Storytelling Techniques Learnt in Hollow Knight

Video games can offer a bountiful amount of information for storytellers to learn and present a beautiful nit narrative. Both gameplay mechanics and the story scenes found in games can provide a set of skills that can be analysed and applied to the stories we desperately want to tell. Today, we will be setting our sights on a 2D Metroidvania action-adventure indie game developed by Team Cherry titled Hollow Knight, a game that offers a gratifying experience for players who desire a painful yet rewarding journey as they venture through the world granted to them.

Silence is Key

Hollow Knight presents an exciting experience where the player feels a sense of quietness as you go from place to place in the environments you explore, each area giving its unique piece to a great story without speech. This game offers a remarkable taste in having no verbal dialogue, which allows the player to explore and discover more about the characters they interact within the game. With this example, a storyteller can note how they can cause the viewer to feel without explaining every detail in the scenes they place them. If done correctly, you can take this technique further by not disclosing all details purposely to bring a sense of mystery and immersion to your story. Characters in your story are not required to speak; you can always allow the language of silence to play a part in the narrative you want to tell, by doing so you’ll invite the viewer into wanting to learn more about these characters you present to them.

A World Connected

A player finds beauty in a game that manages to establish a connection with the world they explore, Hollow Knight not only does this through whimsical soothing soundtracks but brings together divided locations and intertwines them together and presents them as one to the player. As a result, this can bring about a seamless experience, achieved bit by bit as the player advances through the story. Whether it be through breakable walls, narrow avenues or pitfalls, the player is sure to feel that this world is not only expandable but also connected.

The same effect can be applied to your very own medium, from the very start first establish the lore to the reader and slowly unravel more information about it or provide tidbits throughout the world for the viewer to find for themselves. Additionally, locations in your world can also reach a level of connectivity in relation, description, history, or how the characters in your story resonate together in those locations.

Seek and Find

As stated previously, lore is found all over the world of Hollow Knight, whether it be through selling trinkets to a merchant or talking to non-playable characters or performing the dream nail technique toward certain non-playable characters in the game. On the lines of animation, animators can implement this search and find effect by providing droplets of further information about the world by placing specific objects in the background, hoping to either throw the viewer into thought or give a deeper meaning to the world are exploring.

Writers can do something similar by sneakily dropping clues in between the lines as you tell your story and give details that may cause the reader to go back to reread to get a better clue as to what’s currently taking place in the narrative.

Learn Through Pain

Becoming skilful and tactical in Hollow Knight takes a fair bit of trial and error, pain is a necessity when it comes to taking on the obstacles the game offers. Regardless of the challenges presented throughout the world of Hollow Knight, you as the player are richly rewarded with new abilities, geo (money) or additional lore about the world. While writing your narrative, you can apply this technique by slamming down on emphasis to what the struggles that the protagonist undergoes in the story, then rewarding the viewer with an emotional journey that takes them on a trip to feel the pain and agony that the protagonist is taking on, and leave them with a satisfying end to that journey.

Introductions Matter

Meeting the characters in Hollow Knight is a pleasant experience, each bearing their own unique set of traits seen even before encountering them, specifically the bosses you face throughout the game. The language presented in this game foreign yet somehow feels familiar and sometimes you as the player try to make out what the character is attempting to say. By articulating the tone of speech, it can indicate how the characters feel or what their next move will be or call the player to their position. Studying this technique can offer a unique style to your characters in your narrative, storytellers can implement this through the traits, quirks or language you present from the very beginning, remember a forgettable persona is one that cannot be felt or heard, so make each character stand out in their way.

© Panda Tales Animation

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