I’ve always had a soft spot for a good B-story. Back when I was a working actor, I was often cast as the B-story guy — which is to say, not the romantic lead in the musical, but the funny guy who falls for the funny girl who is not the ingenue. Not the stars, but in a well-written script, a good B-story adds richness, depth and variety to a constructed world.
When we set out to outline the complex and branching storylines of HRO, we made a conscious decision to embrace the character-driven B-story. So within the larger, more traditional arc of classic space opera crises, there are also smaller, more human stories which explore relationships and allow us to talk about things the more expected plot lines won’t. Sure the Endeavor’s bridge has been seized by technologically-advanced aliens, but there’s also an Ensign whose fiancee is being held hostage there, and the player has the choice of exploring and participating in the resolution of either story dimension. The emotional toll of grieving abducted children, unrequited love, mental health and its relationship to informed consent — these and more are all B-story threads that players could choose to explore across the sweep of the HRO season.
Because we love the B-story and want to incentivize the exploration of the more “character-driven” stories within the game, we built the six unlockable mini-episodes (“episode-ettes”) around resolving the B-story plots. So if a player chooses to help a character with a smaller, more personal story, they might find that story playing itself out in a later unlockable chapter that the traditional “min-max” style players probably won’t ever encounter. It’s an investment in the inner life of the game world and we hope to make it one which pays off for those players who choose to connect and empathize with the people they meet there.
Worthing and Moncrieff, LLC is an independent developer of video game stories founded in 2015.