Just some thoughts and discoveries from one of the game writers! Particularly on an interesting subject. Muahaha.
Aside from our protagonists in the story, we have quite a few villains – or some “grayer” characters that provide opposition in some way to our heroes/heroines. These figures create tension, which engages the audience’s attention and interest in the story. Usually, the more complex the relationship, the more engaged the audience will be. Of course, there are quite a few other variables involved, as well as a balance of information and intensity to invoke the general player’s peak enjoyment, but that is another lecture for another day, haha. Depending on the type of game, the villains or villainous force(s) may vary from simplistic and flat to dynamic and complicated. As is in the case of Legacy, there are multiple storylines with obstacles for each one – and they are brought together in the end. There is also one or more villains for each part; we have included the “ultimate evil” character, a sympathetic if psychotic antagonist, a charismatic yet brutal religious leader, an invisible traitor, and one who has to decide where their loyalty lies…
In the midst of writing each story, in blending and tying everything together in one coherent mass, it was both surprising and not to realize how in-depth and how different each opposing character actually was. In theory, it’s easy to imagine the diverse aspects that have essentially built each one, such as background, personality, function, motivation, etc; but when it’s time to convey that within tight dialogue and limited cutscene material, it’s an entirely new organism, so to speak. There is an extremely brief amount of time dedicated to each; in some cases, not even a spotlight or a voyeuristic point of view.
It’s painful, too – to an extent. Aside from the ultimate evil, most of these creatures are incredibly damaged, with varying levels of relatability. They reflect their environments, the needs of the beings they are in contact with, and they are ultimately a product of maligned progress, each and every one. At the risk of sounding too pretentiously deep, each personified obstacle to “good” and/or to our protagonists represents some problematic, overarching, humanist topic; either political or social or mental. Or a combo.
But I suppose that’s the goal, eh? We’ll see how well they are conveyed, in any case! The ultimate judge is the audience after all, and all we can do is have fun and improve on the way!