Story Presentation & Toolset

Story Presentation

How will I deliver the story to the players?

In this game, the story is essential. Not only for the story itself but also because it is a metaphor and a representation of many problems of the society. The Rites are the base of the game, even the factions that aren’t marked as Rites, they still have the same behavior. So, the challenge is not only to tell the story but also to transmit the story between lines and the feelings involved. I want that the players enjoy an intense story that leaves them thinking even after finish the game.

Dialogs & Character Design

To deliver this complex story, the most important part is the characters and their dialogs. Not only what they will say, but also what they won’t say. The use of phrases like “think about it” or “you will figure out” and the use of innuendos and sarcasm, how they look at the player and other NPCs, and their behavior towards players will make the players see the characters as real persons who are talking to them. And this will make the players want to stop to think of what they just saw and listen. For me, a great example could be Far Cry 5 and how Joseph Seed is designed. It’s not only the amazing work of the actor but also is how the colors (the yellow of his glasses with the blue of his eyes, for example) and the lights and shadows deliver the character to the players. He is somebody that you want to listen. And that is essential to deliver the whole complex experience of the story.

Cinematics

Also, of course, the game needs to has cinematics that first will be focused on telling the story, simply so every player can understand what is happening and second, with some of the scenes, deliver the characters’ personality. For example, with the scenes of Jacob’s eyes at the begging and at the end of the game, players can see how severe and hard his personality is and, at the same time, feel the warmth of somebody that is protective, somebody that the players will want to be.

Dialog Scenes

Finally, the dialog scenes where the players will be able to choose their answer developing their own personality will help them to empathizes with the characters, the story, and the world, making the game theirs. I think that this is crucial when we want to tell a story that has a complex background.

I used as reference the game Until Dawn, where the answers and the actions that the players do build their personality tree.

Story Toolset

Which tools will do you use to make the story attractive to the players without breaking the rhythm of the gameplay?

Because I want an action game, I think that best here is to give the opportunity to the players that just want to enjoy the gameplay to do it without thinking about the story. To do this:

Skip VS. No Skip · Cinematics

If the players want to skip the cinematic, they can do it without consequences. They will only lose the story part, the missions and the maps will be unlocked even if they skip the previous cinematic.
They can see all the cinematics in their Diaries at any moment. So if even during the game they don’t want to watch it, they can do it afterward.
I designed this feature based on my own experience as a player. This game is meant to be played in coop. My best friend and I have completely opposite ways to play. I live more in the story, I enjoy each cinematic and scene, but he likes to play faster. So many times when we are playing, we are talking, or we just want to have fun, and that means that I can’t enjoy the cinematics completely.

Radios · Notes · Video Tapes · Advertisings

To round the story and deliver it without breaking any rhythm that players chose, we can use notes, videotapes, and voice messages (like in The Division 2) to tell a small part of the story.
The Diary with the radio and the advertisements are also a good way to deliver the story. When the players open their Diaries, they can listen to the last news if they want.

Dialog Scenes

These scenes must be concise, giving at the begging the important information to the players, like “go here and do this”. Then regarding the options that we will provide to the players and that will build their personality in the game, we should give a fast option, like a continue button or an ok button, something that allows them to skip the dialog scene if they don’t want to answer. They still can build their personality with the other decisions that will make, like kill or not the androids or the type of gameplay that they chose (if they go aggressive or stealth and if they go melee or sniper, for example).

Side Missions

The Side Missions will allow us to deliver more story to the players and make them visit the whole map. These missions give XP, skins, and weapons, which will encourage the player to play them.