Game Development Reference
“Come to Video Game Support Character School,” they said. “You'll get to
help millions of players,” they said.
Yeah, right. All I do is stand around, saying the same words over and
over. Sometimes players throw things at me or shoot me for their own sick
amusement. Why can't they hug me instead?
Even if I get to help the player fight, I only get some useless
peashooter. It's like they don't really want me to make a difference. Why
does the player always get to be the hero? Why not one of us for a change?
It's worst when I can't die. Once they realize I'm deathless, some of
these heartless players will hide behind me as the bullets slam into my
body. And all I can do is scream, over and over, in exactly the same tone
and inflection; a broken record of suffering.
It's time for payback. I'm going to Video Game Enemy School.
WHEN WE APPROACH ANY new creative challenge, it's natural to start by
thinking of it in terms of what we already know. Game narrative is one
such new challenge, and the well-known touchstone that's used to talk
about it is almost always film.
The parallels between film and video games are obvious: both use
moving images and sound to communicate through a screen and speak-
ers. So game developers hire Hollywood screenwriters. They build a game
around a three-act structure written by a single author. They even divide
their development processes into three parts, like a film: preproduction,
production, and postproduction. This film-copying pattern is often cel-
ebrated: we hear endlessly of games attempting to be more and more “cin-
ematic.” But there's a problem.
While games look like films, they do not work like films.
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