I wasn’t going to blog this just yet because I honestly felt like I wanted to have something a little more solid in my head before I started throwing names around. It’s not useful to anyone reading a blog if they don’ know where I’m coming from, right?
But I did have these thoughts while waiting for the woman at Spudnuts to get off the phone and not use any kind of telepathy to get me the same thing I order twice a week from her like clockwork.
* I’m interested in creating an experience that puts players in a broad context, but leaves them very much in charge of their story. In many ways, this is the lie I buy into (foolishly by this point) every time I join an MMO. And I cite Star Wars Galaxies as a case in point for this.
I am very much in love with the idea that the Star Wars Universe exists somewhere, is persistent, and can be inhabited by me and my friends. Like the holodeck, I always stupidly anticipate that the world will be there and the only rules the world will have are the ones that hold the universe together. Instead, MMORPGs tend to create a truly hilarious number of rules that govern how I can play in that universe.
I feel like this is the equivalent of telling kids on the playground they can play tag, but they can’t run and they can’t shout while they do it and oh yes, if you haven’t been playing tag for a really long time, you’re not allowed to be “it.”
So I don’t get to live out the personal story I want for myself in the Star Wars Universe. Over the period of a year, I’m living out the same basic story as everyone else in more or less the same order. I don’t totally fault the makers of the games for this – they’re putting this out in the only format they can- one that is, as its name implies, designed to accommodate a massive number of people in an orderly fashion.
So I want to do something similar but on a smaller and more personal level. I think games like this should be about personal storytelling. You get to have your own personal adventure in a world that fascinates you and appeals to some level of your private fantasies.
I will need a lot fo help with this.
It doesn’t directly speak to what I just said above, but when I think about the games that really made me think of this as a storytelling medium and not just a dexterity challenge, I immediately think of Tim Schafer. I think he gets it in a really linear way, and I feel like games have felt the absence of those glorious point-and-click Lucasarts games — I would love to have his input on how to create that kind of experience inside a persistent universe.
On a more practical level, Rich LeMarchand has been a tremendous help and had really great design feedback on Original Fin. I think he’d also be a big help, and I also have access to him already.
Korba also mentioned that I might really want to seek someone on the Hollywood side since in a lot of ways I’m trying to bridge the experience of games and the story richness of movies. That’s all worth thinking about.
Sigh. I wish it didn’t seem like such a chore to sign in and comment on blogs. I’m really interested in the thougts of others. Even if you just want to give me a call or email me and say “I have five minutes to chew on your ear, that is swell, my friends. Swell.