You know a lot of people look at video games and tell me that they could make a video game better than that in a week. and i tell them that they are full of shit. and this is why…
just the fact of making a character is so hard. i am a part of a team right now, building a game that has to do with ancient mythology and i have the job of character development – it’s a lot harder than you would think. here is a list of things that make it so:
Name: the name of your character could be fast and easy. you can name your character after a greek or roman god, or even make the lead character one of the gods that already exist. easy peasy lemon squeezy. OR. you can do it the right way. you make your own character with it’s own name. you can’t really name your character Bill or George, although you could. Your character would really stand out and not be a part of the time period that you are going for. you have to come up with your characters name that will be a part of the setting, such as Altis or Mallaci – something that will resonate with ancient greek/roman mythology. that gets difficult if you want every single name original and you have over 100 characters in your game.
Skills: when you develop a game, you really get to appreciate the other games that get released. you appreciate the amount of the new content that gets released with each new game. it’s really hard to come up with new skills for a character. sure, you can go the boring way and just make it 3-6 skills names strength, archery etc…or you can come up with awesome names that are relevant and make your character and your game, unique. once you have them down, you must cooperate with other people on the team because you have to figure out a good way to level up these skills to make them balanced. a game where one skill is way overused because it is so overpowered, clearly means the team did not spend enough time making their game balanced. now that you have them balanced, you must figure out what they look like! this can be anything from symbols and shortcuts, to how it actually looks once you execute your move. you may think this is easy, but try and come up with a unique way for your character to use a “charge” attack, or something that has been done about 10 times before…pretty tough.
Background: the background, or story about your character can be anything from nothing at all (see amnesia in RPG games) or pivotal to the story (see every other RPG game). the amount of detail in your character’s story comes from other parts of the game itself, but the majority of the ideas come from me, the character developer. at least it does in my job with the limited number of devs that we have.
Look: the look of your character is very important. you want to make them stand out, but not become the entire focus of the game or environment. you want them to look fantastic, but not overpower everything else in the game. the look about your character can change with different equipment too, which is a whole other problem you may run into. does equipping new equipment change the look of your character only during battles or does it always effect him/her? does changing equipment change the fighting stance of your character, if so, how? there are a lot more questions to answer…and even more to ask.
These are just some of the many problems you may face coming up with new characters for a video game. It’s not as easy as I thought it was when I started…good thing I’m so dedicated!