The primary reason to have dialogue in a game is to tell a story. Video games use a lot more than just dialogue to tell stories. I’m going to talk a little bit about how we present dialogue to the players in order to tell a story.
Dialogue systems in games typically get broken down into two main categories, branching and non-branching dialogue. Non-branching dialogue is typically just a chance to give the player information while branching dialogue gives players some agency as to how the story gets told. In Last Epoch we are presenting dialogue in 3 main ways, barks, dialogue boxes and voice acting. We will quite often combine these methods to craft an environment that will tell the story.
Barks are brief little text blurbs that appear above character’s heads in the world space. They are great ways for secondary characters to have background conversations or to draw the attention of the player to come over and interact with the them. I expect that many characters will have brief barks that lead into full dialogue text boxes for people who are more interested in the story.
Dialogue boxes are the primary way that we will convey information the the player and give the player options. Accepting (or rejecting) quests, getting information you’ll need to advance a quest, or just learning about the characters that inhabit the world will be all done using dialogue boxes. These dialogue box branching conversations will be used when the text that needs to be displayed is more than a couple lines at most.
Voice Acting. We have an awesome group of voice actors that have already delivered some awesome lines for us. We will be voicing all major characters along with all major story dialogue events which need to be conveyed to the player for the story to make sense. Voice acting also gives us a chance to put very specific spins on the dialogue that don’t come through in pure text. We will also be able to use voice acting to present story elements to you while you are hacking, slashing, casting and bartering.
We know that most people don’t actually read all of the dialogue boxes that get popped up on the screen. That’s why we are using all three of these methods in conjunction with each other. Even players who rush and skip through everything will get a good understanding of the story by the time they are through the game.
I think that we have a really awesome story and we will be using all the tools at our disposal to bring that story to life.
Most of these dialogue elements are not implemented in the current public demo as of this posting but keep an eye out for them as we get closer to Kickstarter.