Game Development Reference
them if they are only going to be on screen for half an hour, particularly if
the player is occupied with action-driven gameplay.
The best scenario is when the same sidekick is used throughout and there
is the opportunity to develop a sub plot that follows them. Why is this
character working/fighting/investigating alongside the player character?
What are their differences? What is the sidekick's motivation and how does
this fit or conflict with the player character's motivation? Do they get on or
is it just a job of work? Is there any special chemistry between the two
characters - any sexual tension or same gender bonding? Will the sidekick
change as a result of helping the player character or will the opposite occur?
Will they both be forced to examine their lives as a result of the relationship
and progress as characters throughout the length of the game?
The player character
Creating a strong player character for a game is not easy. A combination of
the character's looks, the gameplay capabilities, the story role and the player's
perceptions all have a bearing on how well the character will work. The
player, in particular, is an important factor and because no two players are the
same the way they view the player character is going to be different. Pre-
venting characters from falling into cliché can be quite a challenge.
The expectations that arise from a game's genre should be an important
consideration when developing the player character, for if the very thing
players have most contact with fails to deliver what they expect, the likeli-
hood is that the success will be severely limited. Much of this, of course, is a
gameplay issue, but it is important that the character's defined personality
traits do not contradict their gameplay properties. A confirmed pacifist is not
going to be appropriate within the high action demands of a first person
shooter, for example.
The motivations and objectives of the character should never be at odds
with those of the player, though if the character and story have been
developed well within the framework of the game's genre this is unlikely to
be the case. It does not hurt, though, to have these objectives stated plainly
from time to time as a reminder to the player that he is in synch with the
The relationship between the player and the player character can vary in
its closeness.With traditional point-and-click games, the direct connection is
probably as tenuous as it can get without it being a game where there is no
specific player character. In this type of game the interface is such that the