Good morning, afternoon or evening, wherever you live on Earth!
I am Mark from Amazing Gaming Productions, and this is another story advice blog for Writers, Game Devs and Comicbook creators.
Today’s blog is about story arcs for Static Character Arcs (SCAs)
The story arc of any story is the antagonist’s story. They have goals they want to achieve. Antagonists always have the worst aspects of the theme of the story.
For Horizon Zero Dawn, the theme was humanity’s overreliance on AI and machines, leading to their downfall. For HZD, the antagonistic force has to be AI and machines.
In a Static Character Arc, the world is wounded and in chaos, not the protagonist. When you create the antagonistic force, find its main weakness and exploit it.
In HZD, AIs and machines can only do what they are programmed. While they simulate “thought and decision making”, they can only follow their programming.
If the Faro Plague could think, it would not extinguish all life on Earth because that means it would not have fuel for power. But the robots can only follow their programming and destroy everything and replicate until there is no fuel left.
When you create an SCA, think about the weaknesses of the antagonist.
What is holding them back from achieving their goals, so the Protagonist’s strength overcomes their blindspots!
Aloy’s self-reliance and compassion inspire others to face Hades, who can only do one thing – destroy all life on Earth.
The HZD story starts 9-months before Aloy is born. A signal tells the Gaia Network to activate Hades, who will destroy all life on Earth in 2 months without a reprieve this time.
Gaia, the AI responsible for terraforming the planet, tries to prevent Hades’ activation. Hades activates all the other subroutines, Gaia initiates Aloy’s birth, and the story starts.
Again, this shows the weakness of AI – it can only follow its programming. Gaia can only perform the functions of the terraforming network, and Hades can only destroy all life on Earth and set Gaia’s mistakes back to square 1.
After this, Hades is offloaded to a Horus class Titan. Hades sends a signal that interest Sylens, who helps Hades create the infrastructure to extend its reach in the world.
After it sees Aloy, the clone of Elizabet Sobeck, who can reset the Terraforming network, it goes berserk and orders her death. Her existence would prevent it from achieving its programming.
Aloy survives, and when it finds out she is still alive, it goes berserk again. She can not be allowed to defeat it; it must kill her!
When Aloy destroys its communication network, it launches its final plan to fulfil its programming, but Aloy stops it with her ingenuity and allies. It can only find the easiest way to execute its programming, a straight line from A to B. Aloy could learn many more things and overcome the programming with the help of all her allies.
When you create a story arc for a Static Character, remember the antagonist should have a weakness.
AIs and machines can only have one set of instructions limiting them to what they can and cannot do. Humanity can laterally think, which ends up preventing the AIs’ goals.
Whether Aloy can defeat Hades, or Elizabet Sobeck’s ability to outthink the Faro Plague and create Project Zero Dawn, humanity laterally thinks in ways that prevent the goals of AIs.
Always look at the weaknesses brought by some aspect of their antagonist. Maybe your antagonist is someone who is lying for “Fame, Clout, and Money!” so if someone revealed the truth, their life could come crashing down!
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Have a great day, guys!