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My future game 2: Controversial Scene

On 05/29/2013 at 06:10 AM by jcal94

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Hey everyone. I asked a somewhat serious question in my last blog about what could be tasteful or distasteful as story in a game. I read the few replies I got, mulled it over some, and just spent two hours churning this out. It's one cutscene in the game, and I know it's kinda long, but bear with it please. I don't think this would be considered NSFW, but I will forewarn that there is some dark/mature/twisted material in this, such as off-screen killing of young children, a somewhat innocent worker being killed by a protagonist, and scenes from a protagonist's past of her being a subject of human experiments. Feel free to yell at me in the comments if you feel it is too bad. My goal for the emotions I want to draw are a mixture of anger, sadness, and pain for Sophie. I know it's a fine line, and will seriously look into any suggestions you all make! This isn't one of those instances some creators do of saying "i'll take it into consideration" and then completely ignore it. I want to make this something that hits the right buttons, and hearing others' thoughts on it help with that tremendously. So, let me know what you think, and without further ado...


Sophie Killing the Young Kids
Setting: During a mission to a Kingdom tower to try and disable communications a few days before the final events, the Defenders get to the comms room, get all the workers into a corner, and start to hack into the system. A worker makes a break for a button on the main console, and Leon goes to grab and stop him. The worker decks Leon, a hard feat to do, and ends up pressing the button. David pins him against a wall with his shoulder, and Ray starts yelling at him, asking what he did as klaxons blare. The worker explains that all communications operations have been transferred to another site with the press of the button, and the tower is going to start falling apart now. Ray's eyes start darkening, teeth barred, etc, unsheathes the claymore, and as it slides out of the sheath, becames encased in shadow in the shape of a scythe. Before anyone can say anything, the worker has been cut in two at the abdomen. Sophie runs over to Ray.
Sophie: Ray! Ray, snap out of it!
Ray's eyes return to normal, and he slumps down onto his knees, staring at the two halves of the body.
Ray: I... I don't... Sophie, what did I do?
Sophie, to the other Defenders: Guys, start getting everyone out of here, now! We can't let them get hurt, they were just doing their jobs... And probably don't know what they're helping make...
Ray: Wait... He didn't do anything? Then... Why did I kill him?! He could have parents, a kid, a...
Sophie: Ray, he made us fail our mission. It couldn't be helped. We need to get out of here though, the building is already starting to fall apar...
Before Sophie can finish, we see the wall they're by fall apart and the wind blows heavily. Suddenly, the floor collapses, and they fall a few stories, blacking out for a few seconds when they hit. Sophie comes to, looks around, see Ray buried under a small pile of rubble but still unconscious. As she gets up to go help him, she notices some hospital-style newborn cribs on the edge of a platform that's left, and hears crying. One is teetering precariously on an I-beam, the other two are sitting right next to the edge. Walking over to grab hold of the one on the I-beam to pull it back, looking in she sees a young child, no older than 2 looking back at her, but it has obvious scars from already having experiments done on it. Seeing a shot of Sophie's face, her pupils expand, and we see some flashbacks from her younger life as an experiment.
Approximately age 3: See the young Sophie strapped in a chair, shaved bald. A doctor with his face completely covered by a mask comes over. Only his eyes can be seen through tinted goggles.
Masked Doctor 1(MD1): Don't worry baby girl. Daddy's here, and he's going to help you become stronger. You won't feel a thing...
