Originally Posted by KillerRabbit
Let's agree that it matters when we are interested in him. We get to see the man behind the mask and both of your examples -- the man of the people who upset his patrons, the person who partook in the decadence of renaissance Italian. But it also helps us understand the time that much better. Why did zealots like Savonarola burn painting in large bonfires? What, in Savonarola's mind, was the connection between art, decadence and corruption? Knowing that the famed painter was caught in vice raid helps that. I also helps me understand the deep sensuality of his portrait of John the Baptist. Knowing the painter was thirsting helps me interpret the artwork that much better.

I hate to break your heart on this, but like Michelangelo, there is no real evidence he ever did anything with anyone. Not even so much as a real accusation or credible insinuation, which in and of itself is unusual for the period and place they two lived in (they were contemporaries after all). In many ways, humanity is very consistent and celebrity then as now was obsessed over and fueled constant speculation but da Vinci lived a life like an open book constantly in the company of others but never with attachment while Michelangelo would turn whatever premises he was laboring at into sanctuaries against the outside world. Literally. He was notorious for turning churches under his commission into fortresses (sealing windows and barring doors against entry, often leaving only rooftop accesses which only he and those with him knew of) and turning out the priests and adjuncts who worked there, and sometimes lived there, until his work was complete. Noone would be allowed entry except those who would fetch his tools and mix his paints and even they had to remain still and mute unless directed otherwise as he toiled tirelessly, though in near constant agony toward the later years of his all too brief existence, for as much as twenty hours a day without ceasing. However, in his case, there was one particular lady with whom he corresponded regularly and her name escapes me, but the love they shared in those letters, though nothing in them ever spoke of love per se, would fill you with envy to read them. Complete understanding, complete acceptance. A rare thing indeed.

For the moment though lets grant your supposition full authority because though speculative it is interesting, if true that da Vinci was homosexual or learning toward that end, I still cannot see it as important. Its only value lies in that it might possibly explain other things which are interesting to us, or lend itself to greater insights of the attitudes of others or life of the time, perhaps even open a small window into the complexities and turmoil of his own existence. . .But the thing itself means very little outside of its relation to other things. A key is useful to get through a door, but it is what is in the room which is important, or else we would be unconcerned with the door and untroubled with the lack of its key.

Originally Posted by KillerRabbit
In terms of the game the authors seem to be going for the "man behind the mask" Wyll, the folk hero, has a dark secret. You, his confidant, get a peek and the man behind the mask and can pledge to free him from his bonds. Wyll has a unique model and you can see the results of Spike's torture when he removes his shirt. Nudity is revealing -- his story is written on his body and when he naked before the main character he is vulnerable.

This is even more true of Astarian since his scars literally take the form of words. He is a seducer, one who doesn't even remove his mask in the bedroom, someone who is capable of appearing clothed even while naked. But we see the mask slip the next morning. We seem him basking in the sunlight and we touch a sensitive spot when we notice the scars. Astarian is someone who is -- quite literally -- incapable of looking the in mirror. Without his master he's lost, perhaps he will come to understand himself when he sees himself reflected in Tav's eyes.

Both romances move the story forward and makes the associated quests a bit deeper than Mario-princess story or Cazador as an end boss.

So I want to dial up the romance. I want more interactions, more conversations and more text. (and I know this Larian and not J.E. Sawyer but please give me a wall of text. Letters? Diary entries? A literal wall with writing on it?)

I wish I had your confidence, but I am afraid they might be aspiring more for JJ Abrams' "Mystery Box." I have a friend who worked a few different sets with him and Abrams' approach to writing hinges upon the concept of story beats. Three scenes roughly at the beginning, middle, and end of a movie, always revolving around large kinetic action, then he kicks those off to his script writers to figure out how to craft a narrative that will land appropriately at each beat. Sort of like coming up with a hook for the chorus of a song, then composing everything else around that. He's a director though, and a competent one, that he knows little about quality writing and cares less is unfortunate but not a deficiency. Michael Bay has been wildly successful making movies in which story was just an excuse to film something, but his only aspiration is to make something people will enjoy for a couple hours and allow them to leave their lives and all their troubles behind for awhile. There is something noble in that, and while I don't care for his films either I am grateful that he is successful in bringing enjoyment to others and he is a very effective director if a bit of a dick at times. However, their approaches to story telling explain why their films are so often forgettable, but it isn't an indictment against them, their audiences, or the industry. Many contemporaries, in their arrogance, love to believe they are somehow superior to those whom lived in the earliest periods of recorded history, but the reason why the classics of antiquity remain with us when so many other periods cycle through popularity and neglect is because of how well they reflect humanity at any time -and we only know of it because of the stories. History itself, which they gave us the concept of, is simply distilling events into stories and storytelling was arguably our first art. Even the cave pictures of early man told stories. It is very much a part of who we are as a species and I believe we will always respond to quality narrative even if most of us are not troubled by poor ones.

