RMMV Should all party members bewritgen as main characters?

Discussion in 'Game Ideas and Prototypes' started by gigaswardblade, Jan 13, 2019.

  1. gigaswardblade

    gigaswardblade narcisistic narcoleptic Veteran

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    I was struggling for a while on how to make the 12 party members for one of my games all feel unique and important, but for some reason, I just can’t think of unique enough personalities and motivations for all of them. People have told me in the past to just get rid of them if I can’t give them unique enough characteristics, but I dont think I could bring myself to do that. And seeing as how I’m an antisocial millennial with Asperger’s syndrome, it makes it a lot harder for me to give each character they’re own identities outside of basic tropes.

    So then it suddenly dawned on me. Do they even need to all be main characters? I mean, some of the party members in the game are just sorta there because someone they know is in the party as well. For example, one character is the familiar of another character, one character idolizes another character and is under their training, and one character joins just kuz they’re cousin is there and just wants to help them with things. There’s also the fact that it feels like I have too many “goody two shoes” characters. One character feels like they’re a combination of 3 other characters. I was thinking of changing they’re personality to be a little more self centered and lazy, but that wouldn’t feel right and wouldn’t be fitting for they’re profession. I’ll quickly list off what I have so far in the character section.

    We got the scoundrel whose in it for himself but later becomes more friendly towards his group.

    The heroic boy who will do anything to defend his loved ones no matter the cost.

    The young summoner who is up tight and egotistical but is secretly jealous of everyone around her but eventually overcomes that and becomes more kind.

    The familiar of said summoner who looks up to her and is extremely loyal to her to the point where she will literally do anything she wishes.

    The aspiring young tomboyish warrior whose out to prove her worth as a fighter and wishes to become more powerful by any means.

    The young master who is trying to keep the legacy of her family alive by teaching the party all she knows with discipline and realism, she also acts almost like a mother to them.

    The next in line princess of a mysterious animal kingdom who is very friendly and energetic, but doesn’t feel like she’s ready to become a leader for her people yet.

    The young village girl who serves the goddess of peace and wants to see her friends safe, is friendly but a little shy (this is the one I was saying felt like a mix between 2 characters) joins because of an object that only she can use to seek out corruption and destroy it.

    The suave ladies man who in reality is just some wannabe and is very insicure, but will do anything to protect his younger sister from danger.

    The cold and calculating younger sister of mr suave who often keeps her brother in check and has these crystals that change her personality along with her moves (playful, nagging, kind, and psycho)

    The energetic young maid who is a relative to the hero boy who wants to be a maid for this rich dude but is practicing with the party, who single handedly is able to do all the chores for the party.

    And finally, the girl who was once used as a slave by a crime boss for her powers and was set free by the party, she’s very shy around people and feels like she’s to blame for what happened to her, but she eventually is able to overcome it a bit and join the party in battle to use her powers for good.

    Hopefully this is the right place to post stuff like this. I may have been on this site for a few years now, but I still haven’t gotten used to the rules of each category and what classified as worthy of its own post. But hopefully someone can help me out here. I’m still deep within the workings of the game and I probably won’t have it finished for a few more years. I also have a dew projects before hand as well, so there’s that too. Let me know if there’s anything I can do to make each character more individual and if it’s really necessary for all of them to be main characters.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2019
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  2. gstv87

    gstv87 Veteran Veteran

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    if the game doesn't feature individual arcs and gameplay situations for each individual character, then there's no point in writing them as playable characters.

    I'm not saying they shouldn't *develop*, I'm saying there's no point in making that development playable, unless there's actual play material for it to feature.
    you can still develop a character through dialogues with the main character, but never get to see what happens (or how it happens) off screen.

    for that development to be playable, you'll probably require considerably more maps and scenarios for those characters to navigate (if you feature, say, flashback scenes, or manageable parties, or alternate timelines), so, that's up to your expertise or planned scope for your game.
     
