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目录

玩家角色成长过程编辑本段回目录

一、简介和相关定义

我们从基本的内容说起。

故事—-这里指的是传统故事,原型故事,也就是关于主人公经历困难处境的故事,和在那些困难处境下主人公改变或对抗改变的故事。

所谓的改变,可能是积极的,也可能是消极的。主人公可能是英雄人物,也可能是卑鄙小人。处境可能是戏剧性的,也可能是滑稽的。有时候,“改变”也不是单指改变自然,也可能是指逐渐揭露本质和动机。虽然也存在例外,但大多数故事的主题都可以概括如上。

《星球大战》讲的是一个农村孩子卷入银河战争,迫使他寻找他一直缺少的内心力量。《绝命毒师》讲的是一个理科教师做了一系列事,把他自己从一个失意的家庭主男变成超级反派。《老友记》是一出年轻人的情景喜剧,讲的是一伙人被工作和个人生活锻造成稳重、自信、成熟的社会栋梁。

大多数电子游戏(游戏邦住:特别是充满玩家选择的RPG如《星球大战:旧共和国》、《质量效应》、《骇客任务:人类革命》、《阿尔法协议》等,这些都是本文的关注对象),从结构上看都具有非常传统的故事。RPG剧情往往可以概括为,主人公在严峻的处境下做出一系列艰难的决定。

mass effect 3(from gamasutra)

mass effect 3(from gamasutra)

然而许多RPG并没能为主人公塑造出一个饱满生动的形象。原因再明显不过了:当玩家控制主角和做决定时,他并不关注(也不能关注)产生戏剧性结构的叙述技巧。相反地,玩家沉浸于通过游戏满足自己的幻想或渴望(“我想变得像007那样酷”或者“我要成为最可怕的罪犯”)。

在游戏过程中,玩家极有可能处于类似的情绪中—-《质量效应》的玩家操作怀有仇外心理的指挥官Shepard时,可能在游戏过程中会做出与角色个性并不相符的选择—-除非另有原因。而《骇客任务:人类革命》的玩家在游戏中会变成残酷的杀人机器,因为那正是他想成为的角色。为什么玩家会做出这样的改变?

当然,改变也未尝不可,但是这一变就削弱了游戏故事的主题。当玩家在游戏中按自己的意图轻率地做决定时,可能故事中的悲剧、拯救、成长或净化都不复存在了。尽管如此,我认为可以在具有分支故事的RPG中实现变化的角色结构,并最终产生有意义的游戏体验。

所以如果大多数玩家在通常情况下并不打算改变—-如果玩家就是一个抗拒改变的人,而不是尽可能制造戏剧性的脚本作者,那么我们怎么才能创造出真正的角色结构?在这个结构不只是玩家的想象,而是基于清楚的游戏结果的情况下,我们如何戏剧化主角的内心世界?

我们如何将游戏从一种臆想体验(“我想成为优秀的战士”)变成一场对角色的浸入式探索?

二、锻造故事和通过重构情境刺激改变

RPG的关键在于选择。故事选择、角色创造选择等等。甚至当真正的选择不存在时,选择的幻觉也很重要。玩家角色的成长和内心斗争可能并无差别—-因此,任何以玩家操控为主的角色结构原本都可能产生不固定的结果。

换句话说,我们不知道玩家是打算培养一个抗争型英雄、悲剧的堕落分子还是高尚的圣人。我们也不应该尝试去解答。况且还有许多怀有那种目的的讲故事媒体。

事实上,另一个导致RPG无法产生形象生动的角色结构的原因是好心帮倒忙的设计师。他们意识到变化的角色会提供最好的戏剧性情节—-在玩家角色上强加一系列变化,而忽略玩家自己的选择。也就是,在没有玩家参与的情况下,玩家角色出现是为了被动地经历一个反应或一系列反应。

一旦故事体验的主旨被歪曲,就会损害或摧毁玩家和角色之间的移情共感关系。玩家可能会愤怒地抗议:“我的角色才不会说那种话!”

所以我们不可能知道玩家角色如何发生变化的细节。但我们能做的就是,通过将其设计成问题来促成故事的主题。我们以刚才提到的《绝命毒师》为例。

《绝命毒师》讲的是一个理科教师做了一系列事,把他自己从一个失意的家庭主男变成犯罪天才。

上面的描述似乎很合理,但没有给玩家留下多少做决定的余地。那么我们应该怎么改变?

