Arkane Studios Shared How a Time Loop Influenced Deathloop's Narrative Design

Lead Narrative Designer Pawel Kroenke talked about the game's goals and themes.

The central position in the first-person shooter Deathloop is given to the time loops the main character goes through again and again. Arkane Lyon’s Lead Narrative Designer Pawel Kroenke showed how this mechanic influenced the game's narrative design.

Kroenke explained that there are a lot of paths players can choose from. They can do the side missions and take a range of objects to the next sequence or they can skip everything and move to the next time of day. All of these choices are available in every loop of the game, so it was quite a quest for narrative designers as they had to think about how to tell a story while supporting this loop mechanic.

Eventually, the developers came up with some design goals to make it all work together:

  1. players must feel that they are in a time loop
  2. players must progress despite the time loop

At some point, the story's goals and themes started reflecting one another. Thus, the theme of people stuck in vicious cycles because they aren't mature enough to break out of them is presented literally and figuratively "because the time loop itself is a very explicit illustration of a vicious cycle: you are stuck on the island, the same day repeats over and over again, and everybody is trying to kill you." Illustrating this theme made the designers get close to realizing the first goal.

The second theme was that memory can be a treasure and a curse.

"This is basically an exploration of memory in a time loop. So, some characters have persistent memory, and how does that affect them? How does living in a time loop affect their memory and their personality? And there are other characters who don't have persistent memory, so how do they function in a time loop?"

Kroenke then proceeds to explain that Colt sometimes has persistent memory and sometimes he doesn't, which connects to the second goal to give players a sense of progression. This made the developers create systems that would illustrate the divergence between people who can remember and people who can't. They made opportunities for the player to get out of the loop and created a conflict, which drives the story.

Pawel Kroenke then talks about the characters and features of Deathloop and how they play out in the story. Watch the full presentation to learn more and don't forget to join our new Reddit pageour new Telegram channel, follow us on Instagram and Twitter, where we are sharing breakdowns, the latest news, awesome artworks, and more.

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