More and more games are being designed to be played for years instead of hours. These living games often have designs and production constraints that make narrative designs that borrow heavily from film and television difficult to implement and maintain. I am disappointed when I see developers and players conclude that this means that these “games as a service” style games should not focus on narrative. But players of live games, whether they be mobile, competitive, sandboxes, or even puzzle based, deserve great narrative design too and I believe these types of games could offer designers a chance to build uniquely game-centric narrative language. I would love to see the minds of Horseshoe chew on this problem and come up with some advice or even some innovations for live game narratives.
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This topic is my life, and I’d love to talk and learn from the experts and contribute.
One of my biggest challenges at work is communicating the potential of a narrative where everyone is living in the “present moment” of the story as opposed to the highly subjective single player linear track. On our game, I’ve been advocating to move away from serialized stories in the TV mold to a model based around story dynamics where current events in the fiction are always changing. I can point to something like Fortnite as an example of how an ever changing world that’s different depending on when you first discover it, but it can be tough to sell the team and players on the idea of ephemeral and living stories. Working with Emily on Versu opened my eyes to the potential of a totally subjective and ephemeral narrative. This concept feels like it should be mainstream more than it is. Anyway, I’m all for talking about this at Horseshoe!