Simplify a Mammoth Game Universe into a Few Words Six Hours Before Demo
Updated: Sep 21, 2019
It’s 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, January 11, 2018 and the writing team has been on a video call with Blue Alchemy Studios (BAS) founder Jabari Alii for over ninety minutes. The website for Planet Rise, the first game scheduled for release from BAS will go live in less than an hour. We have to fix the narrative language and time is running out.
Tonight, BAS will demo a player vs. player (PvP) version of Planet Rise (PR) at the Winter
Play event hosted by Playcrafting at Google Launchpad’s 301 Howard Street location.
It’s a huge opportunity to gauge response and record any bugs visitors might report when they sit down to play. Investors and scouts are among the rumored attendees, and the anticipation of unknown possibility grows with each ticking second.
But, that’s tonight.
Right now the focus is the website language. Everyone is pitching in their favorite sentences to finish rewriting the two paragraphs that will become the introduction to the worlds that inhabit the galaxy of Planet Rise.
Words like trusted, theft, betrayal and chaos are shaped into tighter sentences and phrases. Some are edited and kept; others, stripped of fluff and cliché, then factored down into root word main ideas and common denominators; then rebuilt with each suggested word that the writing team believe fit best.
And then someone, nameless, but known to all adds, “A Mephistophelian truth…”
I can’t help bursting out laughing as I reply, “Who is studying for the GRE here?”
“Just because I like the word…”
“I’m not gonna lie,” adds another voice. “Mephos- nope, so, how do you say that word?”
There is more laughter and hands clapping. A mention of lines about movie trailers gets worked in, and another line about tongue twisters suggested
In that moment, the PR writing team marked another milestone, with no more effort than logging a new chapter in the saga they were writing together.
It would have made sense if we became angry or difficult with the approaching deadline. If lines of territory or ownership were drawn, it would not have been a surprise. Instead — facing a looming deadline and under the added pressure of a demo that night — we were laughing, creating and shaping a shared language together.
It takes courage to offer untested sentences. It requires a shared trust between the group and the individuals that define it. When you are building a universe from the ground up it’s important to trust the writers on your team.
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