And you thought narrative designers have to write some decent dialogs only and work independently of the team. Here’s enlightenment for you- a video game narrative designer is an integral part of any game development team. At least teams that are developing games that involve stories and narratives. A narrative designer game writer does not merely contribute towards a polished script. On the contrary, he is indispensable for the whole process. When you ask a narrative designer to join your team, you typically want them to be with you from start to finish. This results in a significant role for the person in the eventual story and gameplay. A writer and narrative designer plays a deciding role in the end player experience. The narrative designer needs to be there throughout the game development process. This is a pre-requisite to his and the game’s success.
(Featured Image Picture Courtesy: The Banner Saga-Stoic LLC)
Player- “I want the bounty!”
NPC- “Can you slay the design requirements monster?”
Narrative design for video games involves more than just writing dialogs and story. Much of a narrative designer’s work is all about game design. It is accurate to view a narrative designer as a writer who designs games or a game designer who writes as well! This is one key aspect in which a narrative designer has a different role than the writer of scripts and novels.
NPC- “But to slay the monster, you need the combination of the qualities of a wizard, paladin, and warrior!”
So, the narrative designer must be able to don many hats to be successful in his role. The roles that he must carry out with success fall with the following three buckets:
Writer and Narrative Designer– The Wizard of Words
The video game narrative designer is tasked with writing or at least supervising almost writing tasks needed to develop a game. This is not restricted to the writing that takes place in the development phase. Of course, it is during production that his role really comes into its own. He has to look after fame writing elements like:
- Character Dialog
- Text of game elements like books and notes
Basically, he has to do any type of writing associated with the game. This writing includes before and after the development of the game. It is the task of the narrative designer to track all the dialog as and when it evolves. He not only writes the scripts of the cut-scenes of the game but must scrutinize all game-related texts as well. Cut scenes are a crucial part of conveying the game narrative. This includes:
- Anything that can’t be conveyed through gameplay
If there is an audio dialog in the game, the narrative designer has even more roles. It is the narrative designer who knows the emotions and gameplay aspects best. Naturally, it is up to him to direct the voiceover recording sessions.
Designing the game- The Paladin Cometh
A good part of the tasks required of a narrative designer is actually game design work. This includes writing game documentation right from the initial conception phase. He or she is tasked with writing down the GDD or the game design document. The introductory level design documents are also his making. He needs to narrate the story through the events, situations, and settings in the game. This type of game design documentation has an unbreakable connection with the story. That makes the narrative designer the ideal person to carry out the task.
Syncing Operations and Activities- The Warrior and his Admirers
Given the nature of game development, syncing team activities is vital and vital. This interaction is the very basis of team functioning. The game story or narrative is one aspect of the process that overlaps with all of the roles and functions. It is, therefore, only natural that narrative designers have an essential role to play in this. They need to interact with all team members to achieve this. Often this is required of them daily. They collaborate with the game designer to guide in implementing story elements. Narrative designers guide character artists to create the visual representation of characters. He works with the Audio personnel of the team to achieve optimal audio effects. A narrative designer interacts with everyone daily to keep everything in sync.
So, what are you waiting for, slay the challenge posed by the narrative design task, and do it well! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter for more noble narrative design information and tips.