《绝命毒师》讲的是一个理科教师如何考验自己作为家庭主男的道德。他会屈服于力量的诱惑,还是在耗尽时间以前找到弥补自己犯下的错误的办法?

这么一改,你便算创造出一款游戏了。你明确了一系列主题和想法去创造决定。你的角色有了一些清楚的目标,并且每一个目标都是玩家活动的自然结果。你有了更多选择余地—-你的主角不一定要成为圣人或者恶魔,你的选择可以落在两者之间。

你仍然没有理由让玩家在游戏过程中做出改变(我爱我的家人,所以我不会在一开始就伤害他们,为什么我不能爱我的家人却在最后伤害他们?),但你清楚自己想要探索何种可能性。

还要注意,因为保持问题的开放性,我们限制了基于玩家决定的RPG故事类型。我们之所以会列举《绝命毒师》而非《星球大战》是有原因的。如果《星球大战》讲的是一个农村孩子卷入银河战争,迫使他寻找他一直缺少的内心力量,那么显然其他选择(这个农村孩子最终没有找到所谓的内心力量,或者失败了,或者留在家里)就不太适合大多数游戏了。几乎没有玩家会在RPG中做出产生彻底失败的选择,并因此导致过早结束自己花钱购买的游戏。

因为明确了主题,创作者有义务创造出我们之前所说的“困难的处境”—-考验玩家的处境,如果这些处境没有改变玩家,就会迫使玩家积极反抗改变。这些处境必须让玩家与自己始终认同的价值观作斗争。

保持原来的状态是很困难的,甚至是不可能的。当你在考虑游戏中的重要决定时,请回答以下问题:

1、为什么玩家做出的选择不同于之前的选择?
2、是什么区分了风险或处境?
3、玩家必须做出的决定是不是能让角色以多种方式成长?

原版《星球大战:旧共合国骑士》解决了这个问题(下面要剧透了)。游戏的前半部分,玩家渐渐获得更多力量,从普通市民变成神秘的绝地武士。很好,但是玩家面临的处境和压力,在大多数时候,并没有迫使玩家改变观念或决策过程。

之后到揭露真相了:原来玩家是被洗脑后遗忘了自己原来的身份,所以成了坏蛋。这就刺激玩家重新评估之前的所有决定,同时为之后的决定重新创造了一种情境。如果玩家过去是个正派人士,那么他现在就会质疑自己的决定,这样他和他的盟友之间就会产生摩擦。如果玩家过去就是个坏蛋,那么揭露真相可能就没那么有效了—-但玩家仍然会站在新的角度上思考自己的意图。揭露真相的作用大概就是,警告玩家不要“两次踏进同一条河”,或给玩家一个“回归正道“的希望。

但不揭露真相也能够重构情境。让我们思考下面两个类似的例子:

情境一:游戏开始,玩家角色是军事组织中一名善良的军人。随着游戏进展,玩家角色渐渐获得荣誉、尊敬和认同,并且与效忠于军事组织的配角建立了深厚的关系。然而,该组织开始做出越来越多有违道德的决定。一开始,玩家觉得“做正确的事”和“支持他的朋友”是同一码事,但随着游戏发展,二者之间会越来越矛盾,玩家就必须重新评估做决定的过程。

情境二:游戏开始,玩家角色是一名骑士,因为抗击恶魔而成为当地人心目中的英雄。英勇事迹使玩家得到越来越多的权力,直到玩家不再只是对自己或自己的生命以及其他一些人的生命负责时;现在玩家就像国王,他的决定将影响上百万人,曾经被认为是英明的决定现在可能显得太天真了。邪恶的决定的后果也立即被放大了。在“为了大多数人的利益”的权力膨胀过程中,善良的角色可能被迫在道德上做出让步,而邪恶的角色可能反而闪耀着些许人性光辉。

以上是两种简单的情境,但都导致玩家在游戏过程中无法使用相同的决策法则(至少需要重新评估)。二者都轻易地放大了风险和原因,使玩家改变决定,以达到不同的目的。

这整个讨论的另一个要点是:我之前提到的“必须让玩家与自己始终认同的价值观作斗争”。但我们想让玩家承受多少程度的不安?如果玩家确实只想坐着看他的电视,杀几个坏蛋过把瘾,体验一下英雄的感觉……为什么我们还要让他感到羞愧?那对游戏有什么好处?

