How will "Lovecraftian" style of writing look like in Guild Wars 2's Narrative? — Guild Wars 2 Forums

How will "Lovecraftian" style of writing look like in Guild Wars 2's Narrative?

Arden.7480Arden.7480 Member ✭✭✭✭
edited November 5, 2019 in Lore

So far the story of GW2 was about straight-forward way of narrative, not really about uncovering dark, weird, almost horror-like secrets, but with the Icebrood Saga the Anet teams will try to take a different approach.

How will it look like? I guess there will be even bigger focus on the characters, and more weird stuff will be happening in the story.

But is GW2 suitable for that kind of storytelling, after 7 years of established narrative design?

I luv deep, creepy, dark and weird stories, full of mysteries, but is GW2 ready to touch on such after such colorful happy ending of Season 4 with Aurene and stuff?

Will this all be compelling and genuine?

But I am kind of hopeful that Arenanet Narrative Team may do something original with the lovecraftian vibe and unite it all with this religious kind of storytelling we have seen so far.

Well, the Icebrood Saga will be interesting.

And Whisper in the Dark? Reminds me of The Whisperer in Darkness

The wound is the place where the Light enters you ~Stephane Lo Presti

Comments

  • Guild Wars has a long history of dark, creepy, and weird worldbuilding. I mean, the first game literally opened up with a post-apocalypctic landscape.

    Though compared to GW1, GW2 has always been more handholding family friendly. It even diluted one of the most horrific aspects of GW1 lore (the Scarab Plague) into something that isn't all that unique or horrifying. So it'll be interesting to see if Arenanet makes a legit attempt at a horror chapter.

    That said, I don't expect much. Especially since I feel like true Lovecraftian just doesn't work in an action game with no true ability to lose.

    All these squares make a circle.
    All these squares make a circle.
    All these squares make a circle.

  • ugrakarma.9416ugrakarma.9416 Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited November 5, 2019

    @Arden.7480 said:
    But is GW2 suitable for that kind of storytelling, after 7 years of established narrative design?

    These 7 years doesn't have a continuous style, we are basically returning to personal history style.

    Also I find HOT/POF itselfs very straightforward lores compared to LS1/2/3. So theyre basically abandoning the ship of "investigative novel" style to something more used in personal history+expansions. I mean this inst a 180º degree change, just 90º degree or less.

    We also do not know in what respect they refer to "lovecraftian style", it may just be a reference just to the means of building villains as distant and abstract entities, but which influence the course of the world.

    Investigate novels suits the RP crowd because its leave importants things on the hands of individuals choices, but a more combat/war guys like me dislike it a lot thats why i like more Personal History than LS2,..., a more "lovecraf inspired stuff" would probably offer a more balanced narrative between the 2 options... In Living World Season 2 i had the impression we are solving world problems always locked in caves, in bedrooms and closed rooms and at business desks, is everything behind a "big secret" or at hand of some "important individual",,,, a kinda of lifestyle thats is very distateful to someone with a warrior-like spirit. ... and is that why i loved POF history from the deep of my heart, is where open field battles played important role on the history.

    main pvp: Khel the Undead(power reaper).

  • Hannelore.8153Hannelore.8153 Member ✭✭✭
    edited November 5, 2019

    @Konig Des Todes.2086 said:
    Guild Wars has a long history of dark, creepy, and weird worldbuilding. I mean, the first game literally opened up with a post-apocalypctic landscape.

    Though compared to GW1, GW2 has always been more handholding family friendly. It even diluted one of the most horrific aspects of GW1 lore (the Scarab Plague) into something that isn't all that unique or horrifying. So it'll be interesting to see if Arenanet makes a legit attempt at a horror chapter.

    That said, I don't expect much. Especially since I feel like true Lovecraftian just doesn't work in an action game with no true ability to lose.

    The player character can't lose, but everyone else can still lose.

    As suprising as it may seem for this PG game, GW2 has one of the highest body counts in video games, to the point where the death rate in it has been a point of critisism by fans, its tagged as Anyone Can Die on TVTropes for example.

    It's been toned down a bit in recent seasons but in contrast to many other games in the genre, GW2 has only a few instances of resurrection and for the most part when characters die they are gone forever, with even brief spiritual returns being extremely rare. So while it may not exactly lead to a total loss of Tyria it comes very close at times and we've certainly paid our dues in blood, its just easy to overlook it over many seasons.

    How many MMOs do you know that destroyed and killed an entire city full of people?

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  • Arden.7480Arden.7480 Member ✭✭✭✭

    Interesting points you both make.

