Alternative Character Arcs

The subject of exactly which Character Arcs are possible in a game is one of those vast topics that goes beyond the scope of this book. There are many viable and interesting ones. We've already discussed two:

  • To become courageous

  • To become responsible for another or others

Here are few more.

To Become a Leader

For instance, your character could start out as a grunt, a no-account, and get rewarded for each act of decisiveness. A leader needs followers, and so you'd acquire followers as you move through your Character Arc.

To Learn You Are Worthy of Love

You start out hated. Your father had been ruthless, but your acts of heroism and goodness are rewarded to the point where you become the most beloved person in the land.

To Achieve a Spiritual Connection to the World

You probably can't try for a more challenging First-Person Character Arc than this. After all, do we dare suppose that you can give a spiritual experience to a player?

Yet it must be possible, for it occurs in films like Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and The Karate Kid. Some people might even put the films of the Lord of the Rings trilogy in that camp or the film Phenomenon.

Here are few potential approaches. In all of them, you start out just as you are. You are rewarded, however, for:

  • Noticing minute variations in nature

  • Mastering your sword in an increasingly aesthetic way

  • Making tough choices wisely

  • Gaining increasingly rigorous ethics

  • Doing anything else we consider spiritual

The rewards themselves would have to have a spiritual quality to them, such as:

  • The ability to see the life force pulsing inside of people and trees

  • The ability to hear the voice of your loved one on the wind, from a hundred miles away

Of course, some might argue that these abilities and rewards might seem interesting (or magical) but not have a spiritual quality at all. It's all in the execution. For example, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon could have been completely lacking in spiritual overtones in the hands of a lesser writer and director.

Also, the spiritual overtones in the game wouldn't just come from the experiences that lead to spirituality or in the particular rewards, but in the linking of these two.

To Learn Ethics

You start out as a pirate, out for only yourself, but you receive increasing incentives (rewards and punishments) that guide you to make ethical choices including eventually, perhaps, turning on the pirates you used to travel with and who've hurt or killed many innocents.

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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