Narrative Incredibility

On every team, there needs to be that guy that will say “No,” that will stop ridiculous things from making it into the game. There needs to be somebody who’s role it is to be a check on the sanity, verisimilitude, and narrative cohesion of an idea. Someone that can remind people that a well-crafted narrative stands on its own without ridiculousness. A case in point is The Force Unleashed. There should have been someone to say, “An apprentice pulling down a star destroyer? I think that’s a little much. Let’s find a more creative way for him to bring down a star destroyer nonetheless,” or “Two different people get thrown through transparisteel windows and survive the vacuum of  space? Maybe that’s too far.” It wouldn’t have taken away from the fun and all the other believable powers the Apprentice has, and may have even lead to an interesting task or new game mechanic. When you do things that crazy, you need a really good explanation and it’s gotta be consistent with the rest of the world/universe. It can’t be over-the-top just for the sake of being over-the-top. It doesn’t mean at all you can’t surprise the player, it just means the player shouldn’t stop and go, “Wait, how did that just happen?” When I see something like that I feel like, “It’s OK guys [game developers], I’m enjoying the game. You didn’t need to do that.” An explanation could have been given for a Jedi surviving the vacuum of space—pressurizing himself (like a reverse Force Push), going into a meditative state to conserve air, and reaching out to their pilot through the Force—but it never was and was never even considered an unbelievable feat. We have to start at a nominal level of incredibility and make a good story there, and then intensify the story by going to where we can logically climb to. This doesn’t mean stories won’t ever reach amazing heights—people climb Mt. Everest all the time. But they don’t jump to the summit or just take a helicopter, they climb all the way there and earn the height of summitting.

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