A short story fable by Charlie Novak for the I/O M/F/? Award


ATTN: Mr. A. Watson

DIVISION: Scripting and Story Concept

RE: Sun, Moon, and Talia

FROM: Leila Simmons

To Mr. A. Watson,

You recently instructed my team and I to begin work on a script based on the Sun, Moon, and Talia story concept that you provided us with. It was explained to us that the driving force behind the decision to choose this particular fairy-tale, is your desire for us to produce a darker, grittier, and “more disturbing” story than what we usually use for our interactive storytelling. So far, Interactive Fairytales™ has by and large “played it straight” in regards to the tales we usually adapt. As I understand it, you have expressed an interest in diverging from this norm. While my team and I support the decision to pursue a different angle, we believe that there is so much more that can be done with this story.

The story concept for Sun, Moon, and Talia as you have presented it is darker and creepier than what we usually go for. But that is all it is. It doesn’t challenge anything. The characters still fall into the usual categories, even if their actions are more extreme. The stereotypes are still there. The king is strong and powerful, the princess weak and helpless, the villain evil and unreasonable. We think that Sun, Moon, and Talia presents an opportunity to do something new, something different. Instead of simply retelling the same story, we can challenge the story and reshape it to carry a more contemporary, and in my opinion, more meaningful message.

We are very excited to share our proposed edits to the current concept, which are enclosed. Our focus has been to try to defy the audience’s expectations. In so many video games, the hero is the hero because they are slaughtering endless, often faceless “monsters”. You know the villains are the villains because they are being killed by you. There is no moral dilemma. No questioning. This is what we seek to challenge and change with this concept. We have kept the traditional opening, and then slowly taken the story in a different direction. The king has insecurities, and the princess can make her own decisions. In place of the usual “villain” there is just another person, with her own valid thoughts and feelings.

This is where the gameplay comes in. We are proposing that our audience be able to experience the game, not just as the “hero”, but as any of the major characters. For example, for this game we are suggesting Talia, the king, and the queen as playable characters. We believe that this option will add depth to the gamer’s experience, as well as allow us to flesh out the characters, making them less one dimensional.

Of course, this concept is still a rough draft and will need to undergo extensive work before and during the scripting process. Nevertheless, we are confident that you will agree that our proposal has potential. Even if the idea is not taken on board for this project, we hope that it is an avenue that will be considered in the future.

Yours Sincerely,

Leila Simmons, Scripting Department.