Quite the Story
Case 19 is a narrative project written by myself and two other students while studying abroad in Montreal, Québec. Case 19 is a stealth action game following special agent Jason Greer as he investigates human rights violations by super corporation Asgard Industries in the heart of Africa. The project was overseen by Jessi Thind, writer of Splinter Cell Convictions’ cooperative campaign. With his guidance we produced a final project that is in line with industry standards. We also had the chance to act as an outsourced writing team, taking another team’s script and writing a co-op mission for it using co-op specific systems developed by each team.
This project involved many documents covering the various responsibilities of a writer in the game industry. These documents include:
Mission Bible – A detailed guide for each mission in the game. Includes information about cinematics, scripted events, story critical dialogue, and much more.
Character Bible – Contains a breakdown of each character. This includes a biography, a timeline of events in their life, how the handle difficult situations, and more.
NPC AI – A breakdown of possible lines and barks for each type of NPC in their various AI states such as seeing the player.
Player AI – A breakdown of lines and barks for the player when certain things happen. This includes states like standing idle for too long, and taking out enemies.
Collectables – There were three forms of collectables in Case 19 with each serving a different purpose. These took the form of First Information Reports from victimized citizens, Papers and E-mails revealing corruption and human rights violations, and Warrants that acted as optional side missions for players.
Random Conversations – Each week, we had to write one conversation that NPCs can have during the course of regular gameplay. These were randomly occurring, and could be overheard by the player as they progressed through the game.
Case 19 is split up into three missions, with each contributor responsible for the minutia of one mission as well as the total cohesiveness of the overall story and mechanics. After the three of us settled in on a theme, overarching story and mechanics, my job was to work out the details for the game’s second mission. The level took place at a mansion belonging to the region’s corrupt governor. The governor had grown rich thanks to illegal dealings with Asgard Industries, and the people in his region were suffering for it. The mission involved sneaking into his mansion in the dead of night, securing evidence of his involvement with Asgard Industries’ crimes and interrogating the Governor himself.
My co-op narrative system was the cooperative hacking system. Under this system, players have to communicate under time pressure to synchronize their actions to successfully hack into computer systems.
Narrative Script Excerpt: The Governor’s Mansion
Random NPC Conversation: World Cup Bombings
Character Bio: Governor Adroa Kaggwa
Co-op Narrative System: Synchronized Hacking
Writing Case 19 was an all around fantastic experience. The team worked very well together, and the end result was better for having three sets of eyes review everything. Going through each part of the process gave me a strong sense of what it takes to be a writer in the game industry, and talking with Jessi gave me insights into how to operate as a writer on a team.