甚至“逃避主义”的娱乐性往往存在让主人公非常不愉快的时刻(如《星球大战》中的Luke Skywalker失去家人、Sam和Diane在Cheers酒吧争吵),正是这些时刻成为塑造和决定主人公个性的关键。这些时刻的心理影响如果能妥善处理,带给玩家的体验一定比阅读书籍或观看电视更深刻。那么什么程度的影响才不算过分?

除了建议你“考虑且认真考虑”以外,我给不出更好的回答。谁是你的受众,游戏的主旨是什么,什么程度的不安才算过头?有没有什么现成的喜剧性穿插情节或舒缓情绪的片段?游戏一开始的基调是否足以让玩家为后来的困境做好心理准备?互动媒体的体验的意义就体现在这里—-永远不要采用传统叙述的规则。

当然,绝对不要让你的受众难受过头了,点到为止。

三、揭示主人公的心路历程

创造交互性故事的一个黄金法则是:如果游戏不承认故事中的决定,那么出于故事的目的,那个决定就永远不存在。

游戏对玩家的决定认可也许并不明显,但一定程度上,玩家的决定必须出现在游戏中,并且生效。在军事游戏中,如果玩家选择公然反抗上级,这个选择必须反复出现,不应该一闪而过。如果在一款以美国内战为背景的RPG中,玩家选择塑造一个非裔美国人角色,那么故事的叙述应该不同于玩家选择塑造白人角色。

举个例子:如果我正在玩一款科幻RPG,我的角色穿着长袍而不是铠甲,如果他的职业其实是骑士,那么其他角色会把他当作法师吗?

在大多数游戏时,其他角色是不会误以为他是法师的—-因为着装并不重要。服装是游戏机制,不存在剧情元素。在故事中,服装不能作为一种选择而生效。在玩家心目中,服装是独立的一个部分。

接着再说说内心斗争。即使我们根据以上两部分概括的原则来编写故事和制定一系列决定,如果玩家角色的内心斗争体现得不太明显(和反复—-游戏是漫长的,玩家可能会有几天或几周没有登录游戏),就不算存在于游戏剧情中。即使存在内心斗争,它也只是作为玩家心中的一种可能性而存在,并不是一个完整故事的一部分。

《骇客任务:人类革命》在探索玩家角色的心路历程方面便做得非常好。游戏先让玩家经历与游戏主题相关的重创,然后安排不同角色去传达他们所关心的内容以及对玩家角色的心理影响。

玩家肯定会被告之:“你经历过的创伤会改变你;如果你没有被改变,那是因为你的反抗。”内心斗争就是这样体现出来的。

玩家角色还会被反复问及他对精神控制的感觉,让他表述自己的反应。即使玩家选择“我不想多说”,游戏也会迫使玩家考虑他的角色会作何反应。

对话选项使玩家能够表达各种不同的感觉,绝对是暴露内心斗争的强大工具。其他角色,即上级、精神病专家,密友、嘲弄的敌人问道:“你觉得X怎么样?”,然后给玩家回答的机会,这就验证了某些玩家的内心想法(他们可能已经在自己的头脑中作出角色扮演的反应了),并且迫使另一些玩家考虑玩家角色的心理状态。

如果玩家角色始终拒绝暴露他的内心想法,潜在的内心斗争就会在玩家的心中消逝。潜在的角色成长就不会得到游戏本身的承认。

mass effect 3(from gamasutra)

mass effect 3(from gamasutra)

四、反思和总结

总而言之,当开发分支剧情时,我们应该考虑几个简单的问题:

如果我从头到尾都选择默认的玩家反应,那么玩家角色会体现作为一个人物的成长和改变吗?故事会回应和承认玩家角色的成长吗?

故事是否将玩家置于新的处境,并迫使他重新评估自己的价值观和做决定的方法?

对话选项是否能够证实玩家角色的内心斗争?情境和非玩家角色是否能够诱导玩家对内心的冲突做出回应?

对于游戏写手来说,本文的大多内容是显而易见的。尽管如此,有一套讨论主题和长期角色成长的普遍语言和共同参照标准,我认为还是实用的。我还认为,我们应该多做这样的讨论。我们往往自己觉察到这些问题,但并没有把学习到的经验传授给新人,也没有作为一个共同体来考察我们的设想。

另外,我们往往只专注于交互叙述中的单个元素—-如何写出吸引人的对话,怎么确保玩家理解剧情,如何在不牺牲缺少模块化元素(如玩家角色自己的叙述结构)的前提下,制作出不费成本的玩家选择?

