Storytelling Assignment

This was an assignment from my storytelling course that has us writing a “proposal” for a game that we would submit to an employer. This assignment was our first experience in plotting out the narrative of a game. Since it is my hope that I will be able to become an narrative designer in my gaming career, I took this assignment rather seriously. The assignment received decent feedback from my instructor and he had even informed me that he couldn’t wait to play this game. The narrative is a work in process and I have done no tweaking to this assignment. Another post will be the one where I share the final assignment. Thank you for reading and tell your friends.

This story takes place after the tale of the pied piper. There was an unknown side effect of the pipers’ tune when heard by humans. The tune retarded the aging process and gave limited immortality to the children who heard it. Two children are left behind, Hans, who was blind and Franz, who was lame, had aged slowly. What would take years for someone to grow to adulthood took them centuries. After a number of years they had established a business that finds and often rescues missing children. The world around them is a dystopian society in which big money makes the rules and a corporate society has been established. Children are used as pawns in bids for power and control. The characters are approached by a person from their past and embark on an mission of revenge. The web of intrigue grows thicker; their circle of friends smaller, and the duo confronts an enemy from the past only to discover that all is not what they thought it was.

In the climax it is discovered that not only has the piper been imprisoned all of these years, but the magic that led the children away came not from the piper, but from the pipe. When a certain series of notes are played from the pipe it can cause a state of euphoria. However, in many cases, bleeding in the brain always kills the subject. After this discovery Hans and Franz are even more shocked to learn that the other children who left with the piper years ago are behind the pipers imprisonment, are the designers, and distributers of the sonic drug that is created by the pipe. The organization that they created is called Muspilli and they seek to bring about the end of the current world and establish a utopia where children can be free of adult influence. After the final battle, one of the characters is missing and presumed dead. The remaining character returns home and vows to put an end to Muspilli and their plans. In the epilogue a brief discussion is had between the characters involving the dangers of sonic drugs, how private enterprise should be limited in their scope, and the benefits of entrepreneurship.

Gameplay will be third person with an emphasis on exploration and combat. Hans’s eyes give him enhanced targeting and a variety of visual modes. His weapon is a multipurpose weapon that has a variety of firing modes and configurations. Franz has a cybernetic leg, which holds advanced code breaking and electronic suites, enabling him to hack any computer system and take control of it. Franz can defend himself with a vibrating ten-inch blade that is housed in his gauntlet. The gauntlet is the interface that the player will use to access door locks and intelligence reports. While the game can be played in single player, the true game only becomes playable when playing with a friend as either Hans or Franz. Hans and Franz truly compliment each other and the game really is more enjoyable when playing in co-op.

The narrative is developed through player interaction with their environment, interaction with NPC’s, and in interacting with other players through Internet message boards. An example of interaction with the environment is in searching objects and hacking anything electronic. For the NPC interaction, the player is given three optional responses, a negative, a positive and a neutral. Whichever response the player gives will affect not only the ending but also the way that the player is perceived by the NPC’s. For example, if ten negative responses are given to ten different NPC’s, then on the eleventh conversation the NPC will be untruthful to the player and the player will miss an important plot point or piece of information. The same can be said if the player gives too many positive or neutral/indifferent responses. In regards to the internet message board it will be an internal board where groups of other players can assist each other in unlocking more and more of the narrative. You cannot get the whole story just by playing the game solo or with a friend in co-op. You have to be involved with the Internet message board as well. If you find a piece of information, you can upload it to the Internet message board and share it with others just by pressing a button. You can access the message board at any time through the pause menu or at save checkpoints which look like coffee houses. In this way I hope to give the players a sense of community.

