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I’ve mentioned before that I came into game design because I feel it’s possibly the most powerful medium for creating incredible story experiences. A large part of this is how a player gets a chance to LIVE an adventure, not just listen to someone else describe someone else’s adventure.
One thing I’ve seen a lot of people try to apply is the hero’s journey. You can make a compelling argument that the average fantasy writer and adventure designer has spent the last several decades trapped in an abusive relationship with this monomyth. Campbell’s ideas are brilliant at their core and promise us the world, with a story structure that has clearly stood the test of time. Then things get complicated, characters unravel, it’s not a great fit… And we break it off. Then later it calls us back and convinces us that it was our fault, we just didn’t understand its needs, but that it forgives us and wants us back. Things will be different this time.
It doesn’t have to be this way. My adventures dramatically improved once I started my relationship with four-act structure. It’s a more reasonable, more sensible structure. It understands my needs and is supportive of my goals.
I’ve never been happier.