Author Topic: Is there backstory for the henchmen?  (Read 2322 times)

Offline Knightlord64

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Is there backstory for the henchmen?
« on: February 04, 2013, 06:27:34 AM »
Sorry if this is listed in the game somewhere. I'm curious for the backstory of each of the henchmen, and I can't seem to find any mention of them anywhere(especially curious about Elder). From their dialogue I can figure out who has which job, but is there anything on the henchmen themselves?

Offline MouldyK

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Re: Is there backstory for the henchmen?
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2013, 07:04:21 AM »
Don't think so, but there needs to be.

Maybe in my long-suggested Bestiary.

Offline Pepisolo

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Re: Is there backstory for the henchmen?
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2013, 07:57:41 AM »
There's not much. One of my remaining gripes about this game is that the story is pretty weak. The writing, in particular, is just too irreverent. Some of it is downright cheesy. Your dialogues with the henchmen should be longer, more meaningful, and should expand on the backstory a lot more.

At the moment, the henchmen are basically just five big badasses out to git ya.

Offline madcow

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Re: Is there backstory for the henchmen?
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2013, 08:46:14 AM »
I agree hat he dialogue is overly cheesy. I don't necessarily think its a bad thing, it comes off as an ode to 80s games and he sort of dialogues they have. Though if that was the intention or not is something else entirely...

I wouldn't mind a shift to a serious/dark story, but it can definitely wait for post release.  I do think the current one is endearingly humorous though.

Offline x4000

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Re: Is there backstory for the henchmen?
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2013, 09:00:33 AM »
Yes, there is backstory for all the henchmen.  However, it's not spelled out in great depth in the game (where's the fun in that?).  You can piece a lot of it together from the various bits of dialogue and stuff, however, and more about Elder in particular will be revealed in the game ending cutscene.
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Offline Pepisolo

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Re: Is there backstory for the henchmen?
« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2013, 09:45:51 AM »
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You can piece a lot of it together from the various bits of dialogue and stuff, however

Just to offer some feedback on this. The only things that I've managed to piece together really are that Wordrak was the recruiter, Lilith and Fanzara were the trainers, and Eldar has some kind of extra power that makes him immortal. Most of the other dialogue seems like stuff like "You betrayed me... die punk!" or "I'll be back".

The most interesting bit of writing I've encountered is "We know what you did to Tom and Varssu, and I know they went along with it willingly. And we gained so much by their sacrifice. Still... I wonder how you could bear to do it?" which hints at some of the terrible things the hero has had to do to get to this position. More of this kind of writing would be nice. More exploration of the themes of guilt, betrayal and sacrifice would elevate the story somewhat.



Offline x4000

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Re: Is there backstory for the henchmen?
« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2013, 09:55:36 AM »
These are good points, the fight dialogue should instead focus on all the interpersonal stuff that was mapped out.  I wasn't sure where I was going to stick all that, and so we went with somewhat more generic fight dialogue to start with, but it's really not appropriate.
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Offline Pepisolo

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Re: Is there backstory for the henchmen?
« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2013, 10:10:24 AM »
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These are good points, the fight dialogue should instead focus on all the interpersonal stuff that was mapped out.

If you already have some of this interpersonal stuff ready to go, then great, I'm sure it'll add a lot more interest and meaning to the boss dialogues.

Oh, one small question. Are you even willing to entertain the idea of rewrites to some of your existing dialogue/text? I'm not really asking for myself as my writing skills are not amazing, but I'm sure there are people on the forum who might be able to rewrite the occasional piece here and there to improve things a little.

Offline x4000

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Re: Is there backstory for the henchmen?
« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2013, 10:13:31 AM »
Generally I like to hold the writing stuff pretty close to the vest.  If I wasn't a game developer, I'd be a novelist.  I nearly got an agent for one of my novels, but I gave it up temporarily while I pursued this instead.  At some point I'll return to doing occasional novels, though game development will always be my main gig if I can help it.
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Offline Misery

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Re: Is there backstory for the henchmen?
« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2013, 10:17:30 AM »
To offer another perspective on the story:


Normally, I'm not much into story stuff in many games.... I can thank Square for that, with the convoluted emo-tastic gibberish that the FF series often is.  Not to mention that story stuff in those tends to be REALLY DRAWN OUT.   Just....  agh!   Cutscenes!   So many!

I have no problems with the idea of story in games in general.... I actually read a ton of books of various genres, so I really do like a good story when it's told well.   But so many games, particularly on consoles, just cannot manage this.   So, both on console and PC, I tend to stick with games that really arent big on it (or in some cases, have almost no story at all), figuring that when I'm in the mood for a good story, I've got my piles of books to read.

All of that being said, so far I've found the story in this game to be holding my interest pretty well.   The writing isnt always perfect, BUT, it's often entertaining, and it is shortish and more importantly, it GETS ITS POINT ACROSS, without taking 20 bloody minutes to say something that COULD be said in 2 minutes.    It clearly gets across the theme of sacrifice, of what everyone had to do and go through to get the player the Oblivion Crystal, and also conveys a bit of a sense of hope mixed with despair, as the group knows that while they have the means to win now, Demonaica is still stupidly powerful and has pretty much all of the advantages.

Though, indeed, some things could be fleshed out a bit more; the background on the henchmen, and on Demonaica himself for that matter (the most I know about him where I'm at is "Big evil jerk, has mysterious uber-crystal of immortality which he got from who knows where"), but also some more stuff about the world in general.   The first game brought up some things about the world like the Ilari, and of course the mysterious and deadly wind, among other things, but the second game doesnt seem to say all of that much in regards to the surrounding world, or things of that nature.   