MD1 picks up a powered bone saw, starts it up, and moves towards Sophie. Her eyes widen, and as he lowers it towards her head, cut to a look of just his emotionless eyes through the goggles, with the sound of the chair rattling. When it stops, cut back to seeing her with a dark line indicating a cut on the top of her head, with blood on her face. MD1 picks up a weird looking disc in the shape of a brain hemisphere, and lines it up with the cut on Sophie's head. He steadies it, and we see a close-up of his hand slamming it down, a yell, and cut to next flashback.
Approximately age 5: We once again see Sophie strapped to a chair, this time it only goes up to the bottom of her neck, and only the back of her head is shaved. This time a female doctor in a masked outfit similar to MD1 comes over. She is MD2.
MD2: Hey there, Sophie, sweetie. It's time for another procedure. This one will help you shine very bright, would you like that?
Young Sophie: Umm... I guess so mommy. But why do I need to be strapped down?
MD2: It's to help keep you safe, dear. We don't want you getting hurt.
Young Sophie: But I thought you gave me medicine that won't make it hurt?
MD2: It's a different type of hurt. Just sit still, and we'll be done in a few minutes.
MD2 pushes over a small tray with a tube-looking instrument with a single button on it, and a glowing circular gem.
Young Sophie: Ooooo, that's pretty mommy! Can I have it?
MD2: Yes sweetie, just sit still and behave and you'll get it by the time we're done.
Young Sophie: Okay! I can't wait to get to play with the pretty stone!
MD2 holds the tube instrument up to Sophie's skull, right below the bump in the back of the head. MD2 presses the button, we hear a quick 'shunk' sound, and the instrument is pulled away. MD2 bends over, looks at the spot the instrument was at, and there's a hole in Sophie's skull, and instead of seeing brain, it looks completely metallic, and indented as if something sits in there.
MD2: Very good, the first plate constructed a holding area for the element. Sophie, you actually get to have the stone a little early. Don't move yet though.
MD2 picks up the glowing gem, and carefully puts it into the hole in Sophie's head. As soon as MD2 lets go, the stone shines brightly, and the hole is suddenly gone, only regular skin is visible.
MD2: Good job sweetie, we're all done now.
Young Sophie: But mommy, where's the pretty stone? I thought you said I could have it.
MD2: You do have it. It's inside you now...
Young Sophie: Ooooo, so will I be pretty too now?
As Young Sophie says that, zoom into her eyes, and see them widening with excitement. Start zooming out, they are now wide with fear. Approximately age 8-10. As we zoom out, we see she is strapped to a table lieing on her back, with a narrow black restraint covering as much of the breasts as necessary, and almost like a shell covering her from around her bellybutton and below. There's a line that starts between her eyebrows and continues up her head, which is shaved. There is also a circle right above the strap on the left side of her chest.
Young Sophie, crying: Mom! Dad! Please, tell me what you're doing! What's going on!
MD1: We told you Sophie, we're going to help you become very strong...
Young Sophie: But then why am I stuck here and you have all those sharp tools? How will that make me strong?
MD2: Sweetie, they're what's going to give you what makes you strong. Just be quiet and stay still, or else you'll end up killing yourself...
As MD2 says the last sentence, a noticeable change in her voice is heard, to almost being angry. Sophie just lays there, tears starting to run down her face. The doors suddenly burst open, and we see Ray's father and a young Leon(????) standing in the doorway.
Ray's father: Duskades, stop this right now!
MD1: What are you doing here? We're about to start the Patriotizing of Sophie. You shouldn't be interfering...
Ray's father: Sophie is your own daughter! Do you not see what is wrong here?!
