The Burden of Lore

The Burden of Lore

A deep fiction can help establish a connection between fans and content, but can hinder creativity.

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I disagree and I did not think the point was well made. It is the developers/publishers that have to incorporate their games into the lore (if they choose the respective setting) and if it doesn't sit well, it is their bad. Lucas Arts could have moved the TFU setting a few centuries back or forth to circumvent their "non canon" problems and thereby have the possibility to add something new to the whole Star Wars franchise the same way KOTOR did. They were just afraid of investing into something completely new and wanted to use the original trilogy's fame. It is not the lore itself that held them back (as the SW lore offers a multitude of possibilities), but their own lack of courage.

captchas: space is big. Thanks for making my point^^

Suriel Vazquez:
The Burden of Lore

A deep fiction can help establish a connection between fans and content, but can hinder creativity.

Read Full Article

I was actually playing with this exact idea, and I'm thrilled to see someone else grab it, too!

Canon can, over time, become a weight around the necks of creators. Not simply because each answer removes a question, but because when a fictional universe switches from being a universe to being a "brand," you start to have a requirement of certain identifying features in everything to ensure it's appropriately branded.

And Star Wars is the perfect property for pointing out the problems!

It used to be about a galaxy far, far away... tons of possibilities, tons of open-ended places to explore, new things to see and create. But at some point, shortly after KOTOR, it seems to have become verboten to introduce much new, original stuff into the SW universe.

Notice that now, pretty much every smuggler is a smug wise-ass with a heart of gold who happens to have an exotic alien companion. Even in The Old Republic -- and the companion is a wookiee, to boot. Every bounty hunter is a badass bad guy. Every crime lord is a Hutt. Exceptions are so rare that they almost seem flukes. Seriously, how big can a "galaxy" be if you keep running into the same six people everywhere you go?

The overall flavor is growing bland, too. Every person on every planet references the same animals (why am I hearing about "bantha poo-doo" on worlds without banthas?), everyone uses the same slang (Sithspit!), for thousands of years Corellian Engineering Corporation has most of the ships and they all look suspiciously similar, every planet has one biome and one culture (and that culture is pretty one-note)... It's a ship that's sinking under the weight of its own canon (yay, nautical pun).

A prime example of a wasted opportunity? Death Troopers. It's a zombie novel set in the SW universe shortly before A New Hope. A great time to introduce some new characters, some new problems (for SW, at least), tons of new stuff... and who shows up midway through the story? Han Solo and Chewbacca. No, seriously. Not just another look-alike, but actual Han and Chewie.

There were stormtroopers. A Star Destroyer. Bothans and Trandoshans and other familiar alien species. Why did we have to have Han and Chewie pop in and scream, "HEY LOOK - IT'S STAR WARS SEE?"

(And the sequel? Zombie Jedi. Because we can't go ten minutes without a lightsaber, or people will forget what they're reading.)

This is why I like the Transformers approach to continuity; everything is canon, an new series or reboots are just separate existing universes within the one multiverse.

It's not the canon's fault if the devs are bad writers.

DragonStorm247:
This is why I like the Transformers approach to continuity; everything is canon, an new series or reboots are just separate existing universes within the one multiverse.

Agreed, it's like having your energon cake and eating it too.

hmm i think this maybe more of kojima's fault though, for thinking his audience is stupid

comic books have continuity spanning decades,

if you wanna get into comic books moviebob put it best " buy a comic book and read it, if it interests you buy more, if there is something that you don't understand look it up on the internet. if you it doesn't interest you to do that , congratulations, your gonna save a lot of money"

if feel the same can be done for games, if you present games in a way that is interesting to the viewer thanks to the internet, they can just look up details, even better buy back copies of old games so they can experience it, that way you can still make money off of really old ip's, unlike comic books where as if you buy old copies a lot of times marvel or dc don't get that cut.

I see nothing wrong with making a game that requires you play other games first. What's with this trope that every game must stand alone?

Would you really read Return of the King without reading The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers first? I mean, you *could*, but you'd be...really confused. Just so, you won't play MGS4 before you play the others. It's silly. Games should be trying to hook players into entire series, not forcing their sequels to be standalones.

This runs into an obvious problem with console generations if the series is long enough, although I don't think I can come up with any series that begs to be played in order and that spans more than 2 console generations.

The funny thing about The Force Unleashed series is that it looks like it may actually end up contradicting canon:

You really can't tell me that that's how A New Hope started, yet it's looking increasingly unlikely that we'll see a third game in the series...

Also, Halo: Reach is an... odd example. It did not stick rigidly to the lore (which Bungie took a bit of flack for), but actually stuck closer than anyone realised. About the only remaining contradiction is the dates in the original book - and I believe an updated re-release is on its way - the other big one... well, spoiler tags ahoy again:

And... I'll stop rambling about interesting intricacies of various games' canons now...

