As a writer I am ever on the look out for lessons to be learned, allowing me to improve my craft.
Given my limited empathy, I oft find myself second-guessing my ability to reach out to our audience here at Tales of Pylea.
It was another humid afternoon here in the tropics when Humbug brought to my attention a playthrough video for Dreamfall Chapters; specifically book 4.
It is here in Interlude III – The Girl Who Walks Between Worlds that we are introduced to Saga, a new addition to the cast of protagonists.
Saga is a fourteen year old girl; a headstrong, adventurous young soul who lives with her father Magnus in a pocket dimension that sits at the crossroads between the material world and the world of dreams, taking the form of a small house whose windows are attuned to depict different places at different points of time.
The segment opens on an argument between Saga and Magnus; it is revealed that daddy dearest has erected several wards in place that prevent his daughter from leaving the premises and potentially getting lost in time and space.
Saga has, understandably, grown stir-crazy at being cooped up in her little house all the time but her father has insisted that the wards are in place for the sake of her safety, stating that he will only remove them when he deems Saga is old enough to try navigating the dream world, an apparently treacherous realm that is typically entered through the human subconscious.
Magnus’ fear is then validated as not only has Saga gotten lost in the dream realm before, but her mother has yet to return from her last venture and Magnus, terrified of losing his daughter, refuses to go with Saga as he pines for his beloved wife and continues to hope for her return.
Magnus: “The answer is no. you should know better than to ask, Saga. I won’t risk you getting lost out there again.”
Saga: “I’ll be careful this time! I promise!”
Magnus: “It doesnt matter. I’m not removing the wards.”
Saga: “I’m fourteen, pappa. I can take care of myself.”
Magnus: “That didn’t help your mother.”
Saga: “It’s always about her, isn’t it? I’m not my mother. Whatever happened to her won’t happen to me.”
Magnus: “…And you know this how?”
“She said the same thing. She wasn’t going to get lost. She was coming right back. I shouldn’t worry. I should just…”
“Just stay put. And Wait. For her.”
“I’ll remove the wards when you’re older. Until then, you’re not leaving the house on your own.”
Upon the conclusion of their argument, Magnus, now exhausted goes to take a nap and the player is given control to advance the story by assuming the role of Saga as she seeks to untangle the wards and attain her freedom.
As gameplay progresses, Saga finds the wards, erected through magic powered by her father’s own emotions and memories of his wife.
Sifting through these memories, the player is taken on a journey through a series of touching moments, from the young couple’s arrival in their then-new home, the raising of their daughter who displays an unusual power through their apparently magical lineage, up until the point where Saga’s mother goes missing for reasons unknown.
What both Humbug and I fail to understand is that despite experiencing her father’s memories and heartbreak over losing his wife,
Saga persists in unraveling his wards to travel into the vast dreamscape.
Now, were this done with the intent to find her mother; to breathe life back into her grief-stricken father and restore her sundered family to its former state of happiness, such reckless behavior would be understandable.
However, the player is made very much aware that Saga’s primary motivation is that of restless wanderlust and boredom; fully aware of Magnus’ fears and sorrow, she sets off in complete disregard for his feelings.
As expected, the chapter ends with Magnus returning from his nap only to discover that Saga, his daughter and the only family he has left, is gone. The credits then roll as the player is left with a sense of loss that Magnus is experiencing.
The dialogue is well-written and tells a touching, tragic story of love and loss, but the player is compelled by the game to perform Saga’s actions. A protagonist is a character to whom the player relates and/or roots for but given Saga’s behavior thus far, I find myself unable to fathom why the player would feel a need to continue with Saga on her journey of discovery.
What do you think is the reasoning and justification behind this? We’d love to hear your thoughts, so drop us a comment