This week, I replaced the text-based introduction with an interactive one. I wanted the player to be part of Viola's frustration, which causes the violin's fantasy world to open up. After this part, the game starts right away with a smaller tutorial level where the player meets Fenrys.
Click 'Read more' to read more about the introduction.
Play, Don't Show
I'm a fan of the writing adage "Show, Don't Tell". The text-based introduction was a means to thrust the player a bit deeper into the game, so they can quickly understand the context of the game and start playing with more characters added to their party.
For video games, I think lots of game designers (and perhaps particularly narrative designers) come to the conclusion that the adage should be "Play, Don't Show". It's a little simplistic, but it is what I had in mind when it comes to this introduction.
However, this intro also shows the exact gap in this new adage. The key, in my opinion, would be to let the player feel the emotions of the main character. However, in this introduction, Viola feels frustration: years and years of it. Frustration is one of the things you generally don't want your player to feel, lest they put down your game for something else. At the same time, this is an introduction: meant to get the player into the action. While sticking the player in this screen for 3 or more minutes would probably generate a lot of frustration, I definitely don't want the player to feel like Viola does: that they'd want to throw and smash their controller.
So I opted for a shorter scene, where the player only feels a glimpse of Viola's frustration. Maybe they don't feel any frustration at all, but hopefully they can at least come a little closer to understanding it.
I wrote the scene's monologue to do the following:
Viola's mom wasn't dead until the start of this week. The original idea to establish Viola's personal connection was a connection to her grandfather. However, I wanted to make it even more personal, and decided on the death of her mother.
The piece that plays on Viola's radio is the first Partita of Bach's six violin pieces. They were indeed called Sei Solo a Violino senza Basso accompagnato by Bach. However, correct Italian would be "sei soli". The literal meaning of "sei solo" is "you are alone", which fits Viola's feelings and thoughts at the start of the game. She feels alone, abandoned, and she even takes a little bit of pride in being a loner.
Musicians believe that Bach's pieces were named as such to reflect or reference the sudden passing of Bach's wife. This was another factor that went into killing Viola's mom.
The section that plays is the first: the "Allemande" or "I. Allemanda" as written down by the performer: John Garner.
Stuff I'd want to polish: