When you’re going to hang your hat on writing –on an extensive, compelling game with a fulfilling story– then you have to make sure that the brains behind it are up to the challenge. Of course, our team here at Dyscordion Entertainment is exactly that, hand-picked from around the globe to create something beautiful and memorable.
These past weeks our writers have been BUSY cooking up something special, but they took some time with me to talk about their projects and processes when writing for Second Star. So, how does one start writing something so… massive?
We start from the beginning and the end, at the same time. Obviously.
Dayana, Writer, and Kate, our Storyboard Lead and Writer, both described the beginning of their projects as “seedlings” or “sprouts”.
“[It’s] something that I find interesting and I want to spend more time with,” Dayana explained. “Once I’ve found that, I ask myself, ‘Well, what part of this is most appealing to me? Where do I want this to go?’”
Kate agreed. “[I start with a] single scene and character, something unusual or unique,” and continue on from there.
But if some find a blossoming flower inspiring, others find an age old tree absolutely breathtaking.
Lisa, Writing Lead, and Rori, Character Design Lead and Writer, imagine the end and work backwards.
“For instance,” Lisa said, “if I want a scene to have a certain emotional effect… I will begin by envisioning what I want, and then make a list of steps to take in order to reach [that] desired effect.”
Rori had a similar approach. “In my head I’ve always written the ending first, so I know where to go.”
And Dylan, Writer, laughed before admitting, “I kinda just sit down and do it!”
No matter where one starts, it’s hard to get anywhere without guidance or ideas to draw from. Real life is close at hand, as with Lisa who found inspiration in Judith Resnik, a famous astronaut. And Dayana discovered that she was pushing beyond what she knew while working with her character designs (but how is a secret!). For Rori, dreams, music, and philosophy were draws, and Kate dove into research about cultures that were different from hers to make her writing rich and accurate. Dylan was inspired by characters from other media, such as Kaylee Frye (FireFly) and Asami Sato (Legend of Korra) that fit their favorite character trope: the fashionable, brilliant smart*ss.
After all the thinking, planning, and gathering of ideas, how does the writing team keep things consistent? Goals, goals, and more goals.
The writing team has many of course, but there is one that stands above the rest: making a connection with the player.
Lisa said, “My goal [is] to write something memorable. Something that’s enjoyable to engage with and will inspire others to create their own stories.”
Kate echoed this. “Writing a good story, telling a good story, no matter the medium… I want people to feel something, then I [will] have succeeded.”
“I have a tendency to hide messages in my writing,” Rori said with glee. “I do enjoy it! I try to have a [larger] meaning to what people say.”
Making a connection includes feeling seen, as Dylan and Dayana both touched on in their answers. While Dylan joked about having “a perpetual goal to be funny,” they noted genuinely that, “[h]aving LGBT+ characters, but not coming out stories,” was personally important. Oftentimes a fictional character will be LGBT+, but that will be the only focus of the character, which is two-dimensional and overly simplistic. Dylan aims to make sure that does not happen with their work on Second Star.
And Dayana, well, I’ll let her speak for herself:
“My ultimate goal with my writing is to help someone see themselves. I’m a mixed-race Hindu girl. Growing up I never saw any characters like that in media. I still haven’t. When Uncharted: The Lost Legacy released, the playable character was an Indian woman with an African woman as the companion character and they spent the entire game hunting for a treasure based around Hindu myth. That was mind-blowing to me, I’d never felt so seen, especially not in video games. Even as the media landscape has gotten so wonderfully diverse, we can still do so much more. If I can help someone else who’s never seen themselves before feel seen, then that would make it all worth it.”
We’ve got big dreams over here at Dyscordion, with Second Star and beyond. We hope you’ll follow along and see what else we’ve got in store for you!