MD2: Absolutely not. There's nothing wrong here. We made her, we can choose how she lives her life until she is an adult, and by doing this, she will be one of the greatest assets to the Kingdom.
Ray's father: You're insane! If you can't see what's wrong with the Kingdom, you have no right to be a parent to a child! She'd be better off dead than in the hands of the Kingdom and you! Leon, douse them!
Leon shoots water at MD1 and MD2, knocking them to the wall, and Ray's father runs over, throws a blanket he was carrying over Sophie, undoes her restraints, and they run out of the room. We come back to modern time to see Sophie standing by the cribs still. She now has her knife in her hand, it covered in blood. The crib that was on the I-beam is now tipped over, nothing in it, and blood splatters can be seen on the sides of the two standing cribs. Behind Sophie, we see Ray pushing the rubble off himself, and running over to Sophie.
Ray: Sophie, come on, we have to ge... Ray sees the cribs, eyes get wide, and he yells at Sophie, shaking her in place. Sophie, WHAT DID YOU DO?!! COME ON, SNAP OUT OF IT AND ANSWER ME!
Sophie suddenly unstiffens from the posture she was in while holding the knife, drops it, and starts backing up from Ray and the cribs.
Sophie: Did... did I do this Ray? Why are there these dead little kids, with blood on my knife and hands... Sophie starts breaking down, becoming visibly upset, tears forming on the edges of her eyes.
Ray: Sophie, do you not remember killing them? There's no other way this could have happened... Why would you do something like this? Ray is shaken now, tears starting to form at his eyes too.
Sophie: I... don't know Ray... I saw them, and suddenly... I was reliving all the times my own parents were cutting into me, changing me into what I am now and trying to make me something even worse... I thought I didn't want these kids to have to go through that too... I remembered your dad yelling at my parents I'd be better off dead than under the Kingdom's control... I think I did this Ray! I saved these kids, don't you see!? It's not as bad as it looks, they don't have to go through what we did! During this, we see Sophie jumping instantaneously between different emotions, showing the instability.
Ray, now visibly upset and angry: YOU DIDN'T SAVE THEM SOPHIE! THEY'RE DEAD NOW! WE COULD HAVE TAKEN THEM WITH US BACK TO THE BASE, AND THEY WOULD BE ALIVE AND NO LONGER TEST SUBJECTS! Ray quiets down, and is back to a tearful state, almost breaking down. We could have saved them, Soph... Why'd you have to kill them?
Sophie grabs onto Ray, and they both slump to the ground, trembling. Sophie leans her forehead against Ray's.
Sophie: I'm sorry Ray... I don't know why I didn't think of that. I don't know why... I'm a terrible person Ray! I can't even control myself! How am I suppose to help save people if I kill little kids in some thought of saving them...? Ray... please, just let me stay here and be buried with them. Get out and find everyone else, and stop the Kingdom... I don't deserve to fight them, let alone by your side...
Ray: I'm not leaving you Sophie. You made a mistake. It was a terrible one, sure, but we still need you... I need you. I love you, no matter what, and I won't leave you behind.
Sophie: How can you love me after I did something like this? I'm a monster...
Ray: I can love you because I know that's not who you really are, and it's not your fault.
Sophie: What if that actually is what I am, and this is just some fake me I've made to be safe...?
Ray: I know this is the real you Sophie. This is you. You love me too much, you care for everyone too much for this to be a fake. Let me stay here with you. Let me hold you. Let me protect you... We'll get through this, I promise you that. Now, this place is mostly a skeleton now. We can't get out. Just trust me here, ok?
Sophie, sniffling: Ok Ray... I trust you about all of it...
Ray kisses Sophie quickly, then pulls her close, falls back with her on top of him, and a dome of darkness encloses covers them. The floor falls out from under them, and the sphere of darkness falls down many stories.
End Scene