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  3. gigaswardblade

    gigaswardblade narcisistic narcoleptic Veteran

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    i was gonna do a thing somewhat similar to xenoblade where you will find certain areas in the game where you'll get an interaction with specific characters. doing so will not only develop the characters, but you get free EXP for doing so. also there are 5 chapters in the game and usually they focus on 2 or 3 character arcs.

    like for example, in chapter 4 the summoner girl is revealed to have a demonic seed planted in her that feeds off of her envy. amd that the seed was the reason why she isnt physically growing or why her powers are so limited compared to everyone else, because the demon wanted to make her as envious as possible. she then starts being posessed by the demon that put it on her and her familiar has no choice but to join her, but eventually her familiar and all her other friends are able to snap her out of her trance and she unlocks the power to summon a super powerful monster to slay the demon. after all that, she apologies for all the tiems shes been rude to her friends and becomes a bit more happy afterwords. (and even grows a whole inch the next night)

    also i forgot to mention this in the post, but there are 12 characters because of game mechanics. there are 12 weapon types and 12 elements so of course there's gonna be 12 characters to represent each one.
     
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  4. artoni

    artoni Writer, Editor Veteran

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    If you're going to write a ton of party members, I'd suggest you look at other games that did it well; FF6 comes to mind for me. While there were some characters who didn't have as strong a story arc (Gogo, Umaro), the greater majority of them had *some* sort of storyline.

    Even with mine - 8 - I'll admit certain characters have stronger arcs than the others. Nonetheless, each of them is definitely a 'main' character, insomuch as without them, it's arguable the quest wouldn't succeed. (And for the main protagonist, there would /be/ no story in the first place!)

    I think your setup has a decent chance of working, but it depends on your skill level of writing a story. It might be useful to write a quick paragraph or two about where you want each character's arc to go/what you think some themes could be, and go from there. (Eg - I try and summarize each character's arc in to one or two phrases. For one, that's dealing with trauma and learning self-forgiveness; another simply has cementing a personal morality)

    Also, for the record? I have Aspergers as well. It doesn't mean you can't do something, just that sometimes we gotta work a little harder - but trust me when I say it can pay off in the end. ;)
     
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  5. Finnuval

    Finnuval World (his)story builder and barrel of ideas Veteran

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    Full-blown autism here so... might be harder but not impossible to do stuff ;)
    As for the characters: To me each character should have their own importance (and thus (minimal) story-arc) to make them worth while. What you have now on each of them is extremely minimal and basic, I would suggest giving each of them a reason for being who/what they are to begin with. What gave them their drive? What upbringing did they have? etc. From there you can think about what possible story-arcs they could have and/or should have.
    Sure, not every character needs to be as defined as the other but they do need to be 'individuals' at the very least beyond their 'desire and drive' , know what I mean?

    If you need help with developing them more feel free to PM me and we can see if we can breath some more life into them ;)
     
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  6. bgillisp

    bgillisp Global Moderators Global Mod

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    My game originally was going to have 16 playable characters, so I feel your pain. What I did was I wrote the plot first, and then I saw who had minimal role in the final game? Those that had minimal role were deleted from the party, or in a couple cases moved to an important NPC role instead of a party member. For example, one of them runs the main hub and contacts the party with updates while you are off doing your mission for that Chapter.

    However, there is another issue you will face with a huge number of characters. How do you make them interesting to use in battle too? That was the other reason I cut my party down as my game had only 11 classes, so there were 5 overlaps. In the end I decided on 11 in the party, so that there is one character of each class only.

    Here's what I got in my game too if it helps with ideas. I'll put them in spoilers:

    Alex: Main character. Used to serve in the army, so sometimes is very direct. Because of this he is put in charge of the party early.
    Sarah: The thief of the party, she also likes to speak her mind, even if you don't want to hear it.
    Liana: The healer. Knows about everything you want to know about geography. She's the one who fills in the party on details of where they are when they first arrive at new and unfamiliar locations.
    Cedric: Liana's bodyguard. Loves food, and is always seen eating at the campfire.
    Josie: The energetic cheerleader. She is the hyperactive character, and it shows. Knows many random trivia facts.
    Kira: Reporter for the newspaper, out to get a story. She's kind of quiet, but does tend to help refocus the party when they start to get offtopic.
    Padrin: Kira's bodyguard. Little else is known about him at first. The archer and hunter of the party.
    Savina: Necromancer who helps the party in the game. Very direct and blunt, though somehow her and Josie managed to become good friends 5 years ago and still are to this day.
    Renee: Elementalist who gets tangled up in things. Involved with a secret project the party has to learn about mid game.
    Elliot: Friend of Alex's, but got very wealthy via high sales at potion shops recently. Looking our for the cash flow of the party.
    Jarvis: Brawler that is always looking for a fight, even if the party would rather not.
     
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  7. Mr. Detective

    Mr. Detective NATO Special Operative Veteran

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    By default, every one of your party members should be vital to the main story, aka "main characters" or they probably should not be playable to begin with. At least, more important than other non-playable main characters. :stickytongue: Exception exists, like in FF13-2, in which one of your party member is a monster you collected. But here, you intend all these playable characters to have actual background story and personality. Depending on your skills and experience, it might not be a good idea to have too many party members.

    Are these characters really vital to the story, to the point that they are playable? If not, why are they in your party to begin with? Why is a random X character travelling with the main hero?

    And then, you have to come up with ways to make them interesting to play as. Who wants to use a princess who can only use healing skills, instead of a mage who can both heal and buff? :rolleyes: Having a little too many playable characters is not really a bad thing, as long as you can make up some sort of background story to justify why they are in your party to begin with. But having them stand out and be distinguishable is more important.
    For example: Riku from FFX. Riku wasn't a terrible character. She was vital to the plot. However, I found her useless for 90% of the game because she barely had any useful skills or attacks. She should be a main character, yes, but whether or not she should be playable is debatable to me. o_O
    Example 2: Hyperdimension Neptunia franchise. Most of the games in this franchise have many playable characters, each with distinguishable personality, movesets, and skills. Some of the playable characters felt... kind of not very important to the main story, but their unique personality, skills, and design made it pleasant to use them in my party.

    Give them memorable background story and develop their characters. Give the players a reason to care about whether they die or live. I remember Conan once played GTA 5, and this guy named Wade died during a mission. He didn't care because he knew this guy Wade for no more than 10 seconds.

    You have a good idea, there. Having conversations that are exclusive to a certain character can encourage players to switch to different character. But what if they don't realize that a certain area or conversation can be triggered only to a particular character? :confused:

    You can look at Tales of Xillia 2 for inspiration. That game has sidequests that are exclusive to every playable character and they tell the players what each character has been doing and what they struggle with during the course of the game. Not only does this help the players feel more connected to the cast, but also let them know more about the state of affairs of the world the game is set in. Also: God Eater 2, Persona 3-4.

    One last thing: the more characters there are, the longer it takes to level up the whole party. Keep that in mind when you balance your game.

    tl;dr: give your party members either good background story, or unique characteristics to make them stand out and memorable to the players. It's not encouraged to have too many party members, but it's not exactly a bad thing, as long as they have something interesting and memorable. :cool:
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2019
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  8. artoni

    artoni Writer, Editor Veteran

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    @bgillisp

    I mean for what it's worth I've grouped mine in to DPS/Support/Tank, as opposed to straight up classes; I've then grouped them whether they're magic/physical/hybrid. To be fair, it's an uncommon grouping with (non-MMO) RPGs; it's mainly because of the way they were conceived, and how magic in general works in the world. You don't have a straight up white mage, at least; in turn, you have someone who uses techy gizmos to cure. How does it work? We Just Don't Know (or care).

    I'll go ahead and note the groupings, though, for funsies!

    Ari DPS hybrid
    Rochelle DPS/Support physical
    Magos DPS magic
    Leandro Support physical
    Varga Tank hybrid
    Elarian Tank/DPS physical
    Dast Tank/Support physical
    Solius DPS/Support magic
     
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  9. gigaswardblade

    gigaswardblade narcisistic narcoleptic Veteran

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    i think one problem i have is that i have too many great designs for my characters that i dont want them to go to waste as NPCs. if i were to remove any, it would mess with the aesthetic of my party and being without them wouldn't feel right. ive already had to cut a few characters in the past as well.


