Video Game Story Inception (With the Emotional Journey Model)

There is no perfect model to craft a story. It depends a lot on the type of game you are creating.

The Emotional Journey is not supposed to be a template to follow but more of a guide. This below is the approximate workflow I use when I tackle a new story. I wish it would be as straightforward as it looks, unfortunately, there is a lot of back and forth between steps during the work.

Those steps help me focus and get inspired when I feel blocked.

STEP 1 – Ideas

GOAL: Explore the release’s core concept(s) via blue-sky brainstorming.
DELIVERABLES: Organized ideas list divided up into key sections: CHARACTER, PLOT, THEME.

STEP 2 – Conflict

GOAL: Explore Concept’s Protagonist and Nemesis and their Conflict.
DELIVERABLES: Multiple versions of a Protagonist & Antagonist and their conflict.

STEP 3 – Premise

GOAL: Explore the potential themes that are coming through.
DELIVERABLES: Formalize the concept by writing down the Foundational statements.

STEP 4 – Plot

GOAL: Identify your narrative’s five most critical plot points.
DELIVERABLES: 1-2 pages document that describes each of the 5 Key Plot Points and all characters involved.

STEP 5 – Arcs

GOAL:  Identify your narrative five most critical thematic moments. Where the theme changes characters and/or the world.
DELIVERABLES: 1-2 pages document that describes each of the 5 Key Thematic Points and all characters involved.

STEP 6 – Causality

GOAL:  Map the whole story with transitions between beats.
DELIVERABLES: Causality chart document that outlines the story through the main Narrative beats.