Posts Tagged ‘Ragnar Tornquist’

Player Interaction Versus Story In MMOs?

An unhealthy longing for this kind of interaction.
This article by Secret World lead Ragnar Tornquist, in which he argues that there’s still room for stories that aren’t generated by player interaction, is a bit awkward. I can’t help thinking that it’s a defence against exactly the kind of criticisms I usually make of MMOs – that the effort put into their stories and quests would be better spent on providing players with the kinds of tools that they need to make their own stories. I am thinking here of the years I spent in Eve. But it made me think about the MMOs which actually put player interaction first. Other than Eve and Mortal Online I couldn’t really think of any. The Twittermind came to my rescue, suggesting Planetside – of course, with its lack of anything aside from purely player driven combat – but also Wurm Online, Neverdaunt, Love, and A Tale In The Desert. Which led me to think: What else is there? Could we make a list of MMOs where dev-developed story, fiction, and narrative content is necessarily secondary to the interaction of players? And how would be set up criteria for deciding that in borderline cases? What are the best examples of doing away with story? And what is it that generates the best stories from player interaction in MMOs? Comment peoples, open your brains.

Speaking Out: On Voice Direction

Actors, in a studio, recording voices!

As a fan of narrative-led games, there’s one subject that I’ve never taken for granted: voice direction. Which led me to wonder why so many games companies apparently do. Why do so many games have perfectly decent actors struggling with scripts, lines delivered with completely incorrect intonations, and conversations between characters which couldn’t sound more disjointed? Something as simple as this can change the tone of a game, reducing a big-budget epic to sounding like a junior school play.

A few months back for PC Gamer I investigated voice direction by speaking to those who get it right. I spoke to LucasArts’ David Collins, responsible for directing Monkey Island, FunCom’s Ragnar Tørnquist about creating April Ryan and casting The Secret World, and 2K voice director Jack Scalici who is responsible for the enormous voice cast of Mafia II. I also spoke to two of the most respected voice actors. Dominic Armato is the voice of Guybrush Threepwood, and Sarah Hamilton plays April Ryan in the Longest Journey games. Below they discuss the craft, and express their passions and frustrations about voice acting and directing. This article originally appeared in PC Gamer issue 206.

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The Secret World: Teaser, Ragnar Speaks


Where do you go after Conan The Barbarian? To a contemporary conspiratorial supernatural setting with a cute girl and a horrific monster, of course! “A world where magic is real and monsters roam…” Funcom’s next MMO is The Secret World, and it is revealed in a whirl of internet magic beyond the jump. Not revealed by us, of course, because we’re too wee, but by the all-seeing eye of GameTrailers. There’s two bits, so watch the first one first, as it’s got the beautiful Ragnar “Dreamfall” Tornquist talking about his creation. “Fight rising darkness!” Anything for you, Ragnar. “This is an MMORPG without classes, without levels, this is completely skill-based,” Ragnar, now you are teasing us! You naughty beast!

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