In this talk we will focus on common game design issues breaking the story immersion in narrative games. We’ll also show how we address them in Sacred Fire adhering to the Sid Meier’s psychology of game design. We will look at why game designer present arbitrary challenges like physical puzzles, quick-time events or tactical position-based battles. In the same vein we will explore why writers tend to write misleading choices. Then we will show Sacred Fire game mechanics that allow for the challenge to emerge from transparent choice-making. We will focus on how lack of agency presenting few choices and weak consequences and lack of winning condition feedback breaks story immersion. And we will discuss how to produce rich story-branching narrative content enabling agency and sense of winning.
Andrej Vojtáš is the founder of Poetic, the story-focused indie game studio working on it’s debut title Sacred Fire, an innovative psychological role-playing game. Inspired by Pen & Paper and Choose Your Own Adventure experiences, the game focuses on player’s freedom of choice and calculating the probabilities of success based on your character’s emotional state. Andrej works at Poetic as game designer, scriptwriter and character artist, so it’s safe to assume that while writing this text he was tweaking render settings on CG hair computations running in the background.