hope

  • Build throughline in the game itself

  • Have the player experience it and impact it through his actions (gameplay)

  • Use mirror neurons, backstage


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Throughlines Good hope

  • Simple, flexible

  • Gives you freedom to iterate game and script 100 + times

  • Keeps story in focus


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How to use these tools? hope

  • As a checklist

  • Taped over my desk

  • Every script revision & story meeting

  • Both conceptual & analytical tools


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  • 1 hopemirror neurons


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Good luck hope



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