Yes, we’ve been at it again, this time musing wildly on the thorny subject of narrative in Take On Helicopters.
We take a look at why we’ve included story elements at all – in a genre not typically known for its narrative – and talk a little about the problems we faced in taking on this endeavour!
Below is an extract from the blog post, which you can read in its entirety here!
Approaching the task of creating a narrative for ‘Take On’, we knew that everything had to be driven forward by gameplay. Narrative and simulation games don’t traditionally go hand in hand; at best, they’re uncomfortable cousins. Try to marry ‘em up,and people will have eyebrows raised at all sorts of ambivalent angles.
So, why seek to merge the concepts? Primarily: engagement. Constructing a simple narrative framework within which gameplay instances can take place, controlled by a progressive flow of complexity (i.e., the skill required by the player), affords us an opportunity to add a richness to – and provoke an engagement with – the overall experience.
Approaching the design of a game-based narrative, we’re met up front with a number of challenges. The idea alone is something of a contradiction: player-agency competes with the guiding hand of the author/designer at every turn. Indeed, the process itself competes against its development context, an environment where dependencies are high and competing gameplay elements and engine features may be added (and dropped) at (or between) a number of development milestones. Furthermore, we work alongside at least two identifiable constraints: the eclectic (and changeable) abilities of our player, and the genre of the game itself. By recognising and examining each of these challenges up front, we’re in a much stronger position to address our narrative design.