I actually have a pet peeve about explaining older entries for people jumping in. I've jumped into a second entry in a series of books and games before and lost almost nothing even when something went unexplained. Games especially have no reason to do it because the player could pretend to have amnesia or memory loss of previous incidents.

Azuaron:
It's not the canon's fault if the devs are bad writers.

Exactly, hit the nail on the head right here. It's fully possible for a good writer to write a story in a series so it's accessible for newcomers as well long-time fans, with sub-texts etc which would only make sense to a dedicated fan but wouldn't detract from a more casual consumer's experience. I say a novel / movie / game should always be able to stand on it's own without having to spend half it's time explaining to newer people what just happened, or require past series instalments to understand the basic plot.

Dastardly:

Suriel Vazquez:
The Burden of Lore

A deep fiction can help establish a connection between fans and content, but can hinder creativity.

Read Full Article

I was actually playing with this exact idea, and I'm thrilled to see someone else grab it, too!

Canon can, over time, become a weight around the necks of creators. Not simply because each answer removes a question, but because when a fictional universe switches from being a universe to being a "brand," you start to have a requirement of certain identifying features in everything to ensure it's appropriately branded.

And Star Wars is the perfect property for pointing out the problems!

It used to be about a galaxy far, far away... tons of possibilities, tons of open-ended places to explore, new things to see and create. But at some point, shortly after KOTOR, it seems to have become verboten to introduce much new, original stuff into the SW universe.

Dude. It was a problem way before KOTOR. What in the world new got introduced in all those interminable '90s novels about evil Imperials? Even Zaan didn't break that much new ground. One species-- big deal, every series introduces at least one of them.

As a bit of a contrary EU fan, I'd say that the familiar elements aren't quite the problem. What SW does with them is the problem. What tends to bug me about SW lore is that every time you get some fairly brilliant person who writes something innovative, especially something that challenges established thinking on how shit works in SW, Lucas and his team come along and retcon the damn thing. Kreia? Sith. Sith, all along, obviously, or she wouldn't have had such divergent ideas about the Force. Vergere? Sith! Of course! Even when it makes absolutely no frelling sense. The NJO had all the familiar elements, and so did KOTOR II, but the tone was considerably different. A dirtier world, in all permutations of the word, and a much more thoughtful take on the Force. (And, in NJO's case, new enemies! I wanted to kiss the writers for that alone, I'm so tired of endless series about bad Imperials or bad Sith.) Kreia herself was a nearly Stoveresque mindfuck of a character, and the story she was part of was, IMO, a good example of what SW is capable of being, even with the Wookiees and all the other stylistic touches intact. (I think Zaan's Thrawn escaped the retconorama only by virtue of his not being Force-sensitive. Otherwise he'd be yet another Sith.)

Now that I think on it... I'm agreeing with you more than disagreeing. The familiar elements bug you, the "Jedi all squeaky good, everyone else uniformly bad" kind of kindergarten black-and-white thinking bug *me*. Taken together, they say "you can play in my universe, but you can't take risks with it-- and if you do, I'll just retcon them anyway". I can't blame the devs for finding that a straitjacket. Still... there are examples of how *interesting* that universe can be when someone who can write gets hold of it. It's just a shame we've had so few.

hence why I'm not a fan of prequels.....theres too much side stepping around to avoid clashign with cannon

AND certain elements can feel really disconnected at times

JoJo:

I say a novel / movie / game should always be able to stand on it's own without having to spend half it's time explaining to newer people what just happened, or require past series instalments to understand the basic plot.

I'd say this shouldnt apply to somthing in a "set" trilogy or seaquel....I mean if you pick up ME3 without playing the first two, you should be expected to be a bit confused..and if you honestly can;t be bothered to read the codex (which is right there..as it should be at least) then honestly thats too bad, the infomation is there and it shouldn't need to be spooonfed or have to sjust the story so newcomers don't get confused

one thing that pissed me off in ME3 when charachters would go into "recap" mode about the most basic bloody fact about the Mass Effect universe that MOST people would remember

The_Darkness:

And... I'll stop rambling about interesting intricacies of various games' canons now...

Well there was more then just that...

Korten12:

The_Darkness:

And... I'll stop rambling about interesting intricacies of various games' canons now...

Well there was more then just that...

Polarity27:
Still... there are examples of how *interesting* that universe can be when someone who can write gets hold of it. It's just a shame we've had so few.

Agreed completely.

I mean, look at HK-47: a breath of fresh air in the SW universe. Really, I hadn't seen a character like "him" in a SW property. Loved by many, lots of fun...

...and exhaustively overused since then. Take a good thing, overuse it, and then make copies. Again, look at The Old Republic, and you can get a droid assassin companion called HK-51. They couldn't even bring themselves to go more than four numbers away. Thousands of years of timeline and an entire galaxy to play in, and we get a four-number upgrade to an existing character?

I loved reading the X-Wing novel series (Stackpole), because it was different. The only well-known character was Wedge Antilles (and 'well-known' was still a stretch at that point). It was a different story with different characters and a different tone and different enemies and new looks at old planets and... then we had to cram a lightsaber in there.

