Narration, video game and transmedia

1st digression and little introduction

Narration, video game and transmedia

What follows is not technically an article but rather a digression on screenwriting. When one is dealing with a transmedia project, we know from the start we will have to meet several promises. Unlike the creation and implementation of one's universe, transmedia writing involves more constraints.

Careful, I am not saying that the creation of one's universe (for a video game, a comic, an animated series ...) does not cause the appearance of constraints. For example, a historical context or a distant planet (long ago in a galaxy far far away), in turn imply "narrative constraints." Besides, when you start a project like that, you are already restricted. Your experience, your knowledge, your imagination, are dependent on our time, and many other socio-cultural contingencies. You will be forced (without your knowledge) to create a world, a universe limited by your own limitations ... somehow.

This work is often carried out for a specific purpose: to be shared. Thus, you have to ensure that sufficient information is understandable by your player, reader, spectator (check the right answers). This requires thinking on the audience. You wouldn't talk to a 7-years-old player like you would to a 30-years-old player.

It's obvious, and yet it is necessary to keep this in mind when you enter the production step.

But let's go back on topic. Henry Jenkins, the transmedia theorician, gives us this definition:

"[Transmedia is] a process by which the elements of fiction are dispersed over various media platforms in order to create a coordinated and unified entertainment experience."

Without paraphrasing (even though that's what I'll do), it is important to understand that transmedia writing will require coordination and unification of dispersed elements. In our case, elements created by other teams and dispersed in various media.

Next time we will discuss the famous promises we mentioned above:

  • Know the fictional universe
  • Respect the fictional universe
  • Develop its leeway

Posted in Game Design

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