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WildStar Wednesday: Designing Game Lore

Written by Chad “Pappy” Moore on August 30, 2012

Hey all!

As you already know, telling a compelling story is very important to us here at Carbine. When you’re creating a whole new universe from scratch, the devil is often in the details—and this means that the narrative design team has been hard at work writing documents which serve as the foundation for almost everything that goes into our game. This week, we thought we’d give you a look into one of our lore documents, with a little added developer insight about the reasons we write the things we do.

And so! Without further ado…we present the character lore of Dorian Walker, the famous Exile explorer who discovered the planet Nexus:

  
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Overview

[The overview serves as an executive summary of the character—the equivalent of TL;DR  for the internet savvy. It gives a condensed version of their history, personality and motivations.]

Dorian Walker is the famous explorer responsible for discovering planet Nexus, and is considered an almost legendary figure among the Exiles.  Cantankerous, stubborn, and fearless, Dorian has an almost limitless sense of adventure—and despite his advanced age, can still often be found out in the field, exploring the many wonders of planet Nexus.

Stats

[Stats are the vital statistics for the character—species, gender, and age.]

Species: Exile human
Gender: Male
Age: 77 years old

Physical Description

[The physical description is meant to paint a mental picture of the character for those reading the document—as well as serving as a guideline for the artist who is responsible for drawing his concept.]

Dorian Walker is in great physical shape for a 77-year-old. Years in cheap spaceships without artificial gravity should have left him frail and killed him long ago, yet he remains hale and hearty—although he has a cybernetic arm and leg as a result of some of his most dangerous adventures. Many attribute his unnatural vigor to the exotic energies of the Eldan planet he discovered long ago.

History

[The history section tells the character’s story, laying out the events which shape their personalities, passions and motivations. For narrative designers, this is an extremely important section, as it lays the foundations for the stories that ultimately tell in the game. The example below is just the beginning of Dorian’s history section—we wouldn’t want to spoil anything for you. :)]

During the Exiles’ long flight through the Fringe after the Cassian Civil War, Dorian Walker had become one of the their most reliable pathfinders—pilots who scouted the way light-years ahead of the fleet looking for threats or places to resupply. Having lost his wife to Spacer’s Plague not long after they were married, Dorian had been forced to raise their daughter Belle alone—and despite the hardships of life on the Fleet, the two became very close. But Dorian’s true obsession was planet Nexus, the legendary planet of the Eldan that had eluded discovery for more than two thousand years...

Personality Profile

[The personality profile is a description of the character’s unique personality—which determines things like their general attitude concerning events on Nexus, and how they speak to the player and other NPCs.]

A famously stubborn individual, Walker never compromises or backs down from a challenge. Never afraid to speak his mind, Dorian has always been sure of himself and his beliefs, clearly shown through his dedication to discovering the legendary Eldan homeworld despite the resistance and skepticism of his peers. This overconfidence often gets him in to trouble—especially in the dangerous, unexplored wilds of planet Nexus.

Style Guide

[The Style Guide is meant to serve as a guideline for how characters are written—including such things as speech patterns, common sayings and dialog examples. The section below is a shortened version of Dorian’s complete style guide.]

Dialogue

Dorian Walker's dialogue is that cocky explorer, but one with decades of experience and no small amount of belief in his own abilities. His speech does not carry as strong a dialect as other Exiles, as he has spent much time outside the fleet interacting with other cultures. He is often impatient and rude with those who require explanations, and doesn't like people trying to change his mind. Dorian tends to nickname people in a brusque style rather than use their full name.

"No time for questions, sport. There’s some ruins to be explored, and not a lot of time to do it."

"Say that again, slick? I’m too old to be out here? Maybe you ought to shut your mouth and do your best to just look stupid.”

"Listen, champ. I got more books and charts than you can shake a stick at. But I tell you: the only real map is the one you carry in your head."

 

This is just one example of the hundreds of documents that narrative design has written for WildStar. We have similar documents for zones, world groups, factions, cities, dungeons, story philosophies, casting sheets…I’m sure you get the picture. But each and every one of them serve a specific purpose—defining a clear and consistent direction for the unique world that you will experience in WildStar.

See you soon!

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