Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
protagonist or from that of a dispassionate narrator.The viewpoint could also
change as the story switches between a number of main characters.
In a game, the viewpoint should always be that of the player character,
because the connection the player makes will be strengthened if this is the
case. For that character's part of the story and gameplay, looking at things
from their viewpoint will make it far more personal and so increase the
empathy of the player to the character they are playing.
There are times when the viewpoint of the game and the main character
is a little at odds with that of the player.This often occurs when the character
has died and the player loads a previously saved game from a little earlier -
the player will now know what is about to happen, even if the character is
blissfully unaware. For many this is just part of the landscape of playing games
and the player effectively knows how to set his mind so that he can continue
without it spoiling his enjoyment. For games with a strong story, particularly
those with an investigative gameplay element, there are occasions when the
player knows things that the character does not. It is in these situations where
the need to replay dialogue scenes that the player has already experienced
should be minimised by giving the player the opportunity to skip them in
some way.
Maintaining a connection between gameplay and story objectives also
helps to keep the player's and character's viewpoint as close as possible. The
player will always be thinking in terms of gameplay, whereas the character is
not actually playing a game, but living through the experience of the game
world. She will be 'thinking' about the events of the story and how they are
affecting her.
There are some games in which the player character is changed for a level
or two. It could be that the main character and the sidekick split up and the
player is given the opportunity to play one and then the other in different
parts of the game world. When the two characters join forces again, later in
the game, the player obviously knows a lot more than either character. To
consolidate this knowledge and help bring the viewpoints closer together
once more, a summary scene could be very useful. However, I do not mean
that each character launches into a long description of what they did while
separated, but that you have something where the scene fades up and it
appears that the player is just catching the tail end of the conversation. Some-
thing like, '... I was lucky to escape the landslide without serious injury'. In
the player's mind, the two of them now know as much as each other and as
much as the player.
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