Writing stories for video games requires a unique blend of creativity and technical expertise. When developing a game like Alter Evo, the story and the gameplay must be developed side by side to create a cohesive and immersive experience for players. Having worked at companies where Hollywood writers would come in and try to write a story for a game whose design they had no involvement in, we’ve seen that there is a lot improvement to be had in narrative/design integration.
Because Alter Evo will be a narrative based multimedia franchise, it is important that we follow traditional sci-fi fantasy storytelling techniques; This means creating a world with a rich history, unique technologies, and characters with detailed personal histories and psychologies.
The characters are the driving force behind the game, and their actions and decisions have a significant impact on the environment and narrative. The team at Technical Fiction keeps a Story Bible to track all changes to the world and narrative, ensuring consistency and coherence throughout the game. Often times a change in plot will result in a change in level design, or a new level will make room for a new character to exist. The point is, we didn’t sit down and just write the story out. We think of some plot broad strokes, then go back to the game and implement for a while, building each out a little at a time to allow for a high level of integration.
One of the benefits of following traditional storytelling techniques (world building, character histories) is that it allows the team to create new gameplay and story moments that reinforce concepts in the Alter Evo story IP. Coming up with a unique list of technologies that exist in the Alter Evo universe allows us to find ways to tie in a technology with a game mechanic, even if the two were developed separately. As we work on building levels within Unity, we often come up with story elements that we can add to the story Bible. This allows for a flexible and iterative approach to storytelling, ensuring that the game’s narrative remains fresh and engaging for players.
In conclusion, creating a story that is compatible with a video game is a challenging and iterative process. It requires creativity, technical expertise, and a commitment to following traditional storytelling techniques. Alter Evo is an excellent example of how these elements can come together to create a compelling narrative and immersive gameplay experience. By developing the story and the game side by side, the team has been able to create a cohesive and engaging world that will keep players coming back for more. We will be launching a demo on May 17th, 2023. Check out our Steam page for further details.