Tuesday, 12 July 2016

The villain of the story

In the past there have been many great villains in stories, from the menacing Pyramid head from “Silent Hill” to the crazy Joker from the Batman series. However, villain design is not something that comes easy to most people.

So today I want to discuss the basics of villain design, we here at Late Panda have recently begun the design of our main villain from Skorian Tales and how they fit into the story. To effectively create our villain we started with the very basics that I will be discussing today.
First things first, you have to decide on the best villain type to fit your story; a mechanic type villain, whose sole purpose is to effectively test the player’s skill with the gameplay mechanics. Or a narrative villain, who will further the plot of the game and drive the player to eventually overcome them in an epic battle at the end of the game. There are many great examples of each type and neither is better than the other. When creating the main villain of the story one is better than the other, and will completely depend on the type of story being created. However, both can exist in the same game as a sub villain or secret creatures to face depending on type of story created.

The Extra Credits YouTube channel created a video series on villain types discussing mechanic villains and narrative type villains in great depth. If you are a novice to story writing I strongly suggest watching these videos as they highlight the characteristics and give many examples of each, in a much better way than I could in a Blog post. They also discuss the Force of Nature villain in another video, these are much more complex characters and much more difficult to create a great villain over the basic mechanic or narrative villain but those who overcome the challenge can create the greatest most recognised villains.

There are spoilers ahead for the Jessica Jones series and the character’s within, if you have not seen the series or are sensitive to any issues in the series stop reading now.
I will end this blog discussing one of my personal favourite villains, Kilgrave from the Netflix series Jessica Jones. For those that have not seen the Jessica Jones series, I strongly urge you to watch as it is a great example of a narrative villain that said the series deals with very dark issues and some people may be offended by the material.

I want to stress that this is a personal view, I do not firmly believe that everyone will enjoy the portrayal of Kilgrave in Jessica Jones as everyone is entitled to their own views.
What I believe makes this villain so great is that Kilgrave truly believes that he is not a villain. He is manipulative, menacing and seen by all as a monster, but he doesn’t see those flaws. He views himself as damaged and cursed with the power to control, living his life not knowing if people are doing what he wants because he made them or because they want to. With this character depth it adds much more to the villain not only creating something for the hero of the series to overcome but a character that the viewer can watch as he spirals down to the monster he becomes.



I’ll stop raving about Kilgrave’s character and just allow anyone to view the series themselves. It is a great example of character design and can help you create a person over the standard villain.

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Thanks for reading,
Stephen

“Don’t be afraid to give up the good for the great” - John D Rockefeller