Rampant Games - Indie Roundtable #3
Rampant Coyote's Indies of the Round Table again tracks down Thomas Riegsecker, Stevel Peeler, Vince D. Weller, Jason Compton and others and this time asks about emotion in RPGs. Vince's famous sarcasm is on offer for those wanting a laugh but let's take a serious answer from Jason Compton, because we don't get to hear enough about The Broken Hourglass these days (yes, that's a hint ;) ):
Yes, we're certainly looking to evoke emotional responses. There are a number of reasons to play a game through to completion (and then come back and play it again), including dogged determination, curiosity about "what's behind the next corner?", new rules exploits to try, and so forth... but one of the most enduring reasons are characters that players enjoy interacting with and responding to.
We're using a number of devices to that end. We put the PC in a situation where they have to make a crucial decision early on which should provoke an emotional response. We give joinable NPCs a range of motivations and priorities, ways to explore their own stories and in some cases romantic entanglements.
I'm not sure there's any particular emotion we're actively *avoiding*. The real trick is to avoid harping too much on emotional themes of despair and loss. Finding a way to pace humor, friendship, and romance in the midst of death and destruction is hard enough in linear media, considerably moreso when the pace and the sequence of the story are to some extent controlled by the player's whim. So we'll see how well it all works out.