Friday, 8 March 2013

Elements of game design, part three: character

Characters… Characters are kind of the main requirement for any film, book, game or story in general. I mean they act as the focal point of that visual story. I never said it can’t be a human or necessarily living character, but there must be at least one character that drives the story forward. I mean look at Rubber for example. It’s a story about a car tyre! Obviously the film makers knew that selling a video of a tyre just lying in the desert for almost 2 hours is nearly impossible. But they knew that if you gave that tyre telekinetic powers where it can blow things up with it’s… tyre… mind, then you have created a character with mystery and to be quite honest one of the weirdest films out there.

When you compare a character in a book, film or game, you may notice that they are in fact very similar. They usually have a very intricate and leading story in which a viewer, reader or player can follow and gives them depth. But this all largely depends on their genre. All of these media creators understand that a story can drag you into that world and push out thoughts of reality, and if they do it well enough it can lead to more story’s, more money and all together their one main goal… a franchise with a fan base.

The characters I enjoy in games and films however, have to be the classic action/war hero, and also, clever genius’. I like to play as a hero as I like to feel like I’m in that world for a reason. Usually being a powerful war veteran or an assassin fighting for a cause, you can find yourself being led along a path through the story. Elements around a free roam world or background dialogue in a game can lead to understanding the character and the story even more and it leads players to want to find this out.

I mean looking at a character such as Vaas Montenegro from Far Cry 3, you can see that a lot of work went into him, not looking like a lean and fear evoking leader of pirates, but bringing out the fear in the player by making Vaas insane and very unpredictable. Every encounter with him makes you feel on edge as it keeps you second guessing a somewhat obvious outcome. They also made him somewhat chillingly realistic, in the sense that it could actually be a real person. And when you witness him kill your playable character, Jason’s brother, you somewhat feel Jason’s anger and sense for revenge, which swallows you into the adventure.

I feel its many elements which brings this together. With the acting of Michael Mando through motion capture being so superb, his amazing interpretation of the script and the style of an insane pirate accurately being portrayed, I think that this adds depth to one of the best characters out there. For a game to be able to produce a better character than many films out there, it’s no surprise as to why more and more people are playing games and giving these franchises such large fan bases.  

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