Archive for July 8, 2007

NPC story development

July 8, 2007 Comments off

How many NPCs that you have interacted with in various MMOGs can you say you remember by name and what their story was? What were their likes and dislikes and what made them tick?

For many MMOGs I have played, I can barely remember any names of the NPCs or much of the story line that surrounded them. Whatever made them tick and why they wanted my help has just vanished to some distant corner of a remote synapse in the brain. If I remember anything, it may perhaps be where an NPC was located and what he/she wanted me to do, but often the reason behind it, why I did it, is long forgotten.

For many movies and books I can remember similar details much better, so it is not just part of an early case of senility – at least I like to think that…

Most of the NPC stories I do remember from MMOGs are currently from City of Villains. One obvious reason is that this is the MMOG that I have spent most time in during the past year. But I also think that some of the NPC stories have had a better job at being developed than i a number of other MMOGs.

I do remember Seer Marino and her concern for fate of her brother Paulo and my assistance there. I distinctly remember Timothy Raymond and his memory loss and weird way of talking and my eagerness to find out why the aliens presumably had abducted him. Being a villain, I still found Westin Phipps be a quite despicable character operating under cover as a guardian angel, seemingly helping the poor, but destroying their lives when he got a chance. And chatting with Doc Buzzsaw made me smile, a bit of a polite lady underneath the cover of a bloody successor to Dr Frankenstein.

Perhaps if I stop playing CoV for a while I will forget these as well. But I think the game has done a fairly good job at developing characters that one might remember, more so than with a number of other MMOGs.

Categories: MMO Games

More media cross-overs

July 8, 2007 Comments off

Continuing on the subject of the previous post, MMOGs and media cross-overs:

While I have been a bit negative and sceptic about some cross-overs into the MMOG space, there is of course an obvious benefit from it – you do not have to invent the world, its lore and how it fits together from scratch. You already have a framework which makes sense and have had some recognition and success in other media. This will obviously save some time and work and you would have an easier job with marketing. It will obviously also cost some money to use that framework and lore, so I think the main attraction may be to save time and possibly make marketing a bit easier.

I n the previous post I said that I think they framework and and lore have to be developed further with the MMOG space in mind, not just try to fit the existing lore within the technical framework of an MMOG. In an MMOG there will not just be story telling, but also more of story enabling. The player is part of the story – it is just not told/shown to the player, but also experienced by the player and the player is interacting with it. It is a richer environment in a way than many other media.

In movies and theater plays there is generally just a few hours at most to tell a complete story – while the format allows for multiple senses to be used to forward the story, there is a limited time and depth that can be utilised. A book will have more limits on the sensory usage, but will have more time to develop characters and the story. Neither are particularly interactive with the audience – although exceptions do exist in theater plays of course.

TV-series and comic books have a mixed situation – they must tell some stories within a more limited time than movies, plays and books, but have on the other hand the ability to develop long reaching story arcs over considerable time.

I think the latter is something that probably is somewhat easier to fit within a conversion to MMOG space than other media. An MMOG will have short stories (typically quests/missions or a series of quests/missions), but can also bigger stories going on and fitting in with the world and its progress. The lore is likely covering many angles and types of stories already, providing a better foundation to build from. There is still the shift from non-interactive media to interactive, persistent media, but at least there the framework itself would likely be easier to continue development in the MMOG space with.

Categories: MMO Games