    As long as the story makes sense, I will enjoy it. :)

    The wound is the place where the Light enters you ~Stephane Lo Presti

  • Randulf.7614Randulf.7614 Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited November 5, 2019

    That was a short long forum break ;)

    It already has begun the change in tone and style. The prologue slowly built towards a more mature, darker tone and the image of Bangar leading his followers into the dark and the blizzard was not unlike a cult heading towards some evil destination.

    Konig is however right in that GW2 has generally bottles it whenever a dark, mature storyline comes about. The Scarab Plague being the absolute correct one to pull out as an example given how badly they got that narrative wrong after two very strong episodes.

    Lovecraft inspired has become a rather broad term these for anything remotely atmospheric and touching on horror. So I'm not expecting anything overtly Lovecraftian by any means, but I'm interested enough to see how they pull it off. I mean it will never be Secret World which got the Lovecraftian feel about as perfect as it can get for an MMO, but classic hero fantasy has mixed with dark horror since Conan (unsurprising given Robert E. Howards admiration for Lovecraft) and it should fit nicely here if the writers have the ability and qualifications to be able to write outside of the basic genre lines. This hasn't proven to be a strong narrative team, however the strength of the prologue has given some faint hope.

    And the early concepts for Drakkar look suitably menacing...

    "Monstrous size has no intrinsic merit, unless inordinate exsanguination be considered a virtue"

    What sleep is here? What dreams there are in the unctuous coiling of the snakes mortal shuffling. weapon in my hand. My hand the arcing deathblow at the end of all things. The horror. The horror. I embrace it. . .

  • Arden.7480Arden.7480 Member ✭✭✭✭

    @Hannelore.8153 said:

    @Konig Des Todes.2086 said:
    Guild Wars has a long history of dark, creepy, and weird worldbuilding. I mean, the first game literally opened up with a post-apocalypctic landscape.

    Though compared to GW1, GW2 has always been more handholding family friendly. It even diluted one of the most horrific aspects of GW1 lore (the Scarab Plague) into something that isn't all that unique or horrifying. So it'll be interesting to see if Arenanet makes a legit attempt at a horror chapter.

    That said, I don't expect much. Especially since I feel like true Lovecraftian just doesn't work in an action game with no true ability to lose.

    The player character can't lose, but everyone else can still lose.

    As suprising as it may seem for this PG game, GW2 has one of the highest body counts in video games, to the point where the death rate in it has been a point of critisism by fans, its tagged as Anyone Can Die on TVTropes for example.

    It's been toned down a bit in recent seasons but in contrast to many other games in the genre, GW2 has only a few instances of resurrection and for the most part when characters die they are gone forever, with even brief spiritual returns being extremely rare. So while it may not exactly lead to a total loss of Tyria it comes very close at times and we've certainly paid our dues in blood, its just easy to overlook it over many seasons.

    How many MMOs do you know that destroyed and killed an entire city full of people?

    I guess I saw two: Lion's Arch and Teldrassil in WoW.

    I will give an example of WoW in which the story is more down, down, holy kitten, what da?!, holy s*

    in GW2 is up and down, up and down, up and down etc.

    It all feels melancholic compared to WoW where everything hangs on a balance and isn't just returning to a balance to make everything imbalanced again.

    In Wow everything leads to a bigger imbalance.

    in GW2 everything leads from a happy ending to imbalance and from imbalance to happy ending.

    Which has also good sides like focusing on brighter sides of life and GW2 make hope look like a way of achieving things, it helps pushing forward per aspera ad astra.

    While Wow won't be as genuine to show this.

    I don't really know which storytelling is better, they both have some good factors and flavors to it.

    The wound is the place where the Light enters you ~Stephane Lo Presti

  • Arden.7480Arden.7480 Member ✭✭✭✭

    @Randulf.7614 said:
    That was a short long forum break ;)

    It already has begun the change in tone and style. The prologue slowly built towards a more mature, darker tone and the image of Bangar leading his followers into the dark and the blizzard was not unlike a cult heading towards some evil destination.

    Konig is however right in that GW2 has generally bottles it whenever a dark, mature storyline comes about. The Scarab Plague being the absolute correct one to pull out as an example given how badly they got that narrative wrong after two very strong episodes.

    Lovecraft inspired has become a rather broad term these for anything remotely atmospheric and touching on horror. So I'm not expecting anything overtly Lovecraftian by any means, but I'm interested enough to see how they pull it off. I mean it will never be Secret World which got the Lovecraftian feel about as perfect as it can get for an MMO, but classic hero fantasy has mixed with dark horror since Conan (unsurprising given Robert E. Howards admiration for Lovecraft) and it should fit nicely here if the writers have the ability and qualifications to be able to write outside of the basic genre lines. This hasn't proven to be a strong narrative team, however the strength of the prologue has given some faint hope.

    And the early concepts for Drakkar look suitably menacing...

