Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
your most essential task and the one that requires the most research to get right.
If you're writing a sports management game, your most essential tasks are likely to
be capturing the required tones of management speak and the relationship between
managers and players, execs, media, and other coaching staff.
8.4 A Whole New Ball Game
However, just because sports titles have traditionally been about commentary-tutorials-
on-screen text doesn't mean they'll never change. There have already been sports
games that don't just set out to simulate a sport as it already exists, or as we generally
experience it as players or witness it as fans. NBA Ballers is a basketball game, but it
lets players take a character they create from rags to riches and to compete, one on
one, against pro players to be the ultimate champion.
There are also games, like Def Jam: Vendetta , that are actually full-on sports-story
hybrids—games that give players a sport to play but also hitch them to a story to pro-
vide the incentive to keep playing them. Not just in sports games, but in all games,
the narrative drive, the compulsion to know what happens next that a good story
can offer, can be an enormous incentive to keep playing and keep doing something
that is essentially repetitive—and can make it feel as if you're progressing and mov-
ing toward something, not just repeating the same tasks over and over. (Of course,
some games provide a number of other incentives, either separately or collectively,
giving players unlockable power-ups, moves, equipment, minigames, etc., but often
games use all of these elements in combination with a story to give the player as many
reasons as they can to keep playing the game and coming back for more.)
8.5 2K Case Study: Don King Presents Prizefighter
By way of demonstration that there can sometimes be far more to writing on a sports
game than many might imagine, I thought it would be interesting to present a case
study on a game I worked on last year with Marek Walton, one of my colleagues at
The Mustard Corporation. In its original design, this boxing game comprised the
following elements, all of which came with a requirement for dialogue, text, or both:
commentary
tutorials
on-screen text
astory
mini stories
training games
girlfriend games
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