Supergirl and how not being so ‘super’ is cool, part 2
I couldn’t write this blog post before, but maybe it was for the best because I watched “Livewire” before writing this. That episode was interesting because it showed yet another part of the character: the family. In some ways, this show reminds me of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, because it was not just about stabbing vampires left and right, but about the Scooby gang, their lives, relationships and all that. TBH, as a writer, that makes the entire thing more interesting because you get to know who the characters are.
So, what about that game I was talking about last time?
I’ve been thinking about a game about a would-be super-heroine for some time, but rather than making it a Batman Arkham kind of game, I was thinking about making it about an origin story, and how that heroine gives her first “baby steps” into heroism.
Know that I love the Batman Arkham games that I’ve played, and I’d certainly like to make a Batman Arkham kind of game with a heroine, but there’s a small problem: there’s no chance our team could do something like that.
So, origin story and everyday life…
Maybe we have our heroine, and at some point she’s told about her true nature. She needs to learn how to fight, how to defend herself, but at the same time she has to deal with everything related to her “day to day” life, like going to school (or being home schooled, because her parents are actually trying to “protect” her, keeping her in a “safe” environment), meeting friends and at some point maybe having a boyfriend.
I keep going back to Buffy episode structure, where you have the antagonist’s introduction, and all the fights, but you have all the inbetweens when Buffy is doing “regular girl stuff” and then the whole “prepare for battle” stuff. It’s not about kicking ass all the time, since you do have enough time for character development.
Supergirl does pretty much the same. Granted that a lot of people know who Supergirl is, but there’s a lot of people watching the show who have never read a comicbook (like me). We can get into the whole debate about the Supergirl from the TV show being “faithful” to the comicbook version, but that’s not the issue here. The issue is letting the audience know the character in that specific world.
Also, what if the game was actually episodic? I don’t mean “episodic” in a gamey way, but rather in a TV format way, with around 20 – 30 minute episodes that are self-contained but also share a larger theme that holds the entire “season” together. Since you’d start from the origin story, you could see her changing from this “not so super” heroine into a stronger and more capable one at the end of the season. This could also help introduce new gameplay mechanics. She’d be getting more resourceful and skilled, but also she’d learn new secrets or “powers” and you could gradually put those into the game.
However, this could be somewhat difficult to pull off. The biggest problem I see is that maybe players wouldn’t like to wait 4 or 5 months for the next 20 minute episode to show up. Also, branching storylines could be a problem, because they add to development time and could be really problematic when managing a 10 episode season. On the other hand, this origin story could be treated as a slightly larger stand-alone game.
Personally, I’d like to see something like this being made.