Wolf’s Wicked Words: Clever Narratives
Why do we need a villain? What is their purpose? Do we so desperately crave the need for a hero? A hero that will fight the damnable hordes of heinous and blood thirsty enemies? Is it perhaps our own subconscious that clings to the the unearthed idea of the damned that shall rise and devour everyone and everything is its path? We need good guys in our lives, in our movies and in our games. What is the point if there is no one to conserve the peace? And also no one to challenge our lionhearted hero?
Both of them are needed. Both hero and villain are needed to keep the masses happy. Think about it. We all have a favorite movie, game or book where the chivalrous hero defeats the malodorous bad guy. The larger percentage of the audience will cheer for the good guy while the few stragglers here and there, will cheer for the bad guy.
If you want to keep the audience on their toes, don’t let them know who the villain is, keep them questioning themselves at every turn the plot makes. Decide to manipulate and deceive them. It will make them uncertain of the one they are cheering for. I’ll go out on a limb here and use BioShock as an example, yet again. Yes, I like BioShock… a LOT! During my first playthrough of BioShock I was questioning myself more so than in any other game. I was not sure who to trust, who to listen to and if I were being a horrible person for killing the Big Daddies just to get the necessary ADAM and then continuing my journey through the city of Rapture that was once a utopian symbol of independence, free of any shackles that were to be found on the surface of the Earth.
With quite a few voices explaining to me the situation that was currently at hand, and wanting me to lend my ear rather to them, than the other babbling individuals, I was second guessing my every second move because I was experiencing major trust issues. I mean, really, I was just doing what you told me to, but I’m still being hunted by the ravenous Splicers from earlier. I thought I could trust you?
That’s exactly what I want to experience when playing a game. I want to be unsure of my current situation and be on my toes, not only when it comes to gameplay, but to story as well. I think another game that portrays this also rather well is the Uncharted series. I just helped a guy I know from long ago to steal something for his “client” and now you’re leaving me here to take the heat that comes in the form of a major whoop-ass and then be sitting behind arctic cold prison bars. I thought I could really trust you?
Don’t get me wrong, I love a game filled to the brim with mindless violence without any genuine motivation, and I’m not expecting every game out there to be the pinnacle of story telling. Think about it. Let’s say we all love our games with major twists and suspicion filled narrative, but there could be serious disadvantages. You could begin to enroot major trust issues and not be able to trust anyone. Obviously, you can’t trust everyone, but I’m beginning to talk in a circular-like pattern.
I think that games with creative and clever narratives are much appreciated in the world of gaming. Not every game should be like that, because you don’t want to turn into the twitchy, desolate husk that jumps when someone coughs or sneezes somewhere near you. Being on your toes is good, but only to a certain degree. We don’t have any room for people kicking a bag full of cuddly animals, just because they looked suspicious…