I don't know whether you follow game developer talks or attend gaming conventions where they discuss post mortems and future potential, but the overwhelming consensus amongst developers is also that writing doesn't matter and never has. Consider this:

Originally Posted by Ben Kuchera
After so many games of nearly incomprehensible stories and lore that requires terminals and study outside of the core gaming experience I’ve decided to give up on the story of Halo. Not that it ever showed anything interesting outside of a few neat, big ideas that no one seemed to know how to develop into a working narrative. If you want a great story and interesting characters let’s stop pretending the game starring a faceless, gravelly voiced super-soldier is going to provide it. Even Nathan Fillion, who punches well above his weight class when struggling under bad scripts, only makes a slight impression here.

It’s not that I’m not upset Halo 5 couldn’t deliver a workable story with a beginning, middle, and end. I am. It’s just that between the fun to be had in the pure expression of play within Halo 5 and the many multiplayer options the lack of story is a very small detail in a very large package that’s being sold for $60. You’re going to get your money’s worth, and my personal journey with the game has only begun. I can’t wait to play more, and to master the higher level tactics and the interesting Warzone mode.

And of course there is always this old saw
Originally Posted by John Carmack
It's been said that a story in a video game is like a story in pornography—it doesn't matter how good it is, but you notice if it isn't there.

A story which is engineered for effect has no art, it will always be superficial. Art is created by people who have something they need to say, that is why da Vinci so often failed in his contracts with others. He could not bring himself to work on something that was no more than merely beautiful. He would try to motivate himself by taking works which were interesting or complex, but once he had worked out how the thing could be done to his satisfaction he lost all interest in it. It was meaningless and he refused to a waste so much as a minute of his life on something which did not matter. Artists today have never been more technically proficient and yet few of them have anything to say. As beautiful as the things they create are, I would trade all of it for the works of El Greco whom I don't even care for but was at least driven in his work toward something greater than himself which he could not communicate in any other way. Of course, that is purely personal preference and hardly an objective argument. Disagree all you like, its not worth arguing over.

All of which is to say I hope you are right, but I fear you are not, and so I will continue my lonely crusade. I do agree with you, however, there is some potential within this work. if it were otherwise I would not even be here. I do not waste my time lightly.


Originally Posted by KillerRabbit
Spoiler for length. I find myself agreeing with nearly all of @firesnakearies' points. [ as I tend to do unless we are talking about rulesets -- how can someone who is so right about about so much be wrong about 5e? smile ] If anything this only an adjunct / additional angle to the points they have made.

I was going through making sure there wasn't anything in any of these posts that I missed and decided to give a run at this bit. Most artists think conceptually, they deal with ideas and not details. Eventually, if hey are dedicated to a project, they will eventually obsess over those details but it isn't where many of them start. Engineers are all about details. This is why you will always see writers dedicating their books to their editors. Artists are often lost without suitable structure. Having dealt with enough creatives, I am pretty confident in my judgment that she is clearly one even if she has never pursued it or cultivated her potential. I don't know if you have children or not, but however you try to raise them, no matter how carefully you try to control those factors they come into contact with and will ultimately influence them, there is some firmware there which you will never be able to do more than update. At the point they are toddlers and have the ability to express their opinions and priorities, you will begin seeing aspects of the inherent nature will come to define them in later years. Its sort of great actually. Anyway, yeah, like myself I think she will always be more comfortable dealing with ideas than anything else

Last edited by DistantStranger; 07/12/20 12:44 PM.