“有意义的玩家角色成长”不是能轻易作为广告放在游戏包装盒上的话,也不会出现在公司展示中。随着玩家成长的角色也无法作为15分钟的样片放在E3游戏展或科隆国际游戏展上演示。但我们刚才讨论的东西却会无形且深刻地影响玩家在游戏中的沉浸感。正是因此才值得我们好好思考。

本文为游戏邦/gamerboom.com编译,作者:Alexander M. Freed)

Developing Meaningful Player Character Arcs in Branching Narrative

by Alexander M. Freed

Part One: Introduction and Definitions

Let’s start with the basics.

Stories — traditional stories, archetypal stories — are about protagonists who go through difficult circumstances and who change or resist change because of those circumstances.

The change can be positive or negative. The protagonists can be heroic or villainous. The circumstances can be dramatic or humorous. Sometimes the “change” isn’t so much a change of nature as it is the gradual unveiling of true character and motivations. But while there are exceptions, the sweeping statement above covers most stories pretty well.

Star Wars is about a farm boy who’s caught up in a galactic war that pushes him to find the inner strength he’s always lacked. Breaking Bad is about a science teacher who engages in an enterprise that changes him from an underachieving family man into a criminal mastermind. Friends is a sitcom about a group of young adults who are forged by the tumult of their jobs and personal lives into more comfortable, confident, mature members of society.

Most video games (particularly decision-based RPGs such as Star Wars: The Old Republic, Mass Effect, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Alpha Protocol, et al, which are this post’s focus) are, structurally speaking, very traditional narratives. An RPG typically features a single protagonist throughout who makes difficult choices under trying circumstances.

Yet many RPGs fail to deliver a compelling character arc for the protagonist. The reason is clear enough: When a player is given control over the protagonist and the choices he or she makes, that player isn’t (and shouldn’t be) focused on the storytelling craft of generating a dramatic arc. Instead, the player is engaged in the moment, fulfilling whatever fantasy or aspiration drove the player to buy the game in the first place (“I want to be cool like James Bond” or “I want to be the scariest criminal around.”)

It’s very likely that the player will make the same sorts of choices throughout the game — the player who starts playing Mass Effect as a heroic Commander Shepard who frowns on human xenophobia is probably going to make mostly positive Paragon choices throughout — unless given a reason otherwise. The player who begins Deus Ex: Human Revolution as a brutal killing machine is doing so because that’s the character he or she is keen on playing. Why would the player even want to change?

That’s fine, of course, but it limits the nature of the story being told. There can be no tragedy, redemption, growth, or catharsis when a player unthinkingly maintains the same approach throughout a story. Nonetheless, I believe a transformative character arc is very much achievable in a branching narrative RPG, and results in a highly rewarding experience.

So if most players aren’t ordinarily inclined toward change — if players act as change-resistant human beings, not authors of a script looking to generate the most drama — how do we develop a genuine character arc? And how do we dramatize the protagonist’s inner life in such a way that the arc isn’t merely in the player’s imagination, but grounded by clear in-game results?

How do we change a game from a thought experiment (“I want to be a good guy soldier”) to a genuinely immersive exploration of character?
Part Two: Crafting the Story and Inciting Change through Recontextualization
The crux of an RPG is choice. Story choice, character-building choice… even the illusion of choice is vital when actual choice isn’t possible. The player character’s development and inner conflict can be no different — thus, any character arc focusing on the player can have no fixed outcome.

In other words, we can’t know if the player is going to create the story of a struggling hero, a tragic fall, or a genuine saint. We shouldn’t try to know. There are plenty of other storytelling media for that.

(In fact, another scenario that can cause RPGs to fail to deliver a compelling player character arc involves well-intentioned designers — aware that a changing character provides some of the best drama — forcing a specific set of changes upon the player character regardless of the player’s choices. That is, the player character is shown to experience a specific reaction — or a set of reactions — without player input.

This can damage or destroy the empathetic relationship between player and player character as control, once the keystone of the story experience, is wrested away… often accompanied by the player angrily shouting, “My character would never say that!”)

So we can’t know the details of how the player character will change. But what we can do is help determine the theme of the story by framing it as a question. Let’s go with that Breaking Bad example from above.

