I think I’m still alive, and writing a branching narrative is a really fun exercise where we write a full 100-page script like a movie script. A 100-page script where we write all the characters and we can develop our character styles, and once we have that, we can start working on how to break it down into a 10-hour experience, and the actors are used to 100-page feature film scripts, and this one was over a thousand pages.
So they were very shocked that we had to shoot, and it was very shocking to them as well, about 50 pages a day, which is unheard of, it was crazy footage, but obviously a lot of what they were learning was repetitive, but different branches and they were performing a scene and then I could say, okay, now we’re going to go back here and we’re going to do it again but this time you’re going to get the axe to the head , it’s really a mathematical nightmare when it comes to branching, it’s just exponential, if you one branch, if you then if it’s two completely different routes if you have two completely different routes you branch again, then two more, then two more, when you have 20 choices you have a lot of data and stuff, so we have to um, we have to look at how we how to make a real branching game without making it so ridiculous and uh, huge and even unplayable so we broke the story down so we broke the story down into the characters that you play in Quarry there are nine different characters and each character has their own story because you have to make choices for them and the choices that you make change their behavior the big choices, they could end up dead the small choices , you could have quite an impact on their relationship Obviously, these stories have to be intertwined because you can go wide through the branching lines and then they start coming back again, it’s kind of like the story itself is changing.
We’ve designed 186 different endings for these characters, not just alive or dead, and all kinds of things can happen to them, but the stories that happen to them along the way are also diverse.
Our big choices are these things called path choices, and these path choices affect the story dramatically, and we’ll announce to you that you never know when it’s going to come up, and you’re never warned about it, and it can seem insignificant, but it’s a big deal little choices that affect the story that you’re actually playing, like relationships and so forth and we’re very fond of giving you the idea of context, so you can have the exact same conversation, but knowing that that person just killed somebody, the context changes everything, so we announce a little bit on the side, just saying how every time you do something that has an effect on the person you’re talking to, or how you have or what effect that choice has on what’s happening, as long as you know that, everything else is slightly skewed.
If you’ve got nine stories that are all interconnected then it’s easy to kill one of them or have them killed or whatever, it’s not hard to do, like I said, it’s easy because it’s a binary thing and at the end of the day they’re they’re reliable and they’re dead and that has a big impact on everybody else and that’s when it all starts to become a little bit like a house of cards and the other thing we do is trying to make these things manageable, which is kind of scary so obviously what we do is we separate everybody and that’s you know, that’s what separates people the advantage of that is if you separate everybody if we do something really important with one or two of the characters early on, we can leave it on them without necessarily trying to affect the others there’s a rhythm to this kind of stuff that you have to have a fairly intense start and then there’s a get-to-know-you part, which is very important for us because we need to have a certain level of empathy for the characters, but definitely get to know the characters, what you think of them, and how you’re going to develop them so if they start out like a blank slate, you can make them better or worse, however you decide to get those conversations going, but once we start getting the desks started, we don’t throw grenades and kill everybody at once, because you know, horror stories like that are pretty uninteresting. My personal favorite way to do it is to have a few people die and a few people die horribly, but you can also just play it and you can keep everybody alive depending on what you want to see or what I’m playing. Preview or