Occasional perspective switch


#1

I am curious what people think about a story where the reader occasionally is switched to the perspective of another character, possibly even an antagonist before returning to their mc. Thoughts?


#2

I think a perspective change could be used in really interesting ways if it’s justified mechanically: for example, a character is trapped on one side of a door and the other character on the other, and their actions working together/switching back and forth affect the outcome of the situation. Champion of the Gods is the only one that I know that does this, but the perspective change comes so abruptly and without warning that I think some readers actually don’t realize it changed until later.

I think when there’s a perspective change between characters that are at odds with each other (for example, a protagonist and an antagonist who hates them), it can be more nuanced to see both sides of the story, but it can also be extremely hard to pull off. Readers will generally side with one character or the other if they’re opposed, so it would be very difficult to force them to play as the antagonist and make choices that could potentially harm the protagonist.

That’s just my two cents, anyway!


#3

What if it’s just temporary, with maybe just one or two choices before reverting? Just to give a glimpse of the other side?


#4

Maybe if it’s written in third-person? With first and second-person, I’m identifying with my character. I am my character, and I’m not especially interested in what the antagonist is thinking or feeling. I may want to understand their motives, but I’d rather discover that through conversation or investigation. I’m not especially interested in walking a mile in their shoes. Even in novels, I usually groan whenever the perspective switches to secondary characters.

Additionally, it can be difficult to even tell which character you’re in if you’re switching around with first or second-person; “I” and “You” don’t give a lot of information post-switch, whereas third-person frequently uses the names of the characters. There are ways around that–chapter headers with a labeled perspective, having other characters refer to you by name somewhat frequently, etc.–but it’s something you’ll have to constantly keep track of.

I’m sure you’ll find your audience if you have a strong idea and strong execution, though! It’s just not a technique that holds much personal appeal for me as a player.


#5

I might try the third person then, keep it brief. I just want to give a little insight into one or two antagonists who the mc might not end up talking much with if at all if the player plays aggressively.


#6

Depends on how it’s handled for me. Can be interesting, but it might not mesh well with the rest of the story.


#7

This! I am irritated to no end by games that suddenly have me as someone else, I want to be MY character, not someone else :rage: I don’t mind being privy to someone else’s thoughts or actions when I’m not actually there, but if it’s 1st person then I loathe it.


#8

You could have an NPC tell a story to the protagonist, that you then play in 1st person.