NPC Interesting Techniques ( Chapter 2.1 )

Hypothetical Game Case Study: Cyberpunk Novelist

You play a young William Gibson type of novelist, writing fictional stories about a cyberpunk world. The world you create is one rife with criminality.

In the opening cinematic, you agree to be a test subject in a research project being carried out at a local university. The research focuses on boosting the creativity of people who are already quite artistic.

You receive a drug…and your creativity soars.

Gameplay begins.

Some of the crimes from your cyberpunk novels actually start coming true in your city. This is strange, because those crimes involve weapons that don't even exist yet.

It couldn't be that someone read your books and is committing crimes based on what you describe, not only because the weapons don't exist yet, but because these crimes are based on a book you're currently writing one that no one has seen yet.

Are you telepathically causing these crimes?

No. The world in your mind, already quite vivid, actually became "real" as a result of that drug, which unleashed in you powers long dormant in our race: the ability to turn thought into reality. The drug didn't have this effect on anyone else, just you, because of your constitution and level of imagination.

So criminals from the world of your novel have been entering the real world and creating mayhem. You feel responsible for these crimes, and take it upon yourself to try and stop them. However, you're up against truly evil men from that alternative world, who wield superior weaponry.

Still, in gameplay, you fight and kill a number of these vicious visitors from the world of your novel. When you learn you've only been killing henchmen, however, you need to enter the novel world itself.

Once there, you'll find your face, body, and clothing transformed slightly, so you look like the cyberpunk character you created in your fiction (as seen in the painting).

In this world, you'll meet and hook up with Maya, that woman on the stairs. She's neither completely good nor evil. She loves you, but she also runs errands for the top Boss. Maya passes on vital information to you to about the Boss, but also passes on information about you to him as well. She's just trying to survive.

You and the Boss both know Maya's playing both sides but don't mind, because both of you benefit in some ways. She starts getting slowly torn apart emotionally, though, for she's falling in love with you. But she's afraid that if she does, the top Boss will kill her. Her fear is not unfounded.

And what if she puts her faith in you and you abandon her or are unable to take her back to your world, even if you want to? She'd be dead meat in this world.

You'll finally need to fight your way up to the top Boss. In the end, you'll find that the very top Boss had actually funded the research lab where you received the drug in the real world.

So the game ends with a conundrum:

  • Did you mentally create this world, which then came to life after you took the drug?

  • Or did this world exist all along, but couldn't break through into our world? Therefore, the top Boss of this world somehow implanted in you the desire to write about it, and your novel opened a slight doorway to this world, and then managed to get some money through to our world and have his agents sponsor the creativity research. And all this was done to get you to take the drug and thus solidly open the connection between the two worlds.

Which one is the truth? The game ends with this question still hanging.

This game scenario employs a number of Emotioneering techniques.

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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