Day four of the Game Developer’s Conference saw many an anticipated event, starting with Bioware’s head honcho, Greg Zeschuk conducting a lecture titled Storytelling Across Genres: Bioware’s Perspective. After briefly introducing the studio as a company fiercely committed to triple-A games built by a highly talented and loyal staff, Zeschuk launched into the reasoning behind the studio’s interpretation of the role of story in games. When embarking on a new project, Bioware’s writing staff spends a full year researching and developing the world in which the game takes place. Be that the realm of the Old Republic (Star Wars) or an alternative ancient China (Jade Empire), to guarantee that the resulting narrative is true to the spirit of the game’s world.
Zeschuk then illustrated Bioware’s “story blueprints,” which have apparently never been revealed to a public audience in any capacity. Breaking the game down into sections with regard to story, the first part being what the player experiences right away through the opening cut-scene or immediate play situation – the introduction. This part constitutes less than 1% of the game’s story, and simply works to establish the game’s overall mood. Following that is the prelude, telling the player who he/she is, while simultaneously providing the motivation necessary to complete the story as well as introducing the game’s basic play mechanics. This part is usually a quick mixture of tutorial and cut-scene, acting as 5% of the overall story. The linear start follows next. This eases the player into the game with the first short-term goal; the designer still has direct control over player’s actions and, thus, the story. This composes 10% of the story as a whole. Once the game proper has begun, the player enters the