Blog: November 2009

Short Script: Deus Ex

This blog will not only serve to disseminate my opinions to whoever might be interested in them, but also as a repository for a series of Short Scripts on games. Some of you may be familiar with The Editing Room, a site that periodically posts abridged movie scripts which poke fun at recurrent flaws in their stories and presentation. I applied this idea to games and wrote up a quick script on one of my favourite games: Deus Ex. Because it was so fun to do, I plan to write more of these and post them here on an irregular basis. The Deus Ex script has been made available and can be viewed by clicking the link at the top of this post. I will also be using each accompanying post to briefly elaborate on (the story of) the game in question, beyond what the script itself touches on.

Opt-in depth

I'm not crying. My biomechanical eyes are leaking servo fluid.
I'm not crying. My biomechanical eyes are leaking servo fluid.
Note: this post was first made on the official forum of the Narrative Designer's Network. I'm reproducing it here with a few minor edits, because it nicely sums up my views on game narratives and flows into the point I made in my previous post. Be warned, it's a long one. [This post is about] the depth of a narrative in a game and how the concept of choice factors into that (I also branched out to characters on a whim). This argument is predominantly geared towards action games, partly because this is the genre I play the most. But since it is also a genre in which story plays a large role, I do not feel I am constraining my points. Throughout this piece, I draw examples from Half-Life 2, Deus Ex and Mirror’s Edge, so there are some spoilers for those who have not yet played these games.

What is Narrative Design?

Since this blog focuses primarily on the theory and practice of Narrative Design, it might be helpful to first explain exactly what that is. The term was first coined by Stephen E. Dinehart, who is a "transmedia designer, writer, artist, and Narrative Design evangelist". Having worked on games as diverse as Company Of Heroes, Warhammer 40,000 and Constantine, he certainly has the professional experience to back up his convictions. Stephen has recently founded the Narrative Designer's Network, a community for burgeoning and established Narrative Designers. A post made there goes a long way to explaining what it is a Narrative Designer does exactly, but looking beyond the responsibilities of the specific function, I'm going to delve into the overarching concept of Narrative Design.