    [​IMG]
    attack of the same face syndrome!
    names:
    konai AKA scoundrel
    leori AKA hero boy
    mystia AKA summoner girl
    pijami AKA familiar
    ciella AKA warrior girl
    camino AKA master
    riano AKA cat princess
    elissa AKA priest girl
    dillion AKA suave guy
    sherlie AKA suave guy's sister
    whitney AKA maid
    quorra AKA ex slave

    but there are 3 of them that i was gonna cut if having 12 characters was too much after all. i was gonna turn the familiar into a special summon that the summoner girl can do, and then i was gonna turn the warrior girl, and the maid into NPCs. i was also pondering if priest girl was even important to the story at all. i have been thinking about certain character's arcs, but not all of them are as equally in-depth quite yet. im kinda having trouble thinking of arcs for a good portion of the characters.

    i will have the character moment areas marked with their face icon to indicate that you need those certain characters in the party in order to activate. there will be a cap as to how many characters you can take with you though. 6 is the max you can take and 3 is how many are on the front line. you can swap them in and out at any time. in order to exchange your characters, you have to go to their base and change them there. characters in reserve get half the exp the characters in front get. there are also some exp boosting items that you can get from various places. one of which is by interacting with one of those character moment zones. i do like the idea of adding side quests that are specific to a character and their backstory. though seeing as how young all of the characters are, im not sure how many of those backstory side quests i can really do.

    almost all of the characters come from different backgrounds as well. there are many different races in my game. not all of them are represented in the party, but they all have different unique cultures. i'd go into detail about each race represented in the party, but ive already done that in a previous post, and that post is a little outdated with its racial info. though this game will focus mainly around the western part of my games continent. there will be little snippits of far off countries in the aftergame, but the main game mostly focuses around areas like forests, jungles, mountains, plains, and even going under water.

    their gameplay has been at the back of my mind for about as long as ive started working on this all the way back in 2015. i know ive been ignoring it for longer than i should've, but ive always felt that the characters themselves came first. but now that i really think about it, it should really be gameplay that comes first. i dont want to have this super great character that ive put a ton of thought into fleshing out there character only for them to be the most useless of all the party members. i have been putting their classes into tank, healer, and damage dealer categories by indication of what armor type they use. there will be some slight deviations for some of the classes, however.

    i have also been trying to write a cohesive plot for the longest time as to why each character is teaming up together. its supposed to start out with the feeling of a looming threat, yet everyone is still able to enjoy themselves. then as the chapters progress, there starts to be this unease with everyone. then around chapter 4's climax, were introduced to one of the main villains most powerful henchmen. he shows what will happen if his master is resurrected and is able to reclaim his power. (fyi, its pretty horrific.) after that, they all know whats at stake and take on the main villain's minions with a more serious demeanor. the problem im having is making all the locations mesh together. i did have this thing where priest girl possesses this amulet that shows them in the direction of these elemental orbs that are needed to open a secret gate to heaven. perhaps that would be a good enough reason for them to go to all these crazy places, like a stonified vine jungle full of humanoid animals, or a kingdom thats entirely underwater, or a secret fortress full of chaotic abominations.

    the reason i brought up the fact that i have aspergers is because i attribute my inability to fully grasp the concept of deeper personalities and character bonding to the fact that i never really was able to notice it for the longest time in my life. usually when i watch or play things, i just pay attention to the game and the world and not really the characters and their purpose in the plot that much. it also doesnt help that im an antisocial shut in, so i wouldn't really understand character interaction on a personal level even more. maybe one day ill get someone to help me flesh out all my characters and make all their personalities feel unique. this wont be the first rpg maker game im gonna make. i have a few slightly smaller ideas that i wanna toss out there before i create the big game that ive been wanting to make all this time. im just getting feedback now so that i wont mess up later on. is that possibly a safer approach? i know that ms frizzel would call blasphemy for me to say that.
     

