What’s something that games have focused on a lot more in the past 10 years or so? The plot – and Wrack is about to be no different!
Games are evolving into a storytelling medium. Why is this? For one, stories are something that we’re hardwired to enjoy, and games can tell them reasonably well. Having interesting characters in diverse environments with engaging circumstances that move the plot forward are all things a game can fundamentally do. Between better technology and developers figuring out better storytelling techniques (ex. having NPCs yell the plot at you while you run around breaking crates with a crowbar), games’ ability to tell stories have only gotten better over the years.
But that’s not the big reason! The big reason is this: It’s a way to help games appeal to a broader audience. Games have typically been about skill building – fundamentally, we enjoy them because they’re helping us develop a skill that would aid us in survival, all while in a safe environment. It’s why we humans enjoy basic hunter/gatherer games (hunt/kill monsters, while gathering weapons/supplies), and cats enjoy chasing after toy mice – in each case, survival skills are being honed in a safe environment. All while you thought you were having silly, mindless fun playing “Tag!” as a kid – SURPRISE! – you were actually practicing evading predators so you didn’t become lunch for a sabre-toothed tiger.
So what’s the problem with that? Lack of universal appeal! Developing skills isn’t for everyone – it’s primarily for the young, and more likely male. But stories? Hell, everyone likes those! Just look at who comes out of a movie theater sometime – it’s not exactly just teenage boys. Game developers want to appeal to the same vast audience, so that’s part of why you see this trend.
Starting with our next update, Wrack will start presenting the plot within the game (of course, there’s always been a plot – it just hasn’t shown up in the game much)! We’re in the middle of having more characters designed, and plan on having some really cool artwork to go along with it. I really feel like this has been a huge step towards Wrack’s completion. Between the cutscenes and map intros (basically a more elaborate cutscene that plays when a map starts), the game feels much more complete. There’s an actual interest plot here that’s finally getting presented, along with a bunch of great three-dimensional characters. I’ve been having a blast writing out all the scenes, and can’t wait for the art for it to be all done!
It’s all shaping up very nicely so far, and I can’t wait to share the next update with you all! Stay tuned!