Multiple protagonists?


#1

Hi,
I’ve been working on the early stages of a WIP, I’ve been wondering if people would be okay with playing as more than one main character? The intention being you experience a different point of view from another character’s perspective. For example, a game set during a war. You could play as a character serving at the frontline, experience the hardships and emotions from being so close to the action. Then switch over to a character in the home-country far way from direct danger but dealing with homefront issues like economical plight and national interest. The game would still be filled with choices and customization like other Choice games and there would be narrative reason for why the characters are in the same universe and perhaps they would be connected deeper either through family ties, possible lovers, friends or each characters choices can effect or impact the other player controlled character. Thanks for reading, feel free to share your thoughts.


#2

Kind of like GTA 5 with the whole switching between protagonists thing.

I’m down for that.You don’t see a lot of Choice of Games with a feature as unique as this. It would be refreshing for a change.


#3

A lot of great games like Heavy Rain really benefit from multiple characters, and I know the Spanish Civil War based Hosted game did something like this, so it’s a great idea as long as you think it works. :slight_smile:


#4

Well, as long we don’t have too many of them, I suppose it’s fine. It’d be an eye-opener. However, I should say that, be careful if you want to change to a perspective that only lasts one or two pages, then disappears, never to be seen or heard of again. It helps if your players can get attached, so to say, to your protagonists.


#5

If you have not yet looked at the Hosted title: Divided We Fall in which you have four protagonists you should. This is one of the best games published to date. You can get an idea of what works and the coding done with it. This game does exactly what you say you desire you want to do with switching from different areas within the Spanish Civil War - in this case four different areas and your decisions effect those elements of the civil war.

As with all literary devises, the ultimate success will be a result of your deployment and execution of your chosen poison.

As an author coding the game, it might be more complicated keeping track of stats and decisions made.


#6

You have to plan a work like this carefully to avoid what’s called “combinatorial explosion”.

You have a great story, and you want to give the player a choice of what character to play. They can choose from one of six, and you’re going to have different elements of the plot occur for each. So if your plot branches early, you end up writing six versions of the same plot and lots of words not everyone will see.

Then you decide “oh, I want it to be possible to become a werewolf!” so now each character has another side track, and you have to write the plot six more times from a werewolf’s perspective from each of six character points of view.

Without going further, you can probably see how this will potentially exhaust an author even without adding even more split variables into the mix.

That’s not to say you can’t write a story with six characters who might become werewolves…you just have to pre plan it carefully and cleverly so you’re not writing the story 12+ times over to account for every variation and hundreds of thousands of words that every player won’t see.

Good luck!!!


#7

I think that this is a perfectly viable storytelling method, but realistically it should be deployed to maximise the emotional connection with the other character, rather than to move the action somewhere else. Things that happen to one character should affect the other and vice versa.

I actually had a little experiment with this particular idea in my own WiP where the original protagonist is killed shortly after being established, and the new protagonist spends the rest of the game in their figurative shadow. Thus far the reactions have been mostly positive.

Well… in the sense that most people said ‘That was very upsetting. You have successfully upset me’.

Which I suppose was kind of my goal.

Perhaps you should link your characters by time rather than space. Have one character playing a soldier during a war and one character playing someone reconstructing after the war, and have the two characters affect one another.

Although that might be a little high-concept. I’m already seeing time-travel permutations where you remember something the future character said and apply it to the past character’s life, and then the two characters realise that they’re interfering in their own timelines and rewriting history and now I can’t stop please send help.


The Myrmidon (WIP) (Minor update 03/10/2017)
#8

Thank you all for your kind input.


#9

You could pull it off, I imagine. Look for Champion of the Gods, it does something like it near the end.


#10

Two or three protagonists, and you develop them thoroughly. I think it could work.

But you will have to make them set-characters, instead of the usual ‘create your own character’.