What You Don’t See
Some people have a strong focus on lore in video games. There are modes in games that are meant for the story, characters, and history of the world to shine. I love lore in video games. I may not have the greatest memory, but I sure do love to store as much lore as I can into my brain. I love reading Mass Effect’s history of the planets. As a biologist, I am so happy that they got a lot of the chemical and evolutionary biology correct when it comes to how life develops in other worlds. The fascinating connection between what is real and the fictional elements are so brilliant.
But perhaps even more so are the things that are just mentioned. The strange labyrinth of an ancient unknown race from eons ago. Just through the story we think we know of old, old aliens, but these structures are unknown. Or what about in Path of Exile, where many of the legendary items speak of old proverbs, that are absolutely fantastic and usable in real life, that mention great heroes or villains that are not part of the story anymore. With the divination cards we hear murmurs of stories that take place in small worlds like one that really only involves only a lover and their lost one. What happened to them? Or what caused madness in another implied legendary figure?
I love implied lore. It’s the kind of thing that makes science so captivating for me. Science and mathematics always implies something bigger or stranger. When mathematicians begin to see patterns in the way numbers are organized, or chemists recognizing similar chemical patterns in a far away planet, these things imply there is more to the picture than we know about. That sense of curiosity is sort of a thing that encapsulates my mind. My name in my native language was originally going to mean “wonder”. I think that defines pretty much how I feel about these things.
The same feelings happen in real life when we see empty office buildings or abandoned industrial structures. What history happened in these places? What are their daily lives like when they’re active? And what about right now, empty? What is it like? You don’t need to show every bit of history to let the player know there is history. Let it be explored and excavated from the recesses of the virtual world. Make legends and tall tales for the players to see glimmers of leftovers in the world. There are few things so exciting as seeing a sly reference in the world when you first read or heard it in a game’s books or myths.
I think implied lore is just as important and wonderful as concrete lore, because it allows you to explore the imagination of what the world is like, just as we do in real life.
Thanks for reading! I’ll see you next time!