原作者：Leon Daydreamer 译者：Willow Wu
我对故事非常着迷，我需要它们。如果一个游戏没有剧情元素，我真的很难玩下去，而且我本人也从没想过要做这样一个游戏。我或许应该先自我介绍一下—— Leonid Pilchin，Far-off Daydream Games的创意总监。我是一个艺术家、作家同时还负责动画制作。在做独立项目之前，我已经在动画行业工作很多年了，《俗世乐土》（Ugly Americans）和《吉米大冒险》（Jimmy Two-Shoes）我都有参与制作。
有人最近问我说是什么激发了我去创造A Near Dawn，也就是我现在正在做的项目。我很清楚这个答案，但这个答案会比较长。随着项目的推进，我也有收获新的灵感，所以这个答案会还会继续长下去。灵感是保持作品新鲜、原创的重要因素，它能让你迸发新思路。我很庆幸自己没遇到过写作阻塞（writer’s block），但是我知道这个问题的解决方法——不要专注于问题本身，把视野扩大到问题之外的地方，做做研究，接触新资料，寻找新的灵感。如果有人给你的作品评价是“它很像某某某（你喜欢的作品），但不一样”，你完全不必感到羞耻。我非常希望我的项目最后能成为我喜爱的游戏那样。
我是在冒险游戏的陪伴下长大的——《猴岛》（Monkey Island）、《印第安纳·琼斯》（Indiana Jones）、后来的《断剑》（Broken Sword）、《布莱克威尔》（Blackwell）、 《逆转裁判》（Ace Attorney）。我非常喜爱这些故事，它们能让我回忆起游戏所带来的纯粹快乐，主要还是因为它们是我童年的组成部分之一。它们的剧情创意十足，我能从这些游戏中获得不少灵感。每个人都有自己的参考作品，不管是电影、书本还是游戏，对我来说，上文这些游戏就是我努力的方向标。我不需要拆解它们或者做反向工程来了解它们到底好在哪，我十分确信，就像我相信你们的品味一样。它们的叙事方式并没有什么特别的地方，但游戏团队用一种迷人、古怪的幽默感增加了游戏的吸引力——简而言之就是角色个性是游戏设计的精明所在。我之前写过一篇过于“怪异行为”的分析文，我认为游戏中的反常设定能让你的作品在眼花缭乱的市场中显得更加醒目，让玩家印象深刻。就比如《马耳他之鹰》中的彼得·洛，我现在再看这部电影就是冲着他了，不会有别的原因。这就是你的目标——独创性。设计剧情最不想要的就是将那些被用过无数次的情节再拿来用，因为角色是人，而人是有共性的，你不需要再编一个故事来讲一个平常人的生活。
Why do we love stories?
We get excited by them, even eagerly await their arrival for months on end (thank you, Strange Things). Stories are creative, imaginative, and we know that it takes intelligence to make a good one, because there are so many bad ones. I think the most important thing stories do is they force us to make a human connection with the characters – “I love her, I hope she finds her happiness” or “I hate that guy, he better get what’s coming to him.” These reactions create an interest in seeing things through, and I believe that fundamentally this is the real allure of stories – the mystery of what will happen as we watch these characters’ lives play out. Will they succeed or fail? What obstacles will they face? As the writer, it is your job to create this allure with characters people want to spend time with going through interesting experiences.
I am obsessed with stories – I need them. I can hardly play a game if it doesn’t have a story element, and I would never think of making one that did not. I should probably introduce myself – my name is Leonid Pilchin, Creative Director at Far-off Daydream Games. I am an artist, writer, and animator. I worked in animation for many years on shows like Ugly Americans and Jimmy Two-Shoes, before deciding to branch out into making my own independent projects:
If you are a writer, the chances are someone asked you before where you get your ideas. Somebody recently asked me what inspired me to write A Near Dawn, the story I am currently working on. I knew the answer straight away, but it was not going to be a short one. There are so many things, and I keep getting inspired as I continue to work, so the list will only keep growing. Inspiration is key to keeping your work fresh and original, it sparks new thinking and gets you moving in a different direction. I’ve thankfully never had writer’s block, but I know the solution isn’t to keep focusing on the problem, it’s to look outside, do some research, expose yourself to new material – find that inspiration. And at the end of the day, there is no shame in someone saying about your work that ‘it is like [something you love], but different.’ I very much hope that my work ends up being like something I love.
