Once Upon A Time

Once Upon A Time

Wouldn't it be easier if someone else had already done the legwork for you? Created the world, characters and story, filled the page already, leaving only blanks to be filled between the spaces? That's, in essence, what it's like starting a franchise writing project, and the writers for these games are just like any writers anywhere, only a large part of their work is already done. Or is it?

Not necessarily. Russ Pitts looks at franchise writing.

Once Upon A Time

"The problem is game writers refer to the "player character" as a single entity, when it's in fact a compound creature, like Jekyll and Hyde. And, as the poor doctor discovered, only one can be in control. Either the character is driving the game's narrative or the player is."

Marty M. O'Hale examines the difficulties of telling stories with games.

Once Upon A Time

"At their core, every MMOG is about community. Yet Myst is associated with solitary exploration. Cyan went to great lengths to instill in the player a sense of isolation. How could that possibly translate into a massively-multiplayer experience?
"When Cyan dropped the project in 2004 due to financial woes, the game stayed alive through unofficial "shard" servers. The community remained in the cavern, creating their own stories. Only recently has Cyan returned to support its players, but the players never lost their resolve. Why? What makes Uru special?"

Nathaniel Berens explores the user-created worlds of Myst.

Once Upon A Time

"The cultural significance of the Half-Life series has been woefully under-examined. Most reviews and interpretations of the game have focused on the gameplay (which is admittedly excellent), the realistic facial systems and its immersive qualities. Less regarded are the plot's purposefulness and its metaphorical importance. Pedestrian comparisons to Orwell's 1984 are unavoidable, but perhaps the real meat of the saga, which is mostly contained in the sequel, borrows its roots from other sources."

Tom Rhodes looks at the literary significance of Half-Life.

Once Upon A Time

"'The actors are our vehicles for emotion. We need to make sure that we capture every last bit of their performance and translate the emotion into the game. You know, getting 80 percent of that is quite easy. But after that every additional percent takes a lot of effort,' Cage says. 'Right now, we're working on lips and the revealing of teeth. It's incredibly complex, a matter of fractions of a millimeter, and if it's not right you'll immediately notice. We're also working on the tongue. You may not think you see my tongue moving while I'm talking, but believe me, if it stopped you would be horrified.'"

Sam Sundberg speaks to Quantic Dream's David Cage about Heavy Rain and the power of the face.