RMMV Looking for Feedback on Story

FirestormNeos

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So I'm going to start semi-fresh yet again for my project, except this time I want to have a full story outline (and therefore, the game's structure) before I "hit the new project button."

First thing's first; the game's introduction! For this, I have a particular opening in mind, but I can’t decide how I want the player to interact with it.

Summary of opening scene: Main antagonists raid the space station laboratory of an infamous mad scientist/goddess, and begin killing all of the scientists inside. The goddess sees this as the perfect opportunity to test-run a recently completed “ultimate weapon” (the player character, a person from Earth the goddess kidnapped and experimented upon) which she dedicated her life’s work to creating.

There are three different perspectives I could have the player see this from:
  • Scenario A- The Goddess’ Henchmen/Scientists: If I show the opening scene from this perspective, I want to start it sometime before the raid begins. I want to show just how bad the scientists had things before the main antagonists came along; how their boss, the goddess, treats them as disposable. The mental and emotional toll of the ethically-bankrupt experiments they’re forced to perform on unwilling test subjects. How dangerous the experiments often performed are (often working with plagues, wild mutant animals, unstable materials). When the raid starts proper, playing as the scientists should feel like the player is controlling a large group of individually-helpless characters that’s rapidly depleting as more and more of them are made victims of permadeath at the hands of the main antagonists. The objective is simple; one scientist has to make it to the control room overseeing the player character’s cryosleep chamber and awaken the player character amidst the chaos.
  • Scenario B- The Main Antagonist Soldiers: The main antagonists currently raiding the lab are a proto-typical JRPG party; specifically one with maxed out stats, gear, skills, triumphantly blazing through a final dungeon on their quest to defeat the evil mad scientist who runs the place. However, this is juxtaposed with how… vile said party members are. The party is basically pillaging and ransacking the place, taking everything that isn’t nailed down, killing anything that enters their peripheral vision for experience and loot, “mercy-killing” test subjects that-- while not liking their circumstances, sure --very clearly don’t want to die, and in general acting like a Spec Ops: The Line copycat gone horribly wrong. This rampage continues until the player directs the generic JRPG party into a chamber that looks like it’s where the final boss would usually be… only to instead be immediately curbstomped and permakilled anticlimactically in a forced-loss battle against the Player Character.
  • Scenario C- The Player Character: The player character wakes up in a strange laboratory chamber with no clue how they got there; the player character’s last memory was going to sleep in their bed at home. As the player character wanders the station in search of an exit, they come across the main antagonist’s carnage and devastation, as well as lab entries written in a language the player character is somehow able to understand despite only recalling to know English (and a little bit of Spanish from a class they took in high school); these entries detailing horrific surgical/magical/technological experiments carried out to create some sort of “ultimate weapon.” By the end of this little walk, the player character comes across escape pods, with what appears to be a generic JRPG party standing between the player character and the only means of escape off the laboratory. The generic JRPG party attacks the player; the player character-- not realizing they’ve been experimented upon --unwittingly kills the assailants in self-defense.
  • Combination AB- Start as scientists, then switch to antagonists. You play from the scientist's perspective of the lab raid first. Upon either running out of scientists or successfully waking up the player character, you switch to the antagonists' perspective of the attack, "fighting" every scientist you died as up until that point. If you never managed to wake up the player character as the scientists, the antagonists do it. Sequence ends with forced-loss fight against player character.
  • Combination AC- Start as scientists, then switch to player character. You play from the scientist's perspective for the first half of the lab raid. Game over upon running out of scientists. Switch to player character once the scientists wake up the player character, with the player character fighting the antagonist "JRPG team" as the game's first combat at the end of the player's half of the sequence.
  • Combination BC- Start as antagonists, then switch to player character. Perhaps the most simple of the combinations. Start as antagonists, eliminate all scientists, then switch to player character after the antagonists get killed in forced-loss fight. The rest of the sequence will be the player character just trying to leave as the rest of the main antagonist's forces are still wreaking havoc throughout the laboratory.
  • Combination ABC- Start as scientists, switch to antagonists, finish with player character. This would be the most development-intensive combination. Basically a mix between AB and BC.
  • Some other sort of hybrid of the above three perspectives, with details adjusted for consistency.