Here are some things I love:
I grew up on adventure games: Monkey Island, Indiana Jones – and later Broken Sword, Blackwell, Ace Attorney. I adore these stories and have an association of pure joy with them, mostly because they are a part of my childhood. These games inspire me, because their writing is clever and their storylines are imaginative. Everyone has a different set of works that set the bar for them, whether films, books, or games – and in my mind, these are the ones that I will always be working towards within my work. I don’t need to deconstruct them or reverse-engineer them to know what’s great about them, I know it all of that by heart, just as I am sure you do with your selection. These tell their story like any other, but they reinforce it with this charming, quirky humour that is the true genius behind them – their personality. I have a theory about eccentricity, it really sets work apart and in my opinion makes it more memorable. Like Peter Lorre in The Maltese Falcon, I probably wouldn’t watch that film again for any other reason. This is the objective of your work, originality. The last thing you want in a story is to experience the same thing you already have a hundred times, because characters are people and people are typical – you don’t need another story about typical people.
I always wanted to make an adventure game like these. When I sat down to write one, I wasn’t sure what I was writing at first, but my favourite character is an attorney on holiday named George Stobbart, and I began with one of my own. Except mine wouldn’t be away on vacation, he would be absolutely dedicated to his work, because he had something very important that only he could do. The day my story begins would be the day my character’s relatively typical life completely goes off the rails. Someone might say (and someone actually did) that my project reminded them of Broken Sword, except A, B, and C, and that was the biggest compliment.
I think about my influences all the time and I can trace the ideas behind all my original work back to their source. My game about sock puppets stems from seeing someone locked in a room on TV and remembering Dick Solomon on 3rd Rock From the Sun playing with his sock when he was trapped. Another story about an international assassin conspiracy centering around Hong Kong – no surprises, was inspired by some Hong Kong films I was into at the time. And I wonder where the inspiration came from in the original stories that inspired me, and if you could keep tracing it back whether you would end up at the dawn of time.
In addition to those positive and generally upbeat child-friendly adventure games I mentioned, I have also always been fascinated with exploring the depth of humanity, the light and dark within characters, and with pushing them to their limits. I never liked characters that are always strong, strength is easy and boring. I want my characters to be brave, but to struggle, to be afraird, I want them to try and fail – to be human – and earn what they desire. I appreciate how David Lynch can make the typical very interesting by focusing in on it and refusing to look away when most probably would. He is a man who enjoys exposing the charm in a character’s personality, but that is only one of his interests. He also takes pleasure in bending your mind and subjecting his characters to unbelievable realities. Both are things I try to accomplish with my current project, as well. Though I discovered Twin Peaks about three-quarters of the way through developing my story, it inspired me to push even further how much my character’s psychological difficulties affect him.
Another possibly surprising influence for my project, certainly one I haven’t mentioned much in the past, is an old Japanese horror game for the Super Nintendo, called Clock Tower. It is very good and very creepy, I could not recommend it to everyone. What intrigues me about it, other than the strong female protagonist and their ability to create a very dark and eerie atmosphere with limited graphics, is that your ‘health bar’ is the degree to which you are afraid, and the more exposed you are to the darker elements of the story, the less you are able to defend yourself against them. I initially decided to integrate this idea of a ‘sanity meter’ as well, and as my character would give in to his darker urges he would edge closer to ending up institutionalized.
But your project is your own and it will continue to grow and evolve the more time you spend thinking about it. As I developed my character’s darker personality, I saw it more as another side to the story. At some point, it no longer felt right to punish the player with this ‘health’ system for taking a darker turn and wanting to explore it, when in fact it had become fundamental of the story. So I was initially inspired by the mechanic, I implemented it, and then I scrapped it. You wouldn’t know Clock Tower influenced me at all if I hadn’t told you, yet traces of it will remain, because it’s been part of the evolutionary process of the project. At the end of the day we will always be experimenting and exploring as we create our work and search for originality, but we can’t help to be influenced by those sparks of inspiration that drive us. The most important thing in our quest is to listen to your project and give it what it needs and what works well for it (and take away what doesn’t). You will know what it is, because you have that bar in your mind set by those works you love just as I do.（source:gamasutra.com ）