Chad Moore, the Lead Narrative Designer at Carbine Studios, has published a nice, in-depth look at some of the story work that went into their upcoming MMO WildStar.
As Narrative Designer, Moore is responsible for crafting a deep, immersive story that explains how the world came to be in WildStar and why it is how it is. Moore and his team were tasked with creating and viable history for WildStar, so that when players first take up the came, they find themselves in a game world steeped in history. Enter the Eldan. This ancient, technologically savvy race has long since disappeared from the planet Nexus. When the player joins the game, they will have to unravel the secrets of who the Eldan were and why they disappeared all of those years ago.
From Chad Moore's blog entry:
Once we'd established this basic premise, the really hard work of narrative design began. Who were the races and factions coming to planet Nexus, and what's their interest in this new and exciting world? What conflicts exist before the game begins, and how do those conflicts shape the stories taking place on Nexus right now? What kind of exotic environments and interesting characters will players experience as they adventure through our game, and what will they teach the player about the fate of the Eldan and the growing dangers that threaten everyone on the planet?
Answering these questions resulted in a rich tapestry of characters, races and environments that serve to tell the epic story of WildStar. You have already heard about some of our factions and races, and met a few of our characters. For us in narrative design, it is very important that all of the threads in the tapestry exist for a reason, and that each one will teach you, the player, something about our world and the stories taking place within it.
The blog entry is well worth a read if you're looking forward to WildStar, so be sure to check it out at http://www.wildstar-online.com/!