The narrative of a game is a critical component of any title, be it the story or the characters; the description can make or break a game.
Housemarque narrative designer Eevi Korhonen explained how to have a fresh approach to story design in her talk 'Narratives for Diverse Audiences' as part of Pocket Gamer Connects.
"We need new kinds of stories in the games and about the games," Korhonen.
It is essential to broaden your existing audience, perhaps expand upon it by attracting a new audience too. If you break new ground and take a fresh approach, PR and media visibility will come your way.
However, be prepared, people can complain, but they tend to be a vocal minority. Should you be able to keep them away from your project, it can create a better experience for not only the team but for the player base as well.
Breach the darkness
People can complain, but remember they tend to be the vocal minority - keep them away and your games can improve – particularly the community and PVP.
There are several things to consider to take a new narrative approach. First of all, themes, use new ones that add "colour." It is a nice way to escape from the bleakness of the world, especially with the current situation.
"Bring darkness out," said Korhonen.
She explained that Birds of Prey is a more colourful movie compared to gritty DC films such as Batman and Superman. So, reflect this in the games industry, make stories brighter, not all doom and gloom.
"We want to see stories where we can be better, where we act better," said Korhonen
In today's games, many choose to use violence – especially guns – but is it necessary? Before choosing this route consider offers, and if it needs to be included, does it have to take centre stage.
For example, Death stranding is focused on delivering packages with Gunplay being a secondary feature as opposed to the main gameplay.
The protagonist can be the main draw of a game, using a new kind of hero or heroine can give your title a unique feel. Minorities are underrepresented – consider gender, body type, queer, disabled and neuroatypical characters when creating the protagonist. Perhaps have more diversity in the NPC cast too.
Finally, the villain, do they always need to be evil? No, perhaps use the environment rather than a character to make the narrative different.
<p><em><a href="https://www.pgconnects.com/digital/" target="_blank">PG Connects Digital #1</a> is the best of our Pocket Gamer Connects conference in an online form, with an entire week of talks, meetings, and pitch events taking place from April 6th to the 10th. You can read up on all the tracks taking place through the week <a href="https://www.pocketgamer.biz/tag/2883/pocket-gamer-connects-digital/" target="_self">here</a>.</em></p>