Final Major Project - Quests & Story
Updated: Apr 28, 2021
Quests and story are the focus of this project and as such it has had a lot of production time dedicated to it, approximately three weeks out of the two-month production period. As I stated at the very beginning of my blog I wanted the story of this game to resemble the size and feeling of quests like 'Rise in the East' from Skyrim or 'Carnal Sins' from The Witcher 3. I chose these quests to draw from for several reasons, for one they are among my favourite quests in their respective games, but also because together they have features that I think are brilliant and I want to replicate.
In Fallacy, the player is taking on the role of a Sentinel, a highly trained Daemon hunter and the story begins with the player investigating disturbances on the island of Edgepoint to determine if there is any Daemon corruption. In other words, the first half of the story is an investigation. Carnal Sins from the Witcher 3 is entirely a murder mystery quest and Rise in the East has a small investigation section at the very beginning, both have an evidence collection and investigation period to build suspense and intrigue, engaging the player.
The player will be introduced to the game, the world, and the main quest through the town on the island which will act as the main hub for the story. The player will be directed first to look at the burned guard tower and the swamp to find traces of Daemon corruption. The entire north half of the island is open to them at this point, the south is locked off by town guards. This is done for multiple reasons, mainly so that I don't have to worry about having quest states for coming to the fort or mountain early before you even know what's there but also so that the player is kept in a smaller area with only easy combat encounters while they get use to the game.
As a murder mystery, Carnal Sins has its red herring in the form of Reverend Nathaniel, the player can actually fall for the red herring if they're not careful and never catch the real killer. Fallacy will have that misdirect too but without being able to fall for it, this is because the project is a small size, so I can't afford to have the potential for a chunk of content to be missed. Fallacy's red herring comes in the form of a Daemon of Dominion, which will be introduced with the grandeur of true main villain to fuel that misdirect. Quests in a game can never be allowed to be simple, they need a twist, preferably multiple (Francis, 2018) and being able to play on typical quest tropes and subvert expectations is good way to create memorable and interesting experiences for the player (Moss, 2018). This is why I am also incorporating the twists and red herrings that my given examples have.
Something I particularly like in 'Champions of the Just' in Dragon Age: Inquisition is how the envy demon tries to unnerve the player character and by extension the player. Similarly, I have tried to do this to not only unnerve the player but build anticipation for the final confrontation by having the Daemon of Dominion display its power by controlling the villagers and turning them mindless, calling out disturbing messages to the player.
Looking back to Rise in the East. Towards its conclusion, the player comes out of the pirate hideout after killing the leader and fights their way through the rest of the pirates all while the Imperial battle mages rain destruction down on the fort and soldiers storm the island. I also wanted a memorable, grand, and epic finale so the story concludes with the player having no choice but to use a catapult to lay waste to the town and everyone in it to beat Dominion, this should give the player a sense of grand scale and the fact that the village changes throughout the story should make everything seem all the more real and believable.
I also tried to subvert archetypal game quest tropes, a technique mentioned earlier, by having the villagers be the big bad, usually in a game when you have a village in distress and fort full of bandits you have your enemy right there, but in my quest, it turns out that those in the fort where in fact driven out by the possessed villagers in the town. The town is where you end up having the big climatic battle, not the fort.
Then once Dominion is dealt with the true villain reveals themselves, which I won't spoil the details of here.