Post 22: Beginning the Narrative

I have been short on time this week as I’m back at work and have taken on a couple of extra design projects which have taken my evenings. Such is life. Tonight I thought I’d outline the overall narrative of the game and try to envision how much I expect to be able to do by the time I hand this project in/release a demo.

After studying influencial games such as Ghost of Tsushima, I intially had the idea of using a three act structure as I like the direct flow of:

Setup >>> Confrontation >>> Resolution 

Retrieved from: www.nownovel.com/blog/three-act-formula-novels/

However, I’m not sure if this will allow me to tell the story the way that I want to in that Act two would end up being the main vessel for the narrative and this would not allow for the potential twists that I have in mind. To wrap my head around what I want to do, I did some research into narrative structure and coincidently came across something that was shown to me in year 2.

This chart introduced the concept of a working four act system, however – again – I felt like the problem with this chart is that it catered to specific media and even specific writing styles/character and content preferences. However, the overall implications of this chart are interesting, none the less. I thought maybe I’d create my own narrative, based off a combination of the above. 

An Outline of the Play-by-Player

I thought about what I wanted the player to do that would help tell the story and guide them in a way that would be flowing, engaging and not too restricting. After careful deliberation I came up with the below five narrative sections. Although I argue that this is a Five Act structured narrative, it could almost be argued to be a Four Act with tutorial. Either way, I’m happy with fitting a story around this.

Intro / Tutorial

The player is introduced to the protagonist, the catalyst for the entire adventure and the antagonist that is the cause.

A tutorial will also familarise the player with moving, looking and a brief view of the weapon mechanics available in the games

I would want the player to be in this for around 20 minutes. This is purely a vehicle to establish a platform for the narrative to go off and set the scene.

() 20 minutes

Act I: Escape and Revenge

The protagonist is at an all time low, at this point, with no end in sight. A narrative turn will happen (maybe the introduction of a companion character/an event to progress the protagonist’s bid for independence in which the protagonist will break free of their proverbial shackles.

After a series of tasks to help build the protaganists strength up, they will return to the site of oppression and rid themselves of that particular demon.

[Boss fight one]

() Two hours 

Act II: Confidence and Downfall

Having just conquered a smaller demon in the form of their immediate oppressor, the antagonist now looks higher to the antagonist that has caused the initial catalyst.

The player is then put through a series of trials and tribulations which they must conquer in order to progress to the final boss of the game….

[Boss fight]

who promptly decimates the character and leaves them for dead.

() Two Hours

Act III: Redemption and the Supernatural

After having been saved by a stranger, the player hears tale of a legendary thing that will help them overcome the final boss and must now venture to it.

After a journey the player is put through more trials and tribulations until they are finally rewarded and revitalised. The Act ends with the player roaring and ready to go.

() Two Hours

Act IV: Finale

Repeat of Act II except with tougher trials and a steeper difficulty until the player reaches the final boss and is offered the opportunity/task of defeating them.

() Two Hour

An Outline of the Narrative

So now that I have sorted out a player action outline, I could now move on to fitting a narrative around what I want the player to experience.

Intro / Tutorial

  • The player is introduced to the protagonist; A man or woman who lives the county of Argyll with their partner and children. They lead a peaceful life, far away from the intermittent skirmishes between the Scottish rebels and the English oppressors.
  • They wear plain linen, with no distinctive clan tartan/garments. They are farmers and hunters, no longer warriors.
  • The protagonists partner hobbles into room on crouches, the not so lucky veteran of a war past. They join the protagonist for some quality time with the children in the form of story telling. They tell tales of a mystical and beautiful creature called the Ness.

[ A knock on the door ]

  • The leader of the Scottish rebellion stands staunch with armed companions behind. He is there to recruit the services of the protagonist in the ongoing conflict on the Southern borders.
  • The protagonist refuses, they have a family now and their fighting days are long gone. Besides, there are no troubles out west. Other than finishing the crops before winter hits.
  • The leader reminds the protagonist of their ferocity and conviction in the Jacobite rebellions.
  • The protagonist shoots a look at their family. Their partner continuing the tale of the Ness and promptly declines the call to action.
  • The leader points out the inevitability of their involvement in this turmoil. The protagonist refuses again and wishes them well.
  • The protagonist closes the door and sits down with the family, a forced smile on their face.

[ Fade to Black ]

  • When the scene fades back in, the protagonist is with their eldest child in a forest. Both characters have a Bow in hand. The protag is teaching the eldest how to hunt.
  • The child takes aim and misses. The protag says they’ll show them how it’s done.
[ Tutorial: Sneaky beaky ]
 

[ Tutorial: Aiming a bow ]

The player is instructed to aim the bow at the deer.

[ Tutorial: Drawing the bow ]

The player is instructed to push and hold the right mouse button (the aim is frozen)

[ Tutorial: Firing ]

The player is instructed to release (aim is still frozen).

  • The deer goes down, but is still alive.
  • The player takes the child over to the deer and explains they must never leave a creature suffering and that all food is a gift from nature
  • They are interrupted by distance yelling and screaming, the camera shifts behind the protag to see a smoke trail above the tree line. 
  • The characters run off to the tree line.

[ Fade to Black ]

  • When the scene fades in we see the edge of the forest line as the two characters are approaching the village limits.
  • Both characters stop and crouch behind a bush
  • An over the shoulder shot reveals that the village is being pillaged by men in red Uniforms akin to those of the English army.
  • A close up of the characters show the fear on their faces
  • An ECU shows fire reflected in the pupils of their eyes.
  • A shot at the village shows a man with a fancy hat on stand on a box with a piece of paper
  • He decrees that all villages aiding the Jacobite rebels are traitors and will die traitors deaths
  • He concludes by proclaiming of this villages treachery and they will hang the villagers one by one until the traitor is revealed.
  • A pan to the right reveals a set of gallows with people on them.
  • A cut back to the protagonists and their eyes widen as the sound of the gallows being triggered sounds.
  • A cut back to the fancy hat man as he starts to repeat what he said before.
  • The cut back to the characters as the child questions the protag about helping. The protag says there’s no possible way they can win a fight like that and they need to find the rest of the family. The fancy hat man can be heard in the background.
  • Movement from the camera mimicing the protag’s line of sight as they search for their family. The camera pauses on the gallows as the the partner and younger child are shown getting nooses put around their necks. The protag gasps
  • The protag looks to their side to find the eldest is gone. Camera line of sight again as the protag searches, quickly seeing the eldest attempting to wrestle a musket from a soldier.
  • A shot with the gallows blurred in the back and a mid shot of the solider punching the eldest down and shooting them at the same time as the gallows release.
  • A close up as the protag screams in pain and starts running towards the solider

[Player gains control of the character as they approach the soldier]

[Tutorial: Press left mouse button to slash]

[Tutorial: Press SPACE to dodge]

[Tutorial: Press right mouse to counter]

[Tutorial: Press G to break block]

[Slay the solider]

Begin fight with four more soldiers. When the player is done cut to cinematic.

  • The protag finishes off a solider and looks around for a new target only to be bonked on the back of the head by a big figure. Cut to black.

[Title screen “Argyll”]