Killing the Ones You Love

“In writing, you must kill your darlings.” –William Faulkner

As you may want to know, not only am I writing Ignis Fatuus: Somnium as a novel, but also as I always envisioned it- an RPG inspired by Final Fantasy before things went down south with both the game series I love and failing to pursue the one thing I was passionate about. I have played around with RPG Maker 2003 back when I was younger and even as a kid I set pretty high standards for myself that I failed to live up to. I stopped playing around with the series once I switched to a Mac because of game design but then RPG Maker VX Ace came out, so I never got to demo it. Browsing Siliconera one day, I saw an announcement for RPG Maker MV and the first thing that got my attention was that it was announced for the Mac, so naturally I got as giddy like a child.

That passion I have for RPGs never left me, especially since I’ve recently gone back to playing Final Fantasy VII within the last few weeks which I must say is far better than today’s Final Fantasy and most of all is what started me on the path of writing even if I thought that it was game design. Now that I’m re-learning the software that’d make me realize a dream, I knew I was never able to kill that darling although I do get frustrated when something I’m trying to get working doesn’t work. If only I was not such a perfectionist.

Of course, I bring this up to discuss how even as both an aspiring author and game designer that as the opening quote states, I have to kill my darlings. I’ve been thinking about the number of characters would be accompanying Renier and whether they have any important roles within the storyline rather than be just a random follower the reader will forget about or not care for. Thinking as a user of RPG Maker also makes me think of how to balance my characters. The main issue that arose within my writing and game development was whether to have six or seven members of Renier’s party, himself included. I will list the benefits of having six characters for your convenience.

Six Characters

 

Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 3.20.00 PM.png
What a six-man party menu would look like. These are placeholder images and in no way represent how I envision my characters’ appearances.

 

  • I am able to give everyone their own weapon type
  • Each character is more focused on their own specialty in combat.
  • It’s an even number in case I decide to split up the party.

As you can see, I have a more balanced party than I would have I decided to go with my original seven-man party while I will describe.

Seven Characters

 

Screen Shot 2016-01-07 at 12.15.48 PM.png
What my seven-man party would be. Note how the menu looks more cramped.

 

  • Characters would have overlapping weapons.
  • Characters would have overlapping specialties. Two of the women would be magic-oriented for example while three of the men are more agile and one of them is better with magick than close-ranged combat.
  • More work setting up individual characters’ stats.

My final verdict from this experience of learning as a writer-slash-game designer is that I would have to merge aspects of two characters into one. I could make one of them a non-combatant or non-player character (NPC,) but why do that when I could have less characters for the reader to be focused on, even if I intend to write the novel in a free indirect discourse narrative focused on Renier’s point of view.

Well my fellow writers and game designers, what are your opinions regarding the amount of companions your protagonist has on his or her journey?

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