Golden Week: Plot Downtime

in Advice

It’s golden week here at RPG Maker Web, which means the JP office is enjoying time with their families and trying to avoid Golden Week crowds, and I’m left to my own devices. FUFUFUFUFUFU… Ok, this doesn’t change the blog that much but it has been a relaxing week!

So that got me to thinking about one of my favorite bits in video games, Plot Downtime.

Those points in the plot where things slow down, and the characters can goof off and do something unrelated. If it was an anime, I’d call it the beach episode.

Ok, got my drinks, got my boat, time for a wonderful time on the... wait, I forgot my swimsuit...

Ok, got my drinks, got my boat, time for a wonderful time on the… wait, I forgot my swimsuit…

A lot of people see this kind of stuff as filler. Something to pad out the time to keep the game from being too short. But me, I think this is the perfect time to do something important. Establishing what your characters are like outside of crisis.

A lot of games occur at what feels like breakneck speed. The characters are dealing with one thing after another. Villages burned down, mentors killed, saving kidnapped nobles, saving kidnapped children… the characters never get a chance to breath.

The Dark Lord is burning down a church AND kidnapping a kid! Why? Cause EVIIIIIIL

The Dark Lord is burning down a church AND kidnapping a kid! Why? Cause EVIIIIIIL

All we ever learn about characters in these situations is how they react to crisis.

I always like to see what characters are like when left to their own devices. If they have a week in a mountain cabin. Or the beach, or wherever, you get a chance to explore this.

Maybe you find out the serious soldier who only thinks about the mission actually loves fishing. Or that the hyper, excited character that you expect to love a week at the beach actually just gets bored because nothing is happening.

Either way, downtime for the plot can be great for fleshing out your characters. Have you ever used lulls in the plot this way? How do you establish who your characters are outside of crisis? Tell us in the comments below!

In the meantime, I’m going to go enjoy a few more days of no coworkers!

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