Which of these sounds the most appealing from a gameplay/story perspective?

Edit: For the rest of you, how would you feel about these various perspectives, gameplay-wise and story-wise?

I want to give a huge thank you to everyone for their thoughts, especially @RCXDan's comment, on the pointers for the game's introduction. I'm planning to revisit this thread again once I run into my next roadblock (which I know is going to happen at one point or another).
 
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Finnuval

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Though not the most original I would go with 2 with the only difference that I would hand over control to the player (as the protagonist) Just before that boss-like battle.
One prolly is the most original approach though.

Thats my two cents anyway.
 

lianderson

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Evening mortal. The altar and I have read your post while wearing our traditional robes of bones and plastic. The dark cocoa we drank while reading the letters you've chosen to create structures of communication were most creative. We found their coordinates on the grand graph of plots to be far better than we intentionally presumed. You have done mortal.

Our only critique is not a critique, but an enhancement of yourself. Your last question is incorrect. Do not seek our opinion, for all who read this are worthless to your question. You are the artist mortal. You are in control. If you feel the plot vibrate in harmony via a frequency only you hear, then that is the frequency you must attune too. Our frequencies are irrelevant to yours for considering ours too much makes yours lose its soul and social security number.

Good day human, and may this feedback not be feedback but instead feed that enhances your artistic journey.
 

FirestormNeos

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Evening mortal. The altar and I have read your post while wearing our traditional robes of bones and plastic. The dark cocoa we drank while reading the letters you've chosen to create structures of communication were most creative. We found their coordinates on the grand graph of plots to be far better than we intentionally presumed. You have done mortal.

Our only critique is not a critique, but an enhancement of yourself. Your last question is incorrect. Do not seek our opinion, for all who read this are worthless to your question. You are the artist mortal. You are in control. If you feel the plot vibrate in harmony via a frequency only you hear, then that is the frequency you must attune too. Our frequencies are irrelevant to yours for considering ours too much makes yours lose its soul and social security number.

Good day human, and may this feedback not be feedback but instead feed that enhances your artistic journey.
Thing is, any of these options are vibrating in harmony to me as eachother; throwing these ideas to the public simply gives me: A. a space to vocalize my ideas (there were originally more options, but I was able to narrow it down to these three), and B. helps contribute to the process of elimination (removing redundant frequencies and getting me closer to the "vibe" I actually want).
 

lianderson

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Your wisdom is most wise. Continue on mortal!
You are most murda.
 

xDRAGOONx

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If you're hoping to have a complete story outline before you begin your new project, I offer two dependent pieces of advice;

First, pick your theme. If you know your theme in advance, its much easier to notice when something in your story seems off-topic out of place or doesn't advance the story.

Second, write your ending first. When you decide on how you want your story to end, it's much easier to figure out how to get there.

That being said, pertaining to the topic of perspective, I like the idea of a mix of all 3. It would be interesting to start from the scientists' point of view as the antagonists break in and start slaughtering them. Then when the super soldier comes into play, you take control of the antagonists, only to lose miserably to the soon-to-be player character.
 

FirestormNeos

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First, pick your theme. If you know your theme in advance, its much easier to notice when something in your story seems off-topic out of place or doesn't advance the story.
Done.

Second, write your ending first. When you decide on how you want your story to end, it's much easier to figure out how to get there.
Good point. I'll do that while waiting for more responses to this thread.

That being said, pertaining to the topic of perspective, I like the idea of a mix of all 3. It would be interesting to start from the scientists' point of view as the antagonists break in and start slaughtering them. Then when the super soldier comes into play, you take control of the antagonists, only to lose miserably to the soon-to-be player character.
I should probably go into more detail with a pros and cons list of every option as well as every combination (A+B, A+C, B+C, A+B+C). Thank you for helping me realize this.
 

woootbm

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C is probably the most practical. It's the most consistent, so the player isn't getting thrown around in perspective and getting confused. It also gives you the best ability to explain the world to the player. Since the MC is somewhat of a blank slate, you can explain the world to the player and the MC at the same pace. Lastly, this one is the least work. For those other ones you'd have to whip up a bunch of characters and skills and sprites. Usually controllable player characters represent a fair amount of work. The less superfluous player characters, the lesser the workload.

