Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
Not all games are high drama, but even in a comedy game, say, much of
the humour can be derived from the expectation gap by providing unexpected
comedy moments. These can come from two characters completely at odds
with one another because of a misunderstanding or because each has their
own agenda and has no interest in what the other has to say.
Whether it is high drama, comedy or a mixture, making the expectation
gap work can only be done when a writer knows the characters well.
The sidekick
A sidekick is a character in the game who the player character can rely on to
help out during the game.This could be someone back at base that the player
can call up on the radio and ask for assistance or a game-controlled character
who battles beside the player character and follows them around the game
world, taking a lead from the actions of the player.
Sidekicks are usually aligned closely to the player character because of
this need to offer supportive gameplay, but this means that care has to be
taken that the character does not simply become a clone of the player
character. It could be that there are few opportunities for the two characters
to interact with one another in any significant manner, but when they do
there should be some tension or drama that fires up those scenes in a
dynamic way.
Sidekick characters should always have their own, reasonably detailed back
story. Even if only a fraction of this comes through during the game, you
know it is there to draw on to create vibrant scenes. Back stories, along with
good character profiles, are an important part of defining all the significant
characters in the game.
There may be restrictions in what you write in the scenes between the
player character and the sidekick, brought about by the needs of the game-
play roles of the two characters. It is going to be difficult to write scenes
where the two of them fall out if they then have to rely on each other when
battling the invading aliens during the next gameplay level.
In some games, sidekick characters are only available for some of the
game to offer variety, or a series of sidekicks may come and go for the same
reason. In these cases, the gameplay value overrides the story value and
when a series of sidekicks are used they may be relatively superficial.These
characters can still be well-developed, but should only be taken to a degree
of development that matches their role in the game. There is no point
creating a character of such depth that it would take hours to get to know
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