From the start I had a clear vision of what I wanted the game to look like, and what I wanted the player to be able to do (more on that later). However I knew that the story, the characters and the plot would be a massively important element of the game.
Many successful games now have little or no story. Minecraft is probably the greatest example of this; an open world game where you are given tools and a sandbox and you can create your own story. These games are much closer to the idea of 'play', and I have a huge amount of respect for this style of game.
But I love to write and would feel such a missed opportunity if I didn’t use a game to tell a story. That being said... it is going to be an incredibly unoriginal story arc... bear with me.
(Above, my first finished sprites)
I decided to borrow the story formula from Joseph Campbell's 'Hero's Journey'. Joseph Campbell was a great scholar who studied the myths and legends of cultures all over the world, and one of the curious discoveries he made was that almost every culture had some version of what he called the 'Hero's Journey' or - Monomyth.
It goes a little something like this.
1- The call to adventure (The Lord of The Rings, Star Wars)
2- Refusal of the call (The Hobbit, The Matrix)
3- Supernatural aid (The Lord of The Rings, Harry Potter)
4- The first crossing of the first threshold (Alice in Wonderland, The NeverEnding Story)
5- Belly of the whale (Gladiator, Iron Man)
6- The road of trials (The Golden Compass, Avatar)
7- The meeting with the goddess (The Matrix, King Arthur)
8- Woman as temptress (The Lion Witch and the Wardrobe, Batman)
9- Atonement with the father (Star Wars, The Lion King)
10- Apotheosis (Shrek, Iron Man)
11- The ultimate boon (Eragon, Harry Potter)
12- Refusal of the call back home (Toy Story, The Hobbit)
13- The magic fight (Spiderman, Aladdin)
14- Rescue from without (...everything)
15- The crossing of the return threshold (The Wizard of Oz, Jesus)
16- Master of two worlds (Avatar, Back to The Future)
17- Freedom to live (Slumdog Millionaire, Terminator)
Some may recognize the formula from The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Eragon, Harry Potter, The Golden Compass, The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe, most Disney movies and almost every adventure story ever made. It also applies to many myths and religious stories (Jesus, Buddha, Hercules...)
So if it is good enough for all of them, it is good enough for me. You may also notice that most of these characters are orphans (Luke Skywalker, Harry Potter, The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe kids), and that seemed appropriate for my main character too. I can tell I am going to have a lot of fun paying homage to some wonderful adventure stores, and hopefully this will help show that you don’t have to be 100% original to write a successful story; there is no shame in borrowing from the greats.
You can read the script for the first act of the game here:
I will talk more about the setting, characters and storyline in future posts. Until then, please keep up with the progress here as I add new art and content.