From Filmmaker to Gamedev: Designing Games with a Filmmaker’s Mindset
We’ve all seen it before – games with too many cutscenes, walking simulators where you don’t “do” anything, or narrative games with just a bunch of text and no gameplay or action. While these complaints are valid, they often lack an understanding of why the game turned out that way.
The reason is that the people who made the game might have loved another medium more than games, be it movies, novels, or paintings, yet video games were the most effective means by which the artists could express themselves. It just didn’t translate as well as it could have.
With Alter Evo, we are making a game like this, except we have spent almost a decade figuring out ways to translate these cinematic and literary ideas using interactive language and style.
Our cutscenes are rare and never last more than 5-10 seconds, all of our dialogue is skippable, and we make sure the player always has something to do – whether it is escaping a deadly enemy, talking to a neighbor, or even reading a book at the library.
Technical Fiction is a company founded with the goal of progressing the way stories are told in games. Alter Evo, our first official game, is designed with this goal in mind.
The inspiration for Alter Evo comes from books such as Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, movies like Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie by Buñuel, and paintings by Goya, such as the “Perro Semihundido”.
How we engineer and design our game is a totally different story. We look at popular franchises such as Resident Evil, Silent Hill, and Life is Strange and simply take what has worked in their games and use it in ours. We also borrow heavily from visual novel games like Danganronpa, which sets us apart from other third-person 3D adventure horror games.
At the end of the day, your narrative has to fit your game. If you start with a narrative first, you will have to modify it many times to make a fun game out of it. But once you start writing stories to be “compatible” with games, you’ll start running into less friction. Stay tuned for our next blog post, where we’ll be talking about writing for game compatibility.