    "Monstrous size has no intrinsic merit, unless inordinate exsanguination be considered a virtue"

    ha ha :D

    We will have fun theorycrafting this season for sure :)

    The wound is the place where the Light enters you ~Stephane Lo Presti

  • @Hannelore.8153 said:

    @Konig Des Todes.2086 said:
    Guild Wars has a long history of dark, creepy, and weird worldbuilding. I mean, the first game literally opened up with a post-apocalypctic landscape.

    Though compared to GW1, GW2 has always been more handholding family friendly. It even diluted one of the most horrific aspects of GW1 lore (the Scarab Plague) into something that isn't all that unique or horrifying. So it'll be interesting to see if Arenanet makes a legit attempt at a horror chapter.

    That said, I don't expect much. Especially since I feel like true Lovecraftian just doesn't work in an action game with no true ability to lose.

    The player character can't lose, but everyone else can still lose.

    As suprising as it may seem for this PG game, GW2 has one of the highest body counts in video games, to the point where the death rate in it has been a point of critisism by fans, its tagged as Anyone Can Die on TVTropes for example.

    It's been toned down a bit in recent seasons but in contrast to many other games in the genre, GW2 has only a few instances of resurrection and for the most part when characters die they are gone forever, with even brief spiritual returns being extremely rare. So while it may not exactly lead to a total loss of Tyria it comes very close at times and we've certainly paid our dues in blood, its just easy to overlook it over many seasons.

    How many MMOs do you know that destroyed and killed an entire city full of people?

    I was meaning that the player cannot lose. As in mechanics - there is no failure condition for anything but a handful of open world events, which just return five minutes later.

    I was not talking about body counts (also GW2, didn't kill an entire city full of people - while LA did suffer quite a bit at the end of S1, a lot of people also got out). I'd also question "spiritual returns being extremely rare" given just how many ghosts we dealt with during Season 4...

    @Randulf.7614 said:
    Lovecraft inspired has become a rather broad term these for anything remotely atmospheric and touching on horror.

    This is also a bit of a running issue in the game industry, which makes me doubt we'll have real Lovecraftian inspiration. Especially since the Elder Dragons themselves, since day 1, were said to be Lovecraftian eldritch horrors and, if you ask me, they fall short. Visually, Zhaitan hit the bar but the encounter was so lackluster you just couldn't really care after the five second intro of his model, and conceptually and impactfully the whole group have all fallen short so far - and worse, the closest cases to actually feeling like a cosmic untouchable horror (which is more Lovecraftian than just "horror") ends up being undermined by some development, or is simply overused (or underused in the plot). For example of an underused development, the sylvari turning could have been a grand plot to focus on, but it got ignored in large outside of one meta that did a bit to circumvent the horror of not knowing who among your allies is trustworthy. While an overused development is "the enemies' forces are enslaved to the will of their master" which gets used not just by Zhaitan and Kralkatorrik who introduced it (depending on whether you read EoD before playing the PS), but then gets used by every other Elder Dragon rather than having their own unique thing, and then gets ALSO used by Scarlet, then Balthazar, then Dhuum, and then Joko. And I bet it will come up again, too.

    All these squares make a circle.
    All these squares make a circle.
    All these squares make a circle.

  • Fueki.4753Fueki.4753 Member ✭✭✭

    @Hannelore.8153 said:
    How many MMOs do you know that destroyed and killed an entire city full of people?

    At least WoW did it, too. In WoW they even killed of entire planets in the lore.
    Lore wise, FF14 is a strong contender,too, with several entire worlds being destroyed.
    Blade and Soul had the tutorial temple and the fishing village at the start completely destroyed and the Bamboo Village burned, too.

  • @Konig Des Todes.2086 said:

    This is also a bit of a running issue in the game industry, which makes me doubt we'll have real Lovecraftian inspiration. Especially since the Elder Dragons themselves, since day 1, were said to be Lovecraftian eldritch horrors and, if you ask me, they fall short. Visually, Zhaitan hit the bar but the encounter was so lackluster you just couldn't really care after the five second intro of his model, and conceptually and impactfully the whole group have all fallen short so far - and worse, the closest cases to actually feeling like a cosmic untouchable horror (which is more Lovecraftian than just "horror") ends up being undermined by some development, or is simply overused (or underused in the plot). For example of an underused development, the sylvari turning could have been a grand plot to focus on, but it got ignored in large outside of one meta that did a bit to circumvent the horror of not knowing who among your allies is trustworthy. While an overused development is "the enemies' forces are enslaved to the will of their master" which gets used not just by Zhaitan and Kralkatorrik who introduced it (depending on whether you read EoD before playing the PS), but then gets used by every other Elder Dragon rather than having their own unique thing, and then gets ALSO used by Scarlet, then Balthazar, then Dhuum, and then Joko. And I bet it will come up again, too.

