ABSTRACT

When designing virtual characters, arguably one of the most dicult challenges is devising characters that will be controlled by players. Player characters not only require a signicant amount of development time (on the basis that they are likely to be the most heavily featured and most interactive of all the characters in a given product), but also pose more conceptual problems. ese characters need to be likeable and understandable to a wide audience, which raises sociological issues of identity and representation. ey need to play a clear and central role within a video game narrative, but if they are too tightly authored and unresponsive to player agency, then players might feel detached from them. Ideally, both their presentation and their performance should reect the intentions and aspirations of the player. But this high level of exibility makes it exceptionally dicult for a developer to impose a coherent narrative structure or character identity. Above all, they need to be fun, exciting, and inspiring to play. And that, most certainly, is not an easy task to accomplish.