Word Design and Dialogue in The Word Is Not The Thing

Jan 9, 2018

Here are some insights I've had while doing the word design and dialogues for The Word Is Not The Thing. 

A story must have a hero/character. A story must have a situation/hardship. A story must have an overcoming of that hardship. So what is the hardship in The Word Is Not The Thing? 

It's the emotions, the feeling. And the overcoming is not escaping from it; dealing with it as it is; being free of fear entirely. 

The dialogues can start mid-conversation and be kept short, cutting through formalities and allowing some questions to remain open. It's okay to do this as interactions with characters is the player dropping in and out of their individual situations over 3 days, sort of stepping in and out of their lives. Over the course of the game, we start with each character's situation and by the last day, we leave with their uncertainty/fear. We all share the same fears. 

In terms of the main character, which is the player, no one cares about your loss. How long has it been since your child died? How did they die? These questions are not answered. 

The dialogues are designed to give off a sense of isolation. No one is really concerned with talking with you, but at you. That's why they're effectively one-way. 

There's the object, the character, the conversation, and then there's the word. Is the word how you feel, or is it how the character feels? If it's how you feel, it's interesting. The words have to be how you feel, and this is brought out by the emotional words. 

No one will admit how they feel, so the word should be more how they might feel, not what they feel. Overall, the game could be a blend of environmental words, of the emotional states of others, of what you might be thinking, of how you might feel.