Friday Dev Update: Revealing the Story

8:39 AM Will Sterling 0 Comments

Open world games often struggle to find the balance between freedom and story telling. On the one the hand, it's great for players to have the complete freedom to ignore the story and make their own adventure. On the other hand, many players want depth to the world and want to know why the world exists and what's going on.

As we implement the main story of Salt, we are going to try and find the right balance between these two elements. Here are a few ways we're going to do this.

Freedom to Ignore

One aspect I have really loved about the Elder Scrolls games is that you are completely free to ignore the story should you choose to do so. I love being dropped in a vast and mysterious world, where I know nothing and am free to make my own story. This is a feeling we are constantly striving for in Salt. We want you to make your own story and adventure. We want you to be able to tell your friends about something you found wandering the deep ocean, or some crazy boss you came across super far out in the world.

An Adventure Unique to You

Because we love secrets in Salt, we are going to put in a lot of secrets in the game that will be very rare and very difficult to find. For example, you may find a super rare island extremely far out in the world with a rare boss and an epic weapon drop. You'll go tell your friends about this knowing that in all likelihood, they haven't found it. It is your unique experience. 

Now, of course it's pretty hard to keep secrets hidden from all players. People are really good at finding things in games and that's okay. When you experience some awesome secret content, our goal isn't for you to think that you are the only person in the entire world that has found it, but rather that it is very unique to you and not something common that many people find. We want the experience to be new to you. 

Just to note, we will also have plenty of really fun content that isn't just super rare. We don't want to force you to play hundreds of hours to get to the good stuff. There will always be awesome bosses and weapons that you can find without having to get extremely lucky. 

A Discoverable Story

We've talked a little bit about this before, but I want to go into more detail. The story in Salt will be discoverable. It's not going to be impossible to figure out, and if you seek, you shall find. What we don't want is to hand the player all the aspects of the story. We want you to discover it naturally and on your own. There are couple of ways we'll be doing this. 

One way is through the main quest line. As you progress through the main quest, you'll discover a lot of the story. You'll encounter events, people, and other things that will give you insight into what is going on in the world currently and how it got that way. This will give you a good overview of the main story. 

Even with the overview of the story revealed through the main quest, we want you to be able to delve deeper. To do this, you'll have to find certain lore books, items, and other things in the world to figure out a large portion of the mythology in Salt. For example, you may hear about a certain person in the main quest line and learn a little bit about them, but if you want to you'll be able to find lore books and possibly items from that person in the world that reveal more about their life, who they were, and things of that nature. 

We'll be taking a lot of inspiration from Dark Souls in this aspect. We want you to feel like there is depth to the world. That mysterious ring you found? It's not just random. There's a reason it's there. That epic weapon you obtained? Someone had it before you. But what happened to them and why is the weapon so powerful? These are questions we want you to ask and we want you to search for. 

In Salt, there will be both the ability to create your own story and the ability to discover the mythology of the world. We believe this will add a lot of depth but maintain that element of freedom that is so important in open world games. I'm extremely excited to start implementing the main story and you'll see the first portion of that in the next update!

- Will Sterling (Audio and Game Design)