Today we look at creating Quest Dialogue in Man O’ War: Corsair
Greetings! My name is James, and I’m one of the writers for Man o’ War: Corsair. I can’t express how excited I am to be on such a great project. For now, I’d like to just talk a little about where I’m coming from as a writer here, and about the approach I’ve been taking in the writing process.
My interest in the Warhammer Universe began more than 20 years ago. My cousin received a Hero Quest board game for Christmas. Although I didn’t know it yet, it would pave the way for countless hours of collecting, painting, and playing in a fantastical universe. One of the things that I love about the setting is that it provides a great opportunity for imagination and creativity to flourish. I think it’s those features which has helped this world capture the hearts of gamers everywhere (aside from a line of amazingly crafted models). When the opportunity to write for a game in the Warhammer Fantasy Universe came along, I could not pass it up, although it certainly is a daunting task. With such a rich history and amazing storytelling, one of my goals has been to simply do the setting justice.
This has been the impetus behind how I’ve been writing quests. I want to facilitate a sense of immersion through writing that doesn’t detract from the other core elements of the game. That is, it’s not just a game we’re making, but an immersive experience in a gritty and visceral fantasy world. To me, that’s meant writing compelling characters, interesting hooks for quests, and realistic dialogue that doesn’t become cumbersome to read. That’s been the greatest challenge – walking the line between text which is clear and precise, and text which enriches the world the player is in.
The process of physically writing the quests themselves is not complicated. All of our quests are written in a spreadsheet, which includes text for the initial story hook, trigger events, and quest completion. This entails dialogue with the various background characters in the world. How one decides to handle a quest (if they want to handle it at all) can impact your relationship with the seafaring races of the world. The quest to build wealth and reputation can take many paths from loyal citizen to brutal pirate, but the choice is entirely in the players’ hands.
I think I want to stress that they’re background or peripheral characters. Man o’ War: Corsair is about the player and how they navigate the world around them. If I had to sum it all up, I’d say that this is the magic that I’ve tried to capture here!