Khensa

I'd like to suggest we take a look at one of the Gladiator characters in detail, but there's not a lot I can say about the character of Khensa. It's not that there isn't much to talk about. Rather, if I discussed her in detail, I'd inadvertently summon a harrowing midnight attack by vampiric game lawyers who'd swarm my bedroom and mummify me, wrapping me tightly in thousands of strips of paper made from copies of the non-disclosure agreement I signed with Midway.

This fate wouldn't be so bad if they'd then follow through and stick me in a colossal pyramid that people would visit with slack-jawed awe for thousands of years. The last time I checked, however, creating monuments so huge that they're visible from the moon falls outside of Midway's current business plan. So I'll be a bit conservative about sharing information on Khensa.

In the game, Khensa comes from Egypt. She's 18 years old, the youngest of the characters. Khensa was an apprentice in the temple to Isis and hoped to be a priestess some day. However, she was forced into a terrible choice:

  • She could marry the mayor of Alexandria, who lusts after her but if she did, she'd betray her oath to the goddess Isis to never marry and to stay celibate. If she didn't marry the mayor, however, he vowed to burn down her beloved temple.

  • Or, she could avoid both of these fates and become a gladiator. In doing so, however, she would be forced to kill, which would violate her religious vows, not to mention her spiritual nature.

You might notice that Khensa has Rooting Interest (meaning we empathize with her), because her Undeserved Misfortune is a Rooting Interest Technique (see Chapter 2.10, "NPC Rooting Interest Techniques").

Khensa's Character Diamond

I wanted to find five Traits to comprise Khensa's personality, and I wanted (as I did for all the characters) to have at least three that could be expressed without words.

The game offered a number of places a character could express himself or herself nonverbally:

  • The way the character greeted the crowd when entering an arena to fight. (The gladiator fights took place in many small and large arenas spread across the Roman Empire.)

  • The way a character taunted another warrior.

  • The way a character killed an opponent if that character was in a good mood.

  • The way a character killed an opponent if that character was in a bad mood.

  • The way a character exited an arena.

The possibilities for nonverbal expression multiplied when we decided that we'd give the characters more than one way to do most of the preceding.

The first two traits I picked were ones that required words to show. She was:

  1. Innocent and Guileless. This could be shown nonverbally, of course, if we had the option of close-ups on her face. But that wasn't part of the plan except for some very brief cinematics. Primarily we saw her was when she was fighting in one or another arena.

  2. Academically Astute. The most famous library of the ancient world was the renowned library at Alexandria. Khensa studied there in secret.

Her next three traits could be revealed nonverbally, but don't take my word for it. Take a look at three drawings of Khensa done by Cheryl Austin, the artist on the team who was responsible for the look of the main characters.

In these pictures, you see Khensa's remaining three of her five Traits. She was:

  1. Sensual and Graceful.

  2. Lonely.

  3. Mystical, with some minor magical abilities.

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If I and the artists and animators and programmers all did our work correctly, anyone who plays Khensa would feel she's a very dimensional character, even in the way she moves and fights.

Depth Communicated Nonverbally

And she's not just mystical, she also has some depth, for two of her five traits lonely and mystical are also Character Deepening Techniques.

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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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