Breaking Bad is about a science teacher who engages in an enterprise that changes him from an underachieving family man into a criminal mastermind.

Fair enough, but that doesn’t leave much room for player decision-making. Shall we change it?

Breaking Bad is about a science teacher who engages in an enterprise that tests his morals as a family man. Will he succumb to the temptations of power, or find a way to reverse the damage he’s done before time runs out?

And suddenly, you’ve got a game. You’ve got a clear set of themes and ideas to build decisions around. You’ve got some clear end points for the player character, any of which could be natural consequences of player actions. You’ve got a bit of middle ground to work with — your protagonist isn’t required to be a saint or demon, but can fall somewhere in-between.

You still don’t have a reason for the player to change over the course of the game (I love my family and do no wrong at the start, why wouldn’t I love my family and do no wrong at the end?), but you know what possibilities you want to explore.

Note also that by keeping the question open, we limit the sorts of stories appropriate for a decision-based RPG. There’s a good reason we’re using Breaking Bad instead of Star Wars as an example here. (That’s A New Hope specifically — the other movies don’t have this particular problem.) If Star Wars is about a farm boy who’s caught up in a galactic war that pushes him to find the inner strength he’s always lacked, then the clear alternative (the farm boy doesn’t find that inner strength after all and either fails or stays at home) isn’t really appropriate for most games. Very few players are going to choose the options in an RPG that result in total failure and the premature end of the game they paid to play.

With themes identified, it becomes the writer’s obligation to find a way to create the “difficult circumstances” we talked about earlier — circumstances that test the player and, if they don’t change the player, force the player to actively resist change. These circumstances must put the player into conflict with the values he or she has grown comfortable with.

Maintaining the original status quo must become difficult or impossible. When considering important in-game decision points, ask the questions:

Why would the player make this decision differently from earlier decisions?
What differentiates the stakes or the circumstances?
Do the decisions the player must make build in a manner that allows for consistent character progression in multiple ways?
The original Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic handles this problem with a well-timed sledgehammer blow. (For those averse to spoilers: Plot details follow.) The first half of the game involves the player gradually gaining more and more personal power, going from ordinary citizen to mystical Jedi. Perfectly fine, but the circumstances and pressures the player faces don’t, for the most part, force a change in the player’s perspective or decision-making process.

Then comes the revelation: the player is a former villain who’s been brainwashed into forgetting his or her old ways. This encourages a re-evaluation of all past decisions and a recontextualization for all future choices. If the player has been acting heroically, he or she is now pushed to reconsider why and friction is generated with his or her allies. If the player has been acting villainously, the revelation is perhaps less effective — but it still asks the player to consider his or her motivations in a new way. The revelation may serve as a warning not to continue down the same road a second time, or act as a promise of what could be.

But recontextualization is possible without a singular moment of revelation. Consider two generic examples:

Scenario One: The player character begins the game as part of a benevolent quasi-military organization. As the game progresses, the player character is rewarded with respect and recognition and develops strong bonds with supporting characters loyal to the organization. The organization, however, gradually begins making more and more morally dubious decisions. Where once the player could feel confident that “doing the right thing” and “supporting his or her friends” were the same thing, as the game goes on, the two become more and more at odds, and the player must re-evaluate the decision-making process.
Scenario Two: The player character begins the game as a knight, facing evil on a personal level and becoming hero to the locals. This heroism gradually earns the player greater and greater positions of authority, until the player is no longer merely responsible for his or her own life and the lives of a few others; now the player’s decisions as king or queen suddenly affect millions, and heroic choices that once received praise may now be perceived as naive. The consequences of villainous choices are suddenly magnified. Benevolent characters may be pushed to make moral compromises during their rise to power “for the greater good,” and wicked characters may find a sliver of humanity.
These are simple scenarios, but they both provide a path that ensures players cannot use the same decision-making formula throughout the game (at least not without reevaluating it along the way). They both provide easy escalation of stakes and a reason for a player character’s decisions to evolve over time to any number of different end points.

One sidebar to this whole discussion: Earlier, I talked about putting the player “into conflict with the values he or she has grown comfortable with.” But how uncomfortable do we want to make the player? If the player really just wants to sit in front of his or her TV, get some adrenaline flowing, shoot some baddies and feel like a hero… why are we making him or her squirm? How does that sell games?

