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Default The Banner Saga - Post-funding Update #34

May 31st, 2013, 02:32
There's a new post-funding update for The Banner Saga on Kickstarter. The topic of the update deals with the tools the team is using to make the game, the approach taken with story, the travel mode, and the camp.

Story is always hard to talk about when youíre developing a game. Frankly, we donít want you to know what the story is, but it sounds disingenuous when you just say ďWeíre working on it really hard! Honestly!Ē.

Worst of all, there are no screenshots about story. I apologize for this. But there are more screenshots afterward, so keep reading!

Weíre going to approach story from a broad level and Iíll make sure there are no spoilers.

So, letís discuss iteration a bit. As weíve mentioned previously, weíve been using Inkle Writer to help us draft the narrative. Itís an excellent tool, and theyíve recently released Sorcery! for iOS, which I wholeheartedly recommend checking out. In a previous update I showed screenshots of the some of the branching options in our first pass. Since then weíve written a second and third pass, and a serious merging of these passes into what is now, I believe, the final version of the story. The story is pretty much locked down at this point.

Why all this rewrite? There are a few reasons, some simple to understand and some complex. The simple reason is that writing usually involves editing. You have professional editors who go through a story, make notes, help the author move around and modify pieces of the story until it feels and reads well. In a lot of ways an editor is like a writing consultant or co-writer. They make a good story into a great story.

Games donít have editors. In fact, games often donít even have writers, they have designers or managers who moonlight as writers, because itís a game, right? Story isnít really that important as long as you firmly apply pressure to the compulsion loop part of the brain. At least, thatís how games often feel to me right now. Disclaimer: this is getting progressively better. I donít mean to look down on writing in games - in fact, it is this potential for greatness that drives us.

But even development studios lauded for their writing prowess usually donít get to do due diligence. Budgets and time constraints on something as complex as a video game mean that you get one chance to get it right. People with lead and director positions are expected to sit down and nail it on the first pitch, or just accept whatever mess theyíve made and run with it. Usually this means it could have been better. We donít have a published author writing for us at Stoic, nor a professional editor. But we do have a story-driven game, being written by someone who writes a lot and who wants to see the game industry flourish as a storytelling medium (itís THIS close), and a guy who acts like an editor even though he spends 10 hours a day being one of the best artists Iíve ever seen.

There are other difficulties. If you took a dozen of the worldís most accomplished authors and had them each work on a video game, I suspect theyíd mostly be terrible. In movies, writers become specialized enough to understand how film works, and how to make a screenplay. An author writes in the way that best suits the written format - you canít just take a book and translate it directly to the screen, you need someone who understands the intricacies of timing, pacing, visual narrative and brevity. They have to turn words into pictures that feel how the words did, and thatís not easy. The film industry has been getting pretty good at this.
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May 31st, 2013, 02:32
im comfortable that they realized these things. Now there is hope they will be used )
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