Super Step Contributing Writer

05/29/2013 at 09:04 PM

I actually really liked what you wrote. Obviously, since this is a part of your story in media res, I don't have full context of what people look like or exactly what a crumbling Kingdom Tower would be like, but I'm intrigued by these experimental enhancements and what exactly makes the Kingdom so sinister.

Honestly, the deaths went by pretty quickly, and I saw this more as a character study of Sophie, with her past and relationship to Ray, her parents, and the Kingdom, so if that's what you were going for, you succeeded.

I will say there was more context to Sophie's murdering, and Ray's came off a bit random. Both are obviously blind acts of passion, but Sophie's character is explored so that I know why she did what she did, but I guess Ray's killing of a random, incompetent worker could be indicative of rage issues, I just don't know enough about his character from this scene to judge that's what it is. You could write plenty before or after this to provide more context though, this seemed focused on Sophie, so you could focus on Ray a bit more.

Good job overall, I think.


05/29/2013 at 09:43 PM

First off, thanks for the reply Joe! First off, to the crumbling Kingdom tower, it's an extremely tall tower, essentially like a mix between a skyscraper and cell phone tower that can reach out for miles upon miles. When it is crumbling, it's essentially like termites destroying the building at an extremely rapid pace, but they're not termites that's causing the destruction, and it's things like steel, concrete, and rebar being destroyed. I still have to decide exactly how I want to make it work, but I'll think of something.

And I admit the deaths, especially of the children, did go by kind of fast, because as you stated, it's meant to be more of a study of Sophie, and how broken she really is, despite being this pretty, happy, peppy girl on the outside.

In respect to Ray killing the one guy, it does seem very uncalled for, but as other parts, which I still have to type out, will show, Ray is somewhat the same as Sophie, although with a different backstory. He doesn't have the mental trauma Sophie does, but his big issue is, he has the equivalent of two of those gems in him, and one that has grown itself. He was given ones that give him control of fire and darkness, and from those, they spawned the power of death in him. From the death and darkness being a large part of him, he is prone to losing control to them at times. He was so angry at a major point of the preperations for their final assault being stopped, he lost control, and death took its hold, hence how the claymore was encased in the darkness and changed to a scythe. It was more just a lead-up to the actual meat of this scenario, and Ray is explored in other scenes.

Thanks for the feedback, and I'll try to get something with Ray up sometime soon! I have something that shows his wrath/anger typed from when I wanted to originally write this as a book when younger, and I should be able to get it typed up by the end of next week since my girlfriend will be on vacation then and I'm in a writing mood again!


05/29/2013 at 09:17 PM

A few of the more disturbing scenes in this reminded me of Elfen Lied and Ghost in the shell. (Both anime series that challenged me intellectually and emotionally,btw.)

I think one of the cool things about being "indie" is that we don't have censors and markerting reprsentatives telling us what to do merely to appeal to a larger demographic. Usually for me I enjoy a game that takes risks either through gameplay or through the story.


05/29/2013 at 09:58 PM

Sadly Ben, I have not seen Elfen Lied, and have only seen parts of GitS:SAC, but never got into it because the main character girl just looked off to me somehow. I know they're both considered great animes, and I will try to find Elfen Lied this summer, but I just never seem to be able to get into GitS no matter how hard I try!

The one downside is, I hope to someday make this mainstream, or if not that, at least something that is outside of things like the XBLA or PSN. My goal had been to either self-publish or get it with NISA or Atlus, and after NISA has been butchering stuff lately, I'd probably try for Atlus, as my idea, at least I feel like, is closest to the Shin Megami Tensei series, minus the demons. Alas, it's still quite some years off, so I'll see how the market is at the time!


05/29/2013 at 10:08 PM

WEll, I think the death of children is controversial but not the worst thing to have in a game. I admit the "surgey scene" was rather graphic but what was more heart-wrenching was the fact Sophia trusted the doctors with such infallible love as they conducted such horrible surgeries & experiments upon her. I get that she saw them as her as parents yet wow, it's very tragic. (But this is excellent! Aka, you want gamers to be emotionally invested in the characters and their plights!)

I think pitching this to Atlus would be good. Aka, they take risks on more mature content AND the fanbase is just large enough your game would reach many people. Years ago I would have suggested pitching it to Squaresoft as well but they've been playing it a bit "too safe" lately. The only game of theirs that stood out to me this gaming generation was Nier. (Dissidia is fun too.)


05/29/2013 at 10:26 PM

You're right on about the children, which is why I decided to make the act and the actual dead children unseen, but still make it obvious she did it and the stains from it. The two doctors actually are her parents, hence why she had the infallible trust in the first experiement, how she feels like she's getting a pretty gift from her mom in the second one, and then, when she's old enough to realize something is wrong in the third one, she does finally realize what's going on.

That's what I love about Atlus, is they have these deep, mature games and have a good enough fanbase that the games can flourish and there's enough of a fan community for discussion to take place. I do think they'll probably be my first publisher I pitch to if I don't do self-publishing. It'll all depend on how much I can do before this game and if I can build up a "backlog revenue" to self-fund and self-publicize it all, which I doubt will happen, haha!

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