There is no way that any video game or series of video games can possibly tell the stories we want to tell at Soma Games.
Neither could a graphic novel,
…or a book,
…or a movie.
If ‘the medium is the message’ then we will only have told our stories properly when they are told across multiple media, each used in its proper place to express the proper part of a manifold expression of creativity that ought to transcend any single medium.As the story line for Arc has developed over time I see so many threads that touch on and contribute to the particular story we want to tell in the games. Writing these games has created a real challenge for me as I wrestle with what to include and what has to be cut but it’s not just a function of editing, it’s a matter of sensing which plot lines lend themselves to a game and which do not.
So if I know that massive parts of this story will never make it into a game, what happens to those other parts? In the past, we might get a glimpse into these lines in a source book or the special features of a DVD, but for the most part they wind up discarded and unknown to all but the most ravenous fanboys. For a story teller that is crushing.
But what if the plan all along was to break a wide story up into smaller parts, each filtered into the medium that best matched its narrative style and those various parts were published in parallel from the very beginning?
I wan to see the Arc story roll out in the games, a graphic novel, and a lot of web based notes and nubbins. The Race…well that tale needs a novel, a massive RPG, and radio/podcast episodes. If Dark Glass doesn’t get made into a movie along with the game I’ll be sorely dissappointed.
The trick here is not to make the mistake that a LOT of folks have been making over the years. The Race book is not the same story as The Race game. They are connected, but they are not at all the same. There will be totally different characters, different events and a different point – I’m not interested in simply telling the same story a second or third time with a different medium.
To be honest, my motivation here isn’t purely artistic. I think this model also lends itself to some really great publishing opportunities. If folks like one angle of a larger story they have a better chance of liking some other angle. Folks who enjoy G are predisposed to like F and then get interested when they see Bast Reborn next to Cerebus.
Now if I can only hire a ghost writer… 😉