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  • Game Narrative Review: Lost Odyssey

    [08.27.09]
    - Bryant Wood
  •  In an effort to get more student developers thinking about game narrative, the Writers' Summit at GDC Austin supported an annual contest in association with the IGDA Writers SIG.

    Working in conjunction with prestigious programs such as Digipen, The Guildhall and RIT, the board -- including game narrative professionals such as Susan O'Connor, Lev Chapelsky, Tom Abernathy, Dana Fos, and Richard Dansky -- has challenged students to produce in-depth analyses of the narrative elements of their favorite video games.

    The goal is twofold: to encourage students to look at game narrative and writing with the intensity and depth that they do other aspects of game development, and to reward the students who excel at game narrative analysis.

    Winners in the competition are given the chance to present their work in a poster session at the GDC Austin, while the top three finishers receive special recognition and a conference pass. Covering games ranging from best-sellers to obscure imports, and from today's biggest hits to classics from a decade ago, the competition shone a spotlight on the insightful and original thinking today's students are doing about game narrative.

    GameCareerGuide is happy to present some of the competition's standout entrants.

    Game Title: Lost Odyssey
    Platform: Xbox 360
    Genre: Role-Playing
    Release Date: February 12, 2008
    Developer: Mistwalker, feelplus
    Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
    Game Writer/Creative Director/Narrative Designer: Hironobu Sakaguchi

    Overview

    Lost Odyssey takes place in a world that is undergoing a magical-industrial revolution. Magic engines have been invented to harness magic power in order to make everyday tasks easier and more efficient. At the same time, the nations of Uhra and Gohtza have used magic energy to create more destructive weapons to be used in battle. A third nation, Numara, has researched magic engines but due to its neutral isolationist policies hasn't created weaponry. Lost Odyssey begins with a battle between Uhra and a savage nation, Khent, on the Highlands of Wohl. Suddenly a huge meteor lands on the battlefield, destroying all but a few survivors. The player takes control of Kaim, one of the survivors.

    The narrative of Lost Odyssey has a basis in immortality. The five major characters of Lost Odyssey (Kaim, Sarah, Seth, Ming, and Gongora) have come from a parallel universe in which time works differently. In the world of Lost Odyssey these characters are Immortal, unable to die and never seeming to age. This extends only to these characters and is not passed to their children, born in the new world. The Immortals first arrived 1000 years ago with the intention of helping the planet. After realizing the great power the Immortals wield on this planet, Gongora, an Immortal sorcerer, grows a desire to become a god over the world. Gongora uses his power to cast a spell that erases the memories of the other Immortals so they won't try to stop his plan to become a god.

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