《紀念碑谷2》是如何利用遊戲機製表達感人故事

《紀念碑谷2》是如何利用遊戲機製表達感人故事

原作者:Alissa McAloon 譯者:Willow Wu

就如前作一樣,Ustwo Games的《紀念碑谷2》是一款視覺衝擊力極強的解謎遊戲,玩家要幫助遊戲的主人公在極其抽象的環境中找到唯一的出路。這次,開發團隊想用續作來補充一些前作沒能展現的東西。

在今年的GDC上,Ustwo Games的遊戲設計師Lea Schonfelder表示他們想保留《紀念碑谷》的遊戲特色,在此基礎上進行提升。在視覺上,他們想讓遊戲的每一幀都像是一幅藝術作品,就像是前作那樣,但會更加精美。Schonfelder說這些設計難度極高的M.C. Escher式幾何圖形就是《紀念碑谷》世界的精髓,他們想要在第二部中繼續研究這些謎題。

遊戲的第一部講述了一個惹人喜愛的故事,Ustwo Games想在續作中呈現一個更加有深度的故事。這個故事究竟會是怎樣的?Schonfelder說他們思考了一個關於原諒、自由、認可、驕傲或者是信任的故事。在進行權衡的時候,他們逐漸明白這些元素都能融入到同一個故事中去。

Schonfelder說:“我們問自己,如果這些情感變化都出現在同一種關係呢?” 從這以後,一個母親和她孩子之間的故事就開始了。

相比用對話或者是文字呈現劇情,《紀念碑谷2》用的是色彩、關卡設計和變化的遊戲機制來體現母親和孩子在整個遊戲過程中的內心掙扎以及成長。

Monument Valley(from gamesindustry.biz)

Monument Valley(from gamesindustry.biz)

Schonfelder說“我們不想用尋常的方法插入劇情,我們的目標是把遊戲當成媒介,讓玩家通過遊戲機制感受遊戲本身。”

舉個例子,在遊戲前期,女兒和媽媽是可以一起移動的,但是後來發生了突發事件——路塌了,她們不得不分開走。當玩家控制媽媽的時候,她的女兒被困在另一個平臺上,嘗試着接近她的媽媽。提到這個突然的意外,Schonfelder解釋說這象徵着角色的各自變化,同時又引導了玩家如何利用孩子的跟隨屬性,而這一切都不需要任何文字表達或者是直白地跟玩家解釋這是在幹什麼。

雖然媽媽可以很容易達到通關大門,但是玩家們憑直覺就能明白在去往下一個關卡之前母女必須匯合,這是因爲經歷了之前的章節,這種母女之一體化的羈絆已經深深烙印在玩家心中。

在團聚之後,玩家仍要使用這種新的行動方式。孩子要面對一個新情景,她開始獨立探索,而且這種獨立行動所產生的自信感還會持續增長。直到母女二人來到了一個不得不分別的時刻,她們必須分頭行動了。

從這一刻開始,《紀念碑谷2》的故事就產生分支了。對於母親來說,她的旅程變成了一個自我反思的過程,女兒踏上了通往成年的道路,這是一條光明而又積極的路,而她則需要探索母親之外的意義。Schonfelder解釋說,兩邊的關卡設計都會有很大變化,來強調故事進入了新的章節。

“兩個角色都在經歷轉變,她們要成爲更加獨立的人,”團隊巧妙地通過視覺隱喻來呈現兩個角色的旅程,如果你把兩邊的畫面對比着看會覺得相當明顯——母親的世界突然變成了灰色調,而女兒的世界是色彩明亮、充滿活力的。Schonfelder播放了一段從各個關卡剪輯而來的音樂,解釋了他們是如何利用音樂來表現出母女二人的不同心路歷程。

顏色、聲音以及關卡設計都在向玩家傳達角色的當前心態。Schonfelder用母親的旅程舉例,最終,母親通過自我反思對自己有了新的認識,這些關卡中的螺旋設計就直接地隱喻了自身的內在探索。

在另一邊,女兒的旅程氛圍由樂觀向上轉爲沉寂,因爲她正面臨着獨立行動所帶來的困難。但是在單人旅程的結尾,她從一朵花中走出來,成爲了一個大人,就如Schonfelder字面所說的,一個含苞待放的女孩成年了。
Schonfelder說:“把這些設計都融入到劇情中去,我們就要思考如何使用這些隱喻來表達角色的情感以及遊戲的基調,”

她說遊戲關卡之間的那些文字確實是對劇情有錦上添花的作用,但這些文字是後來才增加的,因爲他們剛開始很擔心遊戲會過度依賴文字表述劇情。

使用那些“講故事”的場景確實能讓玩家更容易、更直接地瞭解相關劇情,但是團隊刻意避開了這種設計,《紀念碑谷2》一定要讓玩家通過玩法本身瞭解劇情。

Schonfelder總結道:“相較於其它媒體形式,遊戲可以用不同方式傳達劇情,它們不一定要用文字。故事沒有固定表達方式,反之有很多不同、有趣的技巧可以探索。”

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Like its predecessor, Ustwo Games’ Monument Valley 2 is a visually striking puzzle game in which players help its protagonist navigate an impossible arrangement of abstract environments, but the development team wanted to use the sequel as an opportunity to elaborate beyond what the first game had presented.

