CURIOS CASE OF GAME PROTAGONIST
So we're somewhere in the middle of development of Neon Abyss. And somewhere when you really need to plan out the game protagonist.
And although is rogue-like genre , the main character might not be strongly characterised, he/she does need to be convincing enough so as to support the gameplay. And if you do have a decent story, boy oh boy they need to pull it off for the players.
Before we delve into the inner workings of good (and bad) character design, we have to properly explain what constitutes a video game character so that every reader understands what I'm talking about. We all know, by basic definition, that a game character is a character that exists in a game. Pretty obvious. But it's much more than that. Game characters essentially serve as one of the components that draw us into the experience, "immersive agents" as we would like to call them.
Rough sketch draft for Neon Abyss main protagonist
Immersive agents can be many things: they can be the game world, the gameplay, or even the plot. They are responsible for keeping us invested into the experience and create the feeling that we're playing more than just a game. This is important because if the experience feels only like a game, then we're not likely to play the game in the long term.
“For the most part a game’s initial direction is driven by the creative director of a project,” says Lans Wang, main game producer of Neon Abyss. “From there, you begin breaking down what the game needs and what you can handle on a technical level. The general population, the enemies in the game, key characters, the protagonist,” he adds.
Finally, there are actions. Actions speak louder than words, and the character has to do things that are in line with his overall personality. A tough guy character, for example, would rather bash a door open than open it normally, whereas a wimpy character would run and jump awkwardly.
There are limits, however, to character actions if you want your characters to be relatable: heroic characters shouldn't be perfect at everything they do, funny characters shouldn't constantly crack jokes, and tough guy characters should rarely shout.
So as we delve deep down into designing, discussing, planning and choosing the main protagonist for Neon Abyss, we thought of sharing some of the best or worst practices (but a learning) we've been developing.
More updates to follow soon.
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