It's branding. SW isn't a universe, it's a product. And just like any other brand, it has identifying features that absolutely must be present on every product. The bad guy ship must look like a Star Destroyer, and the good guy ship needs that Falcon-esque cockpit. And if the lightsaber-per-minute count gets too low, we'll forget it's Star Wars.

It should be noted that The Elder Scrolls has pretty much the same as Mass Effect.
All of the lore is in the world and for anyone to just read the crap out of it, and so much of it is completely forgotten about.

For example, did you know Bosimer have to eat the thing that they kill? Even if it kills them?
http://www.uesp.net/wiki/Lore:Green_Pact
I have never seen that mechanic in a game, ever.

One problem with continuity between games is that older games look older than newer ones. This may be a kind of Captain Obvious sort of thing to say, but who ever asks which is the best book to start with in The Dark Tower? The answer would almost universally be "the first one, of course." Writing has not advanced in any significant way in quite some time, nor is it likely to in the immediate future.

On the other hand, video games haven't gotten anywhere close to their technological apex yet. If someone asked where best to start with the Metal Gear series, and you will likely get more people recommending the PSX game than the MSX one. There was recently a thread on the Star Citizen forums asking which Wing Commander games they should play. The answers were all over the place.

Does anyone pay attention to the Metal Gear Lore anymore, I mean isn't he a Clone of a Clone now or some &^%&. The back Story of Snake isn't that important IMO anyway. He's a solder that's really go at his job, all we need to know.

The Legend of Zelda Time line is such a cluster ^%$& anyone who tries to make sense of it is going to need a bottle of aspirin. Seriously 3 different time lines just to try and make sense of it is absurd, just reboot it already. It's not like story matters much in Zelda games anyway the story always takes a back seat once you get started, and doesn't really come back to the end. Not like it really matters since just about every Zelda games story are pretty much interchangeable.

There I spoiled just about every Zelda story thought up by Nintendo.

shadowslayer81:
It should be noted that The Elder Scrolls has pretty much the same as Mass Effect.
All of the lore is in the world and for anyone to just read the crap out of it, and so much of it is completely forgotten about.

For example, did you know Bosimer have to eat the thing that they kill? Even if it kills them?
http://www.uesp.net/wiki/Lore:Green_Pact
I have never seen that mechanic in a game, ever.

I make all of my bosmer characters eat any animal (or in skyrim person) that they kill and they [b]NEVER[/b] eat any plant matter.
All about player choice in how to roleplay imo. Though I do wish more lore was put into effect or at least mentioned in the games outside of books.

Dastardly:
It used to be about a galaxy far, far away... tons of possibilities, tons of open-ended places to explore, new things to see and create. But at some point, shortly after KOTOR, it seems to have become verboten to introduce much new, original stuff into the SW universe.

Notice that now, pretty much every smuggler is a smug wise-ass with a heart of gold who happens to have an exotic alien companion. Even in The Old Republic -- and the companion is a wookiee, to boot. Every bounty hunter is a badass bad guy. Every crime lord is a Hutt. Exceptions are so rare that they almost seem flukes. Seriously, how big can a "galaxy" be if you keep running into the same six people everywhere you go?

And you visit the same six planets over and over and over again. And every non-Old Republic game has to have a cameo by Vader, or Yoda, or a Fett. Thank you for articulating my frustrations with the franchise.

And Mass Effect's relationship to its Codex entries is hardly a congruous one. The Codex entries imply this is a hard sci-fi setting, and describe how space combat works according to Newtonian physics at distances of thousands of kilometres. The gunnery chief lecturing the recruits on the Citadel in ME2 reinforces this. The space combat cutscenes in ME1 kind of reinforce this. But the space combat cutscenes in ME2 and ME3 just throw that out the window and go, "no, we're ditching hard sci-fi and going straight for pulp. World War II dogfighting in space FTW!"

I have no real sympathy for people who whine about being constrained by Lore.
If you don't want to be constrained by Lore, don't write it in the first place. Don't write things that are impossible to get around without some leap of logic or destruction of the core principles of the universe you've built.
People moan about how you can't create effective dramatic tension without creating insurmountable challenges, but frankly that's impossible anyway because the audience -knows- the problem will be resolved regardless of it's seeming impossibility, so you lose either way.
Also, it's completely possible for someone talented to create a cliffhanger that doesn't completely enrage people. ME1 did this perfectly, you were given a goal, you accomplished that goal, but all throughout the game were subtle hints that your goal might not be the end all be all of this universe, and lo and behold, at the end of the game, despite feeling gratified, you were still filled with a sense of impending dread, in a -perfect- state for the arrival of a sequel.
Games that have the big bad go MUAHAHAHA! From the top of his ivory tower then fly away in his bullshit escape machine that the Lore has previously said could not exist are the best example of the worst form of cliffhangers, and we've seen the sort of damage they do too franchises. If you don't feel like you're accomplishing anything, what is the point?

 

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