My name is Mark, and welcome to my blog – Amazing Gaming Productions.
Today’s blog is about the themes of Static Character Arcs.
In the Positive Character Arc series, we learned that stories with protagonists on this journey have personal themes. Love, loyalty, honour, redemption and many other concepts. These themes show the positives of living a better life by contrasting a protagonist’s journey from pain to truth.
They are wounded, and their wounds keep them from achieving their story goals. Once they understand the truth, they can fight the antagonist on even footing.
In a Static Character Arc, everything is fine with the character, but the world is hurting. These are the stories of Clark Kent and Steve Rogers – when the world tells you to move, you stand firm and inform the world it is the one that needs to move.
In this series, I will be using Horizon Zero Dawn (HZD) to tell the story of a hero that stands firm in their beliefs, changing the world for the better.
Before we continue, if you have not played Horizon Zero Dawn and you want to play it, stop reading and play the game. The opening will be enough for you to notice Aloy’s self-reliance and compassion throughout the game.
In a Static Character Arc, the story is all about the wounds in the world. What was it like to be the young man who did not give the Nazi Salute in that one picture? What was it like to be the kind man in the Gulag, helping everyone you can?
So the theme is about a world in pain. It can be summed up as good vs evil – like diversity vs racism, or tyranny vs freedom, or honour vs dishonour, or for “Webtastic Stories” truth vs Internet gossip.
In HZD, humanity is rebuilding itself in the wake of the “ancient’s” destruction – without any roadmap to help them along the way.
HZD’s theme is about our overreliance on technology.
The Thematic Question – will Aloy find out who she is, what happened to the ancients, what happened to the machines of her time, who she is, and set the world right?
In the tutorial of HZD, a young Aloy is learning about the sacred lands through her adoptive father, Rost. He teaches her to hunt and avoid the machines for parts and trading. He tells her they are getting more hostile to people as the years go on.
The thematic questions – what is causing the corruption of the machines, and can primitive humanity overcome these new obstacles and thrive?
Aloy works hard and comes to her first obstacle in the story, right after she wins the Proving. She comes before the “All Mother”, a door to an underground bunker. It scans her and tells her that there is corruption in the alpha registry and can not open for her. Again, this fits the theme because Aloy has to overcome a technical problem to learn about her past.
After tracking down a suspect who may be involved in planning her assassination during the Proving, she is led to old ruins and learns the fate of the old ones. They created self-replicating automated combat robots that used biomass as fuel. Once they were out of control, they consumed all life on Earth, dooming life and humanity.
Again, our over-reliance on technology doomed their world, leading to the events of Horizon Zero Dawn.
She has to deal with the antagonist of the story – Hades, an AI whose purpose is to cause the extinction of life. Aloy must prevent Hades from communicating with its allies and disables its network.
After that, she goes to a location to learn more about Project Zero Dawn, repairs the registry and inspires Nora and others to fight Hades forces at Meridian.
She partially answers the thematic question – Yes, Humanity can overcome this machine threat, repair the world, and thrive.
A Static Character Arc is always about a hero healing the wounds in the world. Whether you fought to save Jews as Schindler did, or you fought the Stalinists by helping people in the Gulag you were imprisoned in, or you tell people to stop listening to Internet drama and gossip.
These heroes inspire others because they are the trees so rooted in the stream of truth they change how others see the world, and we will look at how Aloy does this in the next blog.
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Have an excellent day, my friends!