Even feel-good “escapist” entertainment tends to have moments that are highly unpleasant for the protagonist (Luke Skywalker loses his family, or Sam and Diane scream at each other in the Cheers bar), and it’s these moments that are crucial to defining and changing that character. The emotional impact of these moments, if done well, is going to be greater for a player interacting directly with the story than for a passive reader or TV watcher. So what’s too much?

I don’t have a good answer for this other than “think about it and be careful.” Who is your audience, what’s the tone of the game, and what level of discomfort is too much? Are there moments of comic relief or emotional release close at hand? Is the tone of the start of the game sufficient to prep the player for later moments of hardship, so the player is emotionally prepared? Experience in interactive media is helpful here — never assume the rules of traditional narratives apply.

And of course, never make your audience more uncomfortable than it needs to be for the story you’re telling.

Part Three: Revealing a Protagonist’s Inner Life

A good rule of thumb when writing interactive narratives: If a game does not acknowledge a decision in the story, that decision, for story purposes, never existed.

The acknowledgment can be small, but somehow, a player’s decisions must appear in-game to be validated. If a player chooses to publicly fistfight his superior officer in a military game, this should come up again… and probably more than once, with quite a few characters. If a player chooses to create an African-American character in “American Civil War: The RPG”, then the story should play out differently in places than if the player created a white character.

Now consider another type of example. If I’m playing a fantasy RPG and dress my character in robes instead of plate mail, do other characters react as if my character were a mage instead of a knight? Even if I really am playing a knight?

In most games, no — clothes don’t matter. Clothes are a game mechanic, but they have no story component. They are not validated as a choice in the narrative. They are compartmentalized in a separate part of the player’s mind.

Which brings us to inner conflict. Even if we build a story and a set of decision points in accordance with the principles outlined in part two, if a player character’s inner conflict is not called out explicitly (and repeatedly — games are long, and players may take breaks of days or weeks between sessions), it does not exist in the game’s story. It exists as a possibility in the mind of the player, if at all, but not as part of an integrated whole.

Deux Ex: Human Revolution does an excellent job of exploring the player character’s inner life early on. It puts the player through a major trauma related to the themes of the game (cybernetic implantation), then has different characters voice their concern over how it may or may not psychologically affect the player character.

The player is essentially told, “The trauma you’ve experienced will change you; if it doesn’t, it’s because you made the decision to fight against it.” The inner conflict is explicitly identified.

The player character is also repeatedly asked about his feelings regarding his cybernetic implants, allowing him to voice his reactions. Even if the player chooses a “I don’t want to talk about this” option, it forces the player to consider how his or her character would respond.

Dialogue options that give the player the ability to express a variety of different feelings suggesting genuine inner conflict are an incredibly powerful tool. Another character — a superior, a psychiatrist, a close friend, a mocking enemy — asking “How do you feel about X?” and giving the player a chance to answer will validate the interior life of some players (who may have already been role-playing reactions in their heads) and force others to consider the player character’s psychological state.

If the player character is consistently denied opportunities to speak about his or her interior life, potential internal conflicts will fade from the player’s mind. Potential character progression will go unacknowledged by the game itself.

Part Four: Things to Consider and Conclusions

Summing up, a few easy questions to consider when developing a branching narrative:

If I choose the default player response from start to finish, does the player character appear to grow and change as a person? Does the story react to and acknowledge the player character’s growth?

Does the story push the player into new circumstances that force him or her to re-evaluate his or her values and methods of decision-making?

Is the player character’s inner conflict validated by dialogue options? Are situations and non-player characters established that draw forth responses from the player reflecting his or her inner conflict?

Much of this article may seem obvious to game writers. Nonetheless, I believe it’s helpful to have a common language and a common frame of reference for discussions of theme and long-form character development — and I also believe that we should have such discussions more often than we do. We often feel our way through these story issues without explicitly passing on the lessons we learn to newcomers, and without examining our assumptions as a community.

So, too, do we often focus on individual elements of interactive narrative — how to write an engaging conversation, how to ensure the player understands the plot, how to create player choices that don’t become too costly to implement — at the expense of less modular elements like the player character’s own narrative arc.

“Meaningful player character arc” isn’t a feature that can be easily advertised on a box or shown in a company presentation. A player character that evolves along with the player can’t be demoed in fifteen minutes at E3 or gamescom. But everything we’ve discussed intimately and profoundly affects a player’s engagement with the game. That makes it worth considering.(source:gamasutra)

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