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    Last edited: Jan 16, 2019
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  10. Fungii

    Fungii Veteran Veteran

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    Personally seeing a cast that big that want/need equal importance makes me thing of Sing (yes, the movie with the animals singing pop hits). I found it kind of frustrating to witness because you end up feeling lost because you're not sure whose story this is meant to be about and instead of getting any real investment you're left with like, vignettes that don't really pull you in.

    There's also Octopath, though I am fairly early in that game. It has the same issue to me so far, but that might be because so far the cast isn't interacting with eachother much so it feels odd and disjointed.

    Is it possible to weave more narratives together somehow? Give them the same cause but keep the personalities?

    You could also look at the Mass Effect type route; water down their part a little bit but give them the ol line of side quests to wrap up their arc. That may also help prevent the feeling of being bogged down with having to be invested in all of such a large cast.
     
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  11. bgillisp

    bgillisp Global Moderators Global Mod

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    I've ran into that problem too, having too many good designs for the characters. But you have to ask yourself if that character is critical to THIS story? If the answer is no, then save that character and design for your next game. No sense wasting them in this game when it bogged down and forgotten in 12 other character stories.

    I mentioned earlier having 11 characters in my game. Some of them you learn more about than others, and some of them there are details in their past that you never learn, but it is just alluded to. To give an example, when you first meet Liana, Sarah and Cedric you will learn they have adventured together in the past, as little tidbits of their story are dropped through the game. But you never learn the full story as it is not relevant to this game. Padrin stays quiet most of the game and while you do learn a little of his past there is nothing else to the arc so he's just the quiet archer.

    See not everyone needs an epic story with a heartbreaking past too. Sometimes the characters can just be average Joe/Jane who leads a boring life, but he/she comes along for some reason. Don't try to make every arc epic though, because I find when you do that, in the end none of them are epic, as they all get dilluted down when you have so many of them. And that is especially true when you look back on the game a year or two later and see what you remember. If every character line was a long winded 50000 page story, the player will end up remembering none of that in the end.
     
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  12. gigaswardblade

    gigaswardblade narcisistic narcoleptic Veteran

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    why do you have 11 party members? that seems like such an awkward number of characters to have in a game.
     
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  13. bgillisp

    bgillisp Global Moderators Global Mod

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    Because I have 11 classes, and it worked. I didn't decide I had to have a nice even number, I just went for here is who I had a story and skills for without major overlap of skills happening, and 11 was the number in the end.
     
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  14. Kupotepo

    Kupotepo Fantasy realist Veteran

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    @gigaswardblade, wow you have a lot of ideas more than me. If you do not want to lose your characters, you could create different chapters. Just like a history textbook. Sometimes, characters have different interests, so they are going a separate way, but it is your game. Who is going to tell you what should include or not? Your characters sound very interesting. In your game, you could mini stories together. I think the hard part is mapping a lot of mapping and events.

    Just for the record, I have an attention issue. It is hard to do things, but you do not completely prevent you. ;) If we are all perfect, how can we all grow and learn in this world?
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2019
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  15. gigaswardblade

    gigaswardblade narcisistic narcoleptic Veteran

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    My game was gonna have 5 chapters and 2 or 3 characters would have arcs in each one
     
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  16. Kupotepo

    Kupotepo Fantasy realist Veteran

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    @gigaswardblade, that is great that you have a concrete plan. Do you decide who is going to go first? Do you build your world yet?
     
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  17. gigaswardblade

    gigaswardblade narcisistic narcoleptic Veteran

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    I built my world a ton, actually. Sometimes I think I might’ve over built it at times. So far i indefinitely have mystia and pijami’s arc being chapter 4, and quorra’s arc at chapter 5. Meanwhile, konai’s arc will happen throughout the whole game. He goes from selfish merc to team player over the course of the game.
     
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  18. RNG_Lemon

    RNG_Lemon existence man Member

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    No. yes some should be main characters but not all of them
     
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