Where a First-Person Character Arc Begins

Rewards can direct a player along a Character Arc, but how do we start off that player's First-Person Character Arc?

In a film, a character who undergoes an Arc usually begins from the opposite end of the spectrum. Thus, someone who will end up being responsible will usually start off by being selfish. As I mentioned earlier, Liam Neeson's character, Schindler, undergoes such a Character Arc in Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List. But, you can't do this in games. You can't make the person playing the game any more or less selfish than they actually are at the start of the game.

I've seen games where the player is supposed to identify with a character who has a fear, limitation, block, or wound that he or she doesn't have in real life (such as being a coward, for instance), and it doesn't work. In fact, instead of encouraging emotional immersion, it distances the player from the game, for the player won't identify with the role. It would be the opposite of a Role Induction Technique. (For more on Role Induction Techniques, see Chapter 2.19.)

But there are some workarounds. For example, although you don't possess a particular flaw (let's say you're not particularly selfish), others could still see you with this flaw because of a misconception. By the end of the game, other characters would no longer see you as selfish. Of course, this isn't a genuine First-Person Character Arc, because it's more about changing the view of other characters about you, rather than about you yourself changing.

Still, this kind of solution has uses in certain scenarios.

Creating Emotion in Games. The Craft and Art of Emotioneering
Creating Emotion in Games: The Craft and Art of Emotioneering
ISBN: 1592730078
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2003
Pages: 394

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