    Zhaitan set the bar for me for creative visual display of an Elder Dragon which could have had so much potential. Maybe, just maybe, if lorewise Zhaitan would be revived and we get a very dark turn of events, it would be a win...but hears hoping to that, I'm not holding my breath.

  • Tanith.5264Tanith.5264 Member ✭✭✭

    @Melech.4308 said:

    Zhaitan set the bar for me for creative visual display of an Elder Dragon which could have had so much potential. Maybe, just maybe, if lorewise Zhaitan would be revived and we get a very dark turn of events, it would be a win...but hears hoping to that, I'm not holding my breath.

    Zhaitan was definitely an impressive character model, but Kralk did have his Lovecraftian Moment of Awesome (for me, anyway) during the cinematic at the end of PoF. We saw him flying out of the desert over Amnoon to go Brand some more desert, and he was immense. Flying in the heart of a storm he himself was generating. I remember watching that and thinking, "Now, that's what I'm talking about!"

    Part of what made Cthulhu so terrifying was his size, remember ("A mountain walked or stumbled...God!"). I hope whoever is designing DSD is a Lovecraft fan.

  • @Arden.7480 said:
    So far the story of GW2 was about straight-forward way of narrative, not really about uncovering dark, weird, almost horror-like secrets, but with the Icebrood Saga the Anet teams will try to take a different approach.

    How will it look like? I guess there will be even bigger focus on the characters, and more weird stuff will be happening in the story.

    But is GW2 suitable for that kind of storytelling, after 7 years of established narrative design?

    I luv deep, creepy, dark and weird stories, full of mysteries, but is GW2 ready to touch on such after such colorful happy ending of Season 4 with Aurene and stuff?

    Will this all be compelling and genuine?

    But I am kind of hopeful that Arenanet Narrative Team may do something original with the lovecraftian vibe and unite it all with this religious kind of storytelling we have seen so far.

    Well, the Icebrood Saga will be interesting.

    And Whisper in the Dark? Reminds me of The Whisperer in Darkness

    It's PEGI12/13. You tell me if Lovecraft works for that.

  • Kossage.9072Kossage.9072 Member ✭✭✭

    Well, Lovecraftian writing includes psychological horror and many characters' descent into madness due to being unable to comprehend the terror ahead of them, and we have seen hints of such during Season 1 and the overall sylvari arc in HoT. From Scarlet Briar's journal where she describes Mordremoth's growing influence:

    I wake from nightmares—screaming, confused, and scared. It's getting wOrse. I've decided to talk to a mender. I've probably just been working too hard.
    Every night, the same terrors. It never changes. The mender was unable to help Me, and I feel like I'm losing control of myself.
    When the nightmare starts, an entity calls to me. I run—run into a sea of dArkness. But no matter how hard I try to escape, it keeps calling me.
    I'm trying not to sleep—too scareD to even close my eyes... So scared. Whispers come from the forest all night long, calling me, taunting me, possessing me.
    Tonight, I saw it. I stared into the abyss, anD it stared back at me. So much power. I don't know what's real and what isn't anymore.
    Control of my world, of myself, is slipping through my hands. And yet, I'm no longer scared.
    It communicated with me through images of death, destruction, and destiny. I must know more. I must confront it and put an end to this madness.

    From Buried Insight in HoT if talking to the Mordrem Guard Punisher where we learn the extend of Mordremoth's grasp over sylvari:

    Canach: Brother? Hello?
    Mordrem Guard Punisher: Help me! Please! I can't tell what (was happening)...
    Canach: What is it? What is it like, giving in?
    Mordrem Guard Punisher: It was a relief. Such a relief. I didn't want to fight it anymore. But then...I did things.
    Canach: Of your own will?
    Mordrem Guard Punisher: I— I don't know. At the time, I knew it was wrong— I couldn't stop! Forgive me! I wanted to obey!
    Mordrem Guard Punisher: My strings were tugged and my body acted while I watched. A passenger to the dragon's breath, its whispers.
    Canach: Do you hear it still, feel its pull?
    Mordrem Guard Punisher: I do!
    Canach: And what does it want? What's its plan?
    Mordrem Guard Punisher: It—it wants—it wants you...to die!
    Character name: Canach!
    Mordrem Guard Punisher: You will succumb! No one is strong enough to stand against Mordremoth!

    I enjoyed Mordremoth's creeping influence throughout "The Mordrem Saga", and I look forward to even more nuanced horror writing in "The Icebrood Saga." How the plot addresses Jormag's whispers and other horrific things that will no doubt be going on as we progress deeper into the harsh wilds of Tyria will be fascinating to witness first-hand. :)

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