Post article RSS Articles

Why So Quiet?

News

When I started work on The Last Shore, I was bringing along a lot of inspiration from beautifully narrated video games. Thomas Was Alone, Aquaria, Dear Esther… all of those games left their marks on me. One of the taglines I used early on in the project was “Zelda meets Thomas Was Alone”. Yet as it is now, The Last Shore is almost completely free of words. There are zero spoken words in the game, and even written words are limited to the menu and a few chapter titles.

So, what happened?

Alone on the ocean

I Can Write

I would consider myself a decent writer – not great, but good enough to write something coherent. My first job in the industry was as a mission designer on The Matrix Online. To be clear, we weren’t writing any lyrical masterpieces for those missions; but we did get grilled on the basics of writing for games. The number one item we kept coming back to: brevity. Even people who say they want to read text don’t want to read nearly as much text as an eager game writer is willing to churn out.

Keep it brief; focus down to the core of what you want to say.

So as I started writing intro narration for The Last Shore, I felt pretty confident. I could come up with something brief but focused; something to bring this character to life in the mind of the player.

I wanted to introduce players to this girl, growing up on an island with her grandmother. A happy but somewhat lonely childhood, safe and warm, but not particularly exciting.

I typed… and it was garbage.

Family

Writing Are Hard

Okay maybe not garbage, but everything careened off in a different direction than I intended. First she sounded like a bored, angsty teenager. Then much too wise and corny, like the voiceover to some cheesy fantasy movie. The ideas I wanted to bring across were so simple, so why were they so hard to convey in words?

Around this time, Ori and the Blind Forest was released. If you’ve played it, you’re familiar with the character introduction – in my opinion, some of the most effective emotional work I’ve ever seen in a game. I’m not ashamed to say it had me in tears. Okay, maybe a little ashamed.

There is some narration to that introduction, but the most compelling moments are completely wordless. The body language of the characters, the music, the setting; these are so powerful! I was just watching it while researching this article and I teared up a little bit.

Arrival of the gods

Show, Don’t Tell

This sounds like a cliché and it should be an overused one in this industry; but in fact, I think lots of games forget this.

There are places where text is absolutely appropriate: I can’t imagine a visual novel or an RPG without a decent amount of text in it. For the kind of game I’m making, using text to tell a story runs a distinct risk.

Show the player a scene, and then tell them what it represents, and you can really disrupt their immersion. Just a single “that’s not what I had in mind”, and the player is yanked directly out of the scene into an argument about the scene.

So, I’m taking the opposite tack (that’s my first sailing reference right there) with The Last Shore. Presented with images and music, the player is left to their own devices to create exactly what the story is saying.

My intent was for the girl to be living with her grandmother on the island. People who have played the game have come up with all sorts of alternatives – often it’s an old man or a magician. And that’s perfectly okay. Whatever your story is, it’s the right one for you.

Family on the line

Results

So, does it work? Here are the first few minutes of the game – you can watch and decide for yourself:

If you like the results, please visit the Kickstarter campaign, pledge, and spread the word:

Kickstarter.com

Thanks!

The Last Shore

The Last Shore

News

The Last Shore is a game (almost) devoid of narration. Text in the game is very minimal, limited to chapter titles.

Introducing The Last Shore

Introducing The Last Shore

News

The Last Shore is an exploration/adventure game full of mystery and discovery.

Comments
Silentplaygames
Silentplaygames

This looks cool! I will gladly play demo of this game when it comes out.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+4 votes
PulpoGames Creator
PulpoGames

Thanks!! I appreciate the support :)

Reply Good karma+3 votes
Post a comment
Sign in or join with:

Only registered members can share their thoughts. So come on! Join the community today (totally free - or sign in with your social account on the right) and join in the conversation.

Follow Report Profile
Icon
The Last Shore
Platforms
Windows, Mac, Linux
Developer
Pulpo Games
Engine
Unity
Contact
Send Message
Release date
Game watch
Follow
Share
Community Rating

Average

-

0 votes submitted.

You Say

-

Ratings closed.

Style
Genre
Adventure
Theme
Fantasy
Players
Single Player
Project
Indie
Twitter

Latest tweets from @pulpogames

RT @cnorori95: If you venture far enough from the shore this will happen #gamedev #screenshotsaturday #unity3d #madewithunityT.co

21hours ago

RT @VeksellNet: #pixelart T.co

21hours ago

RT @NimbatusGame: Fully automated digging lasers swiping their way to the surface :) #indiedevhour #indiedev #gamedev #gaming #scifiT.co

Aug 17 2017

RT @justinchans: did some illustrations for Century: Golem Edition back in 2015! here's the original cover design i did!… T.co

Aug 15 2017

RT @Eriklyart: My last #DUELYST drawing for a little while, the Kindred Hunter! @PlayDuelyst #digitalart T.co

Aug 15 2017

RT @hyamei: #WonderWoman T.co

Aug 14 2017

RT @hal_milton: Thanks to the loyal and shockingly strong Bobo, Merle Evans and his Circus Band feed this eve... T.co

Aug 11 2017

RT @MaxHeyderArt: my attempt on the #isometric_house for #pixel_dailies @Pixel_Dailies pixelart is haaaaard

Aug 9 2017

RT @Punziella: The Tenenbaums

Aug 6 2017

RT @justinchans: STRENGTH T.co

Aug 6 2017

Embed Buttons
Link to The Last Shore by selecting a button and using the embed code provided more...
The Last Shore
Statistics
Last Update
Watchers
18 members
Articles
3
You may also like
Pokémon3D
Pokémon3D Adventure
Feel The Snow
Feel The Snow Adventure
Crea
Crea Adventure
Goddess
Goddess Adventure