Remember when I said that co-op was important? Here is where I elaborate. If playing solo, an A.I. governs the other player. While not in control of, let’s say Hans, the player will control Franz. Hans will run interference and attract the attention of the enemy. Hans will also set up over-watch/sniping positions to eliminate enemies in the path of Franz. The morale of the enemy A.I. is reduced if playing as Franz and the accuracy of the enemy A.I. is reduced if playing as Hans. If playing as Hans, the player controls where Franz can go by highlighting a door, a piece of cover, an enemy, or a computer and give Franz a command to either “attack”, “hide”, or “access,” depending on the enemy presence. The compatibility between the characters is limited to fifty percent during single player play, which, if the right conditions are met through player interaction, can lead to the “normal” ending. If playing co-op with another player in control of either Hans or Franz, that compatibility is raised to one hundred percent and if the right conditions are met, can lead to the “ultimate” ending.

In conclusion, I believe that the third person perspective is the best perspective because it allows for the easiest lines of sight to the objects that can be found through exploration of the games levels and can be beneficial to the action. For example, Hans and Franz are sprinting towards a closed door. Flanking the door are two guards and in position throughout the room are other guards firing their weapons at the duo…

“Status.” Franz calls out to Hans as he sprints towards the door, sidestepping a round as it nearly misses his head, still other rounds pinging off of his personal electromagnetic shield.

Hans’s eyes focus and turn white, “Three on the inside, two by the door and one behind some kind of transparent barrier. The girl is seated on the floor in front of the third.” His eyes flash red as he activates his thermal imaging. “All three are packing standard SMG’s.” Two puffs of smoke erupt from Hans’s weapon as two guards drop to the ground, small holes between their eyes.

“Well that’s just perfect.” Franz replied. “It makes it easier to get the girl.” Just then a guard steps in Franz’s way. Too late to sidestep, Franz leaps into the air and grabs the guard by the head. When Franz is directly over the guard he rotates his body one hundred and eighty degrees, snapping the guard’s neck. Franz lands on his feet behind the guard and drags him a few feet, using the body as a shield. Franz drops the body and resumes his sprint towards the door.

“A few more feet.” Hans says, as five more guards drop from rounds fired from his weapon. Even at a full sprint, Hans’s shots are right on the money due to the advanced targeting system within his eyes. As they sprint towards the final two guards Franz slides through a human sized hole created in the heavy wood reception desk during the course of the firefight. With a flick of Franz’s wrist a blade snaps out from his gauntlet.

The guard barely has enough time to scream as his legs were severed just below the knee before a round from Hans’s weapon pierces his skull. The other guard was dead before Franz slams against the door, arresting his slide. “Give me two.” Franz says as he pulls a cable from his leg. The advanced code-breaking suite within his leg was already warmed up and ready to go as he plugs the cable into a receptacle beneath the keypad by the door.

“Too easy.” Hans replied. “It’s pretty dead out here already.” They had come through a long corridor before entering the atrium and a lot of guards were dead along the way. For both men being over two hundred years old they looked none the worse for going through what they had just been through. “You almost through yet?” Hans asked.

“Just a little bit longer.” Franz replied. “ I got a little surprise for the two on the other side of this door.” Franz looked at his gauntlet and noted the pathway for the fire suppression system installed in the building. A pop up note appeared on the screen. Franz pushed “yes” and the door hissed open, a cloud of smoke billowing out from the door as the Halon Fire Suppression System vented. The system suffocated the guards inside and when Hans entered, weapon at the ready, he was surprised to find more guards laying dead on the floor with their stealth suits crackling. Inside was a transparent barrier that was separating the room and on the other side was the one they had come to rescue…

This is just a sample of the action that the player will be able to see during the game. The player can perform all actions above, hopefully giving them a feeling of being a part of said action. The player could just as easily have sprinted towards the door, but by taking part in the action, it can make for a more exciting experience. The benefits of conversation options were already stated earlier. What I hope gamers take away from this vision is a more interactive experience. The example above is usually reserved for cut scenes and is almost never experienced by the player. By having the player take part in the action it is my hope that they will better enjoy the game experience by getting to do the “fun” things that only the computer usually gets to do.

 

On a side note as a little bit of fun here is what I see as a kind of “trailer” for the game…

“In a world where big money rules and children are treated as pawns for wealth and power, two men stand against countless enemies, all to protect the innocent. When a ghost from their past returns, these two men will be thrown into a world they never thought they’d be a part of again.”