Speaking at GDC 2018, Ustwo Games game designer Lea Schonfelder said that the team wanted to retain but improve on key features of the first Monument Valley. Visually, they wanted every moment of the game to look as if it could be a piece of artwork, just as they had with the original game but this time with less of a 2014 feel. For individual levels, Schonfelder said that the impossible, M.C. Escher-like geometry was the heart of the Monument Valley world, and the team wanted to continue to explore those puzzles for the second game.

While the original Monument Valley told an endearing story on its own, Ustwo Games wanted to tell an even deeper story in the follow-up game. When trying to figure exactly what that deeper story would be, Schonfelder said the team considered a tale of forgiveness, freedom, acceptance, pride, or trust. But as they weighed the options, it started to become clear that all were elements of the same story.

“We started asking ourselves, what if all these variations were part of the same relationship?” said Schonfelder, and from there the story of the relationship between a mother and her child started to take form.

But rather than tell that story through dialog or text, Monument Valley 2 uses color, level design, and changing mechanics to portray the internal struggles and growth felt by each character as their relationship evolves throughout the game.

“The team didn’t want to add the story by usual methods,” explained Schonfelder. “The goal was to leverage games as a medium and allow the player to feel the game through its mechanics.”

For example, early on the mother and daughter characters move as one unit throughout levels, but after being forcefully separated by a crumbling walkway that abruptly changes. While players still have control of the mother, the daughter is stranded on a separate platform and follows from a distance to try and get as close to her parent as possible. This abrupt change, explained Schonfelder, served both symbolize a change in each character’s role and teach players how the child’s follow mechanic worked without using text or an explicit explaination.

Though the exit level door is clearly within the mother’s reach after that separation, Schonfelder explained that players still instinctively knew that the mother and daughter must be reunited before exiting the level, simply because of the emotional weight that had been placed on their cohesive movement during the early parts of the game.

Even after being reunited, the new movement mechanic remains as the child starts to explore the newfound independence that was suddenly introduced to her in the previous level, and that confidence continues to grow (and the dynamic continues to change) until the pair reaches a point in their lives where they must go their separate ways.

At that point, the story of Monument Valley 2 branches out. For the mother, her journey has become a self-reflective arc about discovering meaning beyond motherhood while the daughter embarks on a bright and optimistic journey into adulthood. In both cases, Schonfelder explained, level design elements change drastically to reinforce the new stories being told.

“Both characters experience a transformation and develop from their old roles into an individual,” said Schonfelder. The artful way the team used visual metaphors to explain each character’s journey is especially apparent when looking at the scenes side by side; grayscale dominates the mother’s suddenly colorless world while the daughter’s environments are bright and vibrant. Schonfelder played a clip of audio from each level as well, explaining how vastly different sounds were used for each to drive home the emotional journey being experienced.

As each progresses through their individual arcs color, audio, and level design continue to inform the players of that character’s current state of mind. Schonfelder used the mother’s journey as an example of this during her talk. Eventually, as the mother looks toward self-reflection to rediscover herself during her journey, the levels themselves mirror spirals as a very literal metaphor for the process of looking within one’s self.

Meanwhile the daughter’s journey progresses from bright and optimistic to more muted tones as she is confronted with the difficulties solo living entails. But at the end of her individual journey she emerges from a flower as an adult, as Schonfelder says literally blossoming into adulthood.

On the left, the child’s early solo journey with the mother’s first moments alone on the right.

“Working this into the story meant thinking about how we could use these metaphors that were already present for the mood and tone of the story,” said Schonfelder.

She noted that the game does have some instances of text that compliment the story, provided as interludes between levels, but that those were a late addition to the game as the team was initially worried they’d lean too heavily on text to tell a story.

Using those small ‘storyteller’ scenes, she explains, does give the player a more direct message about the story but the team consciously designed Monument Valley 2 in a way where that information is communicated through gameplay first and foremost.

“Games can tell story differently than other media; they don’t necessarily need written words,” closed Schonfelder. “There’s no one right way to do it, but there are different interesting techniques to explore.”(source:gamasutra.com