Story Line Analysis

Update first: Knocked off that list of 20 or so things (outside of #7), as well as finished off a bunch of small stuff related to it. Completely re-designed the menu which looks sooooooo much better now, set up the ability to load and save games, created the shops (which are awesome), adding in all the items (although I still need to name them), and created transitions and text animation for everything. Overall, the game flows just so much better and is a lot more crisp and clear, just like how I want it to be. Pretty major stuff. Anyway, here’s what I want to talk about for today.

Over the last few weeks I’ve finished just about everything, outside of the battling and related systems (equipment, what happens when the party dies, bosses, etc.). During that time, I wrote up the last 10 or so cutscenes for the game, which ended up getting pretty deep and pretty meaningful. I was initially happy with how I had planned it all out, but as I pondered the cut scenes and thought about what I had written, I came to realize there were some flaws in the writing. First and foremost, I think, was the relationship between the main character, Cez, and the secondary character (and first party member) Lela. As I don’t really remember if I went through how the two met in an earlier update (and regardless it’s probably not a bad idea to include it here anyway) I’ll provide a quick explanation: Cez travels through the portal from his world to the new world. Upon arrival, he gets attacked by one of the shadows. Lela rescues him. She brings him back to her town and, despite the town councilor refusing to assist Cez rescue Emelia, Lela decides to help. Needless to say, a friendship develops between the two as they travel the levels together on their quest. Now, this friendship kind of boils over at one major point – when Lela comes into conflict with the shadow that killed her parents. She attempts to kill him, but Cez stops her and allows him to escape, defeated. Lela becomes furious and attacks Cez (verbally) over this, believing him to have taken her only chance for revenge and providing justice for her parents. She believes Cez doesn’t have the will to do what is necessary to defeat the Shadow Lord and rescue Emelia, and claims they (the party) are simply marching to their death. Anyway, the story continues and Cez goes through a lot with Emelia and the Shadow Lord and it eventually ends with a final resolution scene between Cez and Lela. With all that put together (generally), I stepped back to look at what I had created (among other things).

The major realization was that I simply hadn’t developed the relationship between Cez and Lela enough. Although they had discussed how Cez felt about Emelia, and there were a few hints to the anger Lela felt towards “him” (him being the shadow that killed her parents) as well as the fact that her parents died early, it doesn’t really ever explore that on a deeper level. We never see Lela lose control – she’s normally quite composed, kind and friendly (while Cez is always in a rush and somewhat rude at times, although deeply caring and extremely fearful of losing Emelia). I felt like the shift for Lela was pretty extreme and, although I liked how the meeting played out and the story lines that resulted from the argument, thought it required more depth in the earlier levels. I think that recognition was pretty important – it’s the ability to look at a situation, analyze what’s happening and then determine the quality. I know where I want to go, and I know how I’ve done it. I just need to simply supplement it with more, to essentially, touch up the edges, to fix the details (hey look reference to my last update).

Anyway, I think that recognition was pretty major for me, and I think it also directly contributed to something I want to talk about in a little bit (gonna send out another update soon). I think it shows my development as a (narrative) designer, as someone who can read a story and do a complex analysis of it to determine the strengths and weaknesses. All in all, it’s something I feel pretty proud to have recognized.

I’ll be shipping out another update soon, so stay tuned. I would have just added it here, but I felt like it deserved it’s own post. Until next time!