Creating Narrative Design @ THQ – The Narrative Design Exploratorium™

Creating Narrative Design @ THQ

Epiphany’s are strange and exciting and such was a moment I had yesterday while on a conference call with THQ’s studio BigHuge Games. I was interviewing with 6 individuals for a Narrative Designer position, 3 of which hold the title of narrative designer. On the surface that seems simple, but when I realized the all occupied positions I had in part created, my heart skipped a beat. By no means intending to make subjective personal judgments, I truly felt like I was on the other side of the looking glass.

I wrote the “Narrative Designer” job description for the purposes of self employment, for THQ worldwide, before I took the position with Relic Entertainment in 2006. Having crafted it with a future vision for the potential of narrative design in interactive entertainment, it was bizarre to realize that my efforts at creating the position made a ripple effect in reality. After the recent THQ layoffs I found myself on the outside. There I was on a conference call trying to convince the talented people at BigHuge that I deserved to get back in (Ah, the ironic agony of it all lol). The original Job description for the Narrative Designer position was first recognized by THQ in September 2006, here we are less than two years later and the field is really taking off! That alone makes me pretty happy. No word on the job, but it’s about the journey, right?

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Wow. That must have been like watching your child grow up, get a job, and start evaluating your performance, eh?

I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you!

Indeed. Thanks for the comments Corvus. We’ll see if it’s the right move. Regardless, I’m always open to explore new opportunities, who knows what life might stir-up for a fledging active protagonist!

I never did follow-up on this. Clearly I didn’t do a good job of convincing BHG that I was ready to work on their RPG. I think it was my barking about the fact that players don’t care if a story is linear or not. What is more important is that it’s a good story, if it has impact, the player will have and experience catharsis, which usually leaves out room for the analytical mind to say “Ya, but it was a linear story…”

That being said, I did land a new Narrative Designer gig a few months back, in Chicago @ Day 1 Studios. Now that I’m working I realize that the problems in getting good gamestories out the door isn’t developer centric, it’s systemic to the AAA-game development industry.

All in due time I suppose, I do believe Narrative Design will see it’s day in the sun, and have the impact I’m looking for. Some day over the rainbow… now I just have to wait for the right tornado.

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This page contains a single article by Stephen E. Dinehart published on May 28, 2008 6:00 PM.

Choice and the Tragic Hero (Diamonds in the Rough) was the previous entry in this blog.

Defining Narrative Design is the next entry in this blog.

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