Or at least, it doesnt say much yet;  I *still* need to actually finish the game, I've ended up restarting a whole pile of times for all sorts of reasons, so while I've played this quite a lot now I havent seen the end, so there might be more exploring of those ideas near the end bits, but of what I've seen so far, those are some of my own thoughts on it.

Offline x4000

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Re: Is there backstory for the henchmen?
« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2013, 10:20:37 AM »
Cheers, I appreciate it -- and yeah, brevity is one thing that I think is really lacking in most game stories these days.  Exposition dumps are incredibly bad form, and from a narrative sense so are things like just including random backstory bits in encyclopedias, etc.  That works well if you're cataloging something for a huge existing universe (think Star Wars) for people to be reminded of.   But it's not something that you do for introducing someone to ideas the first time if you want it to be at all satisfying.

The end of the game cutscene isn't there at the moment, so really the end of the game is very incomplete, FYI.  You haven't missed much there.
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Offline madcow

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Re: Is there backstory for the henchmen?
« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2013, 10:53:33 AM »
In terms of story in games, that actually tends to be one of my favorite facets (when done well), I tend to really like it and seeing what happens next can in some games keep me playing.

Valley 2 doesn't really have that, and as I said already its lacking/cheesy to the point that I am sort of amused by it.

Having said that, a real attempt at story telling would be cool, it's he middle ground between extremes that worries me! I would say the best way to do it is pop-up dialogues that don't pause the game.  For instance when first approaching a wind generator the character might mention the irony of how he put it up to wear down the resistance, and now he's tearing it down.  Stuff like that in the original break out of the overlord's tower would be good as well. It's really thrown at you without much explanation what's going on.

Another thing is that if I hadn't played valley 1, I probably wouldn't know why the winds so bad, what the cataclysm is (or that it even happened), etc.

A flat out encyclopedia of it wouldn't work, but I think if the initial dialogue on entering a region was a retelling of the story of joining demonica and what he did it would be stronger (one line of the story eaxh region). Rather than the cheesy throw away lines that are already there.

Again, I think the cheesy throwaway lines has its own charm, but as a huge story fan - the other extreme of hardcore story is great.  Where games break down is when it feels like they have both.

One last thing, outright explaining everything doesn't need to be done, referencing hints in a way that you can infer it really draws you in.  I've heard the game dishonored did this as an example (not played the game myself).  The best writing example I can honk of is actually the show The Wire.  It had a great dialogue and drew you in precisely because it doesn't outright say everything, but feels organic and leaves you to understand what's going on.

This post is getting longer than I expected!  And pardon any typos, as I'm writing it on my phone.  Long story short on the writing. I would love it either really good, or really bad - a mix of both wouldn't work.

Offline Pepisolo

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Re: Is there backstory for the henchmen?
« Reply #12 on: February 04, 2013, 10:58:32 AM »

Quote
Generally I like to hold the writing stuff pretty close to the vest.  If I wasn't a game developer, I'd be a novelist.  I nearly got an agent for one
of my novels, but I gave it up temporarily while I pursued this instead.  At some point I'll return to doing occasional novels, though game development will
always be my main gig if I can help it.

I can understand that. I'm partly interested in this due to being involved in a collaborative text adventure, which came out quite well. It must have had 50
plus different authors, so I thought that a little crowd sourced writing might benefit the game somewhat. Also, partly because currently you have your
programmers hat well and truly affixed to your head, and so I thought that you probably wouldn't have much time with your writers hat on, so a little extra
help wouldn't go amiss. I can see that you might want to keep the writing personal, though.

Quote
All of that being said, so far I've found the story in this game to be holding my interest pretty well.   The writing isnt always perfect, BUT, it's
often entertaining, and it is shortish and more importantly, it GETS ITS POINT ACROSS, without taking 20 bloody minutes to say something that COULD be said
in 2 minutes.    It clearly gets across the theme of sacrifice, of what everyone had to do and go through to get the player the Oblivion Crystal, and also
conveys a bit of a sense of hope mixed with despair, as the group knows that while they have the means to win now, Demonaica is still stupidly powerful and
has pretty much all of the advantages.

I agree that the writing gets its point across -- unfortunately, that's pretty much all it does for me, aside from injecting the occasional bit of cheesy humour. I don't get any sense of emotion or poignancy from it. I don't look upon the survivors as anything more than board game pieces, and the bosses as anything more than obstacles to be smashed. The writing gets the player from A to B. That pretty much sums up my current feelings on the story.

Offline madcow

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Re: Is there backstory for the henchmen?
« Reply #13 on: February 04, 2013, 11:20:54 AM »
I just realized my comment of hinting at things without outright saying and retelling the story of joining demonica are at odds ;)

I like the idea of the narrative piece wise at he beginning of region telling a story, even if its by hinting at one.  If there's an attempt to make things more serious, the first thing to get gutted needs to be those.  They're very cheesy and throwaway.  The second change would need to be to the opening, it doesn't need a cutscene, but it could use something.  The third part to need change would be boss fight dialogues.

Offline Bluddy

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Re: Is there backstory for the henchmen?
« Reply #14 on: February 04, 2013, 12:11:37 PM »
One of the issues I see in the game is that the player has no idea that each region is supposed to be from a different time period. In the first game, the clear borders between regions gave you some of that feel, but even there it was missing. There's nothing in this game that really suggests the whole jumbled timeline narrative device -- it just seems like each tile is naturally different, as it would be on a 'real' map. As a result, there's no sense (IMO) that monsters come from different time periods. Instead, it feels more like the devs just got high and thought up an eclectic collection of monsters.