I have been thinking of the story for my game lately. More so than usual.
I don't know when to include many of the story elements. What I do know, is that they need to be frequent. Other than the gameplay, this will be my main tool to keep the player playing. If the player finds nothing of the story after some levels, then they may get frustrated or bored. There needs to be some sort of reward after each level.
From here on out, there will be MAJOR spoilers.
The game will begin with the player just appearing in the void. No background or anything. I may add a cinematic beforehand, or for a trailer, to just lead in to that moment, but it will have no effect on the story.
Again, I suggest you read this ONLY AFTER you have already beaten the game. This may RUIN the game for you.
I want the story to be told out of order. After every level, you gain a memory.
The story will be about suicide. The player would have commit suicide in their lifetime because of some reason. The reason will most likely be because of a loved one leaving them, or cheating on them. So the player finds their lover cheating on them, and then commits suicide. The player is then left paralyzed in a coma. The setting of the game is the player stuck inside the void of their mind/body.
I have 24 levels planned for the game. Each level implements a new mechanic/obstacle. After each level, you gain a new memory. This means I will need to have a story spanning 24 "slides". The memories will only be pictures, with no text explaining them. I will brainstorm about the slides below.
Man looking at a gun in a box. Man and wife on a date. Ambulance speeding down the road. Man laying in medical bed. Man with a gun to his head. Man crying into his hands. Man walking in the rain. Man looking in a window and sees wife with another man on a date. Man's heart falls to darkness. Man meets the woman. Man and woman spend time together, woman pays attention to strangers. Wife holds mans body.
That is 12 right there, and most of them are highlights. I need 12 more. Maybe the other 12 can be transition slides, to bridge a gap between big story events.
The characters in the slides will probably be colored, just like the objects in the game. This is not only to cut back on need for great artistic talent, but also to help differentiate between the major characters.
Maybe when the player collects the cerebrum, he is able to move the memories in to order. When in order, he could unlock the cinematic?
After every level, the player will gain a new memory, a new body function related to the levels completed, and a piece of the brain related to that body function. The piece of the brain will be accompanied by a description that shows what the brain controls. The preceding mechanics will be based on that brain function. There will also be a small sound effect when the brain piece is found.
For example, the first piece will be the medula oblongata, which controls autonomous control for the body. After collected, the player will hear breathing and a heartbeat.
By tying all of this together, I hope people will see a connection between the whole game.
Thanks for reading.