The May’s Issue of Develop Magazine contains a very interesting article about the interactive dialogue on Heavy Rain. Take a look:
With the success of Heavy Rain, narrative is once again thrust to the forefront of game development. Like casual and social gaming have recently done in their own areas of the gaming spectrum, Heavy Rain has broadened the interactive experience in what has traditionally been regarded as the ‘hardcore’ arena. The lines that define what makes a game have been blurred once more, but what might it mean for developers in general and game writers in particular?
If the industry is to embrace stronger, character-driven narrative without abandoning the heart of what makes a great game – solid gameplay – how might we approach it? How can we structure interactive scenes and dialogue in a way to give the player gameplay control without becoming overwhelmed at the writing stage?
The key to a writer of interactive dialogue keeping control of the writing process and feeding into the game’s design and development in a constructive way is twofold. Firstly, a writer should learn to think through the structure of interactive scenes in terms of Boolean variables and secondly, they should abandon all thoughts of dialogue trees.
Although I’m aiming this article primarily at game writers, it is also intended for anyone involved in developing the structure of interactive dialogue scenes. Designers, for instance, may not have the job of writing the dialogue in the scenes, but understanding and working with the structure is important, particularly if they are the ones who need to track down and fix bugs later in the game’s production and development.
How much interactive dialogue a game needs or the degree to which it is implemented depends very much on the requirements of the game. This approach to interactive dialogue should always be a part of the overall development with the importance of its role defined by the team’s creative leads.
Download: Develop 105 – May Issue