It does run the risk of being the most generic. It's an amnesia story, and we've all seen that. And I'm also not a fan of the anime trope of "guy who hates fighting is awesome at it." But I think there's some solid story-telling merit in uncovering the disgusting nature of these science experiments and those who would try to stop them.

That's just the challenge of writing, though. Making stuff interesting.
 

FirestormNeos

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It does run the risk of being the most generic. It's an amnesia story, and we've all seen that.
Not sure if this discounts the project as an "amnesia story," but...

The player character was completely asleep/unconscious from the span of time between going to bed at home to waking up in the lab. The player character retains all memory of their identity and life before this happened. The only difference is that now the character now has magic/superpowers they got from what was basically a surgical experiment.

Additionally, what happened to the character is to be laid out and settled completely through optional "audio log"-equivalents in this opening sequence. Get it out of the way so the player isn't met with an exposition-heavy opening cutscene at the beginning or whatever.

And I'm also not a fan of the anime trope of "guy who hates fighting is awesome at it."
obligatory "iT's NoT aNiMe It'S sUpErHeRo MoViE."

The main character doesn't hate fighting per se; they've just never actually fought someone before up until that point, and they don't realize they have magic/superpowers now until they're first attacked. Were this an action or platformer game, I'd have a chase sequence with the player running away until they get trapped in a corner and the player character is finally forced to defend themselves.

The project I'm working on has two antagonist groups. I'm debating which one does the raiding (one iteration of this project had both of them raiding at the same time), but I know that the player character is terrified of fighting one of the antagonist groups (because the character thinks said group are the good guys when they very much aren't) until either the second half of the game or endgame (haven't gotten that far, but tl;dr the player character realizes what this group actually is, and as a result has no qualms fighting/killing them), while the other group the player character has no qualms whatsoever in killing.
 

RCXDan

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@FirestormNeos I'm willing to give my thoughts on more than one of the choices because they have merit for different reasons.

* Choice A: The least exciting as an opener. This is mostly because heavy lore like this needs to be delivered later after we've already gotten attached to the main character so it has a bigger impact. Also not through flashback - the best way to pull this sequence off is in mid-game where the character re-visits the desolate lab where he came out of, maybe throw in some optional "video recordings" detailing the processes behind each experiment. It tends to stick out more if the player pieces it together themselves vs. it being told in a big elaborate cutscene.

* Choice B: I am very fond of the "play as an extremely skilled group of people who aren't the main hero" schtick, but this is also a bad idea for an opener if they only exist to be killed. The fun comes in the form of seeing the skills, equipment and levels of the "fake" heroes, but if that's all there is to them and if they only become food for the dragon serve as fakeouts with all the dignity of horror movie protagonists (unlikable so the crowd doesn't feel bad when they die) then maybe don't do this.

It's a waste of potential to create elaborate characters only to get rid of them for a joke like ten minutes in, you know?

I'd give them at least a little bit of depth and maybe have them escape vs outright dying, especially since that opens up more opportunities.

* Choice C: Like woootbm said, the most solid choice on its own. If the character knows nothing, the audience knows nothing - making it a perfect way to introduce the world and setting. Even if they're the ultimate weapon that can wipe out a conventional party, I would have it so this power is very unstable for the protagonist (he just got handed something extremely powerful and has been an ordinary person before this, right? realistically he wouldn't be an instant expert at it) and they need to learn to keep it under control so it doesn't wind up hurting people they love or just randos on the street. This has an extreme amount of potential, especially if you decide to chase how the main character feels about this & how other people perceive him.

A combination of a revised B and C would be my optimal way of handling this.

(Also, a scientist goddess sounds badass. I can't help but imagine Palutena from Kid Icarus in a lab coat and glasses, though.)
 
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