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What makes for an interesting story?

Out of these three choices, what is your favorite part of the story in a hack?

  • The evil team plot arc

    Votes: 4 50.0%
  • The gym leader/Elite Four experience

    Votes: 1 12.5%
  • The setting

    Votes: 3 37.5%

  • Total voters
    8

petuuuhhh

Active member
#1
Hey! I'm making my own hack right now, and by my own standards, the story seems very compelling. I would like to compare it with other stories, and discuss storytelling in general. I've been working with both a writer and someone who wants to become one, and they've been providing me with some pretty interesting concepts and ideas. I want to know: What makes for an interesting story? Is it an evil team, bent on becoming more powerful? Is it the gym leader/Elite Four experience itself? Or is it neither of those things, and revolves around the setting of the game? There are so many aspects of plot and setting that it is difficult to judge.
 
#2
Hmmmm. Story in a Pokemon game is a tough nut to crack, mostly because of how the gameplay works.

If we have to talk of existing plot elements, then the evil team arc is definitely the most interesting to me. That said, that heavily hinges on what makes your evil team unique - if they're just Rocket clones or one dimensional evil without much of a purpose, then it gets old having to deal with them because we all know how this is going to end. Maybe the evil team has control over the region your character lives in and/or has a front that stops people from going after them.

Really, what makes any story interesting are the characters themselves. Perhaps the main leader of your villain team genuinely believes what he/she's doing is right (complete with a tragic past), but they won't let anybody get in their way at any cost. That or they're a gleeful psychopath with a wicked sense of humor, but just human enough to be believable - aka. they're not just a random crazy guy off the street because how did they organize a big group of people like this without it falling apart before you even get to them? Villains deserve as much development as the main characters do.

That said, the gym leader/elite four experience by itself isn't too terribly compelling (for me, anyway) but you can use gym leaders as a buffer between plot elements. Letting the player breathe between events is absolutely necessary - also, I prefer it if plot elements are given slowly over time instead of pushing the player into danger immediately.

That's just my two cents. Hope you get your hack completed soon!
 
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#3
It really depends on the focus of your own story. Any of those can do it for me when done well, but it's indeed mostly the characters that make a story appealing. To make a character stand out and memorable, giving it its own manner of speech or key phrase (such as Blue's "Smell ya later") can help a lot! ^^

If we look at the official Pokémon games, the Gym Leaders are incredibly boring. You go to their Gym, say hi, do a battle and claim a badge as your reward. Just because they act as a "boss" at some point in the game doesn't mean they have to be just that. I find the most memorable Gym Leaders to be the ones who can be met outside their Gym as well.
An evil team is already a little more interesting by itself, since it has a goal and a motivation to pursue said goal. (Unless they're doing everything just "for the evulz", in which case you may have to reconsider a thing or two.)

Ideally you want the different arcs smoothly shift into each other, or even better, have them integrated in each other. Have NPCs talk about the aspects that make your region unique, involve the Gym Leaders in these aspects (if Ponyta riding is a big thing in your region, one of the Leaders could run a riding school for example) and have the evil team tie in to the region's background/lore.
 

Deokishisu

Active member
#4
I think an often neglected piece of a hack's story is the background info and the environments themselves. Many times when I'm playing a hack I'll talk to everyone I can find, but they say nothing of value or are very generic. These NPCs are a hacker's opportunity to flesh out the region and make it feel like part of a living, breathing world. If all NPCs feel like cardboard cutouts, the region will seem flat even if the main plot is engaging. Making towns a one-and-done linear affair has this effect as well. If no areas are consequential or memorable when the story isn't happening in them, that's an issue.

Furthermore, one can tell a story with good environment design too. A good map can help to prop up plot elements that happen within them. Is your evil team forced to look for their plot device in the mountains? You can justify their frustration and fatigue by making the map feel treacherous to the player, and that sort of design subtly reinforces the attitudes of the characters. Good map design can inform on cultural aspects of the people in an area as well, but only if that's supported somehow in dialogue.

You need a good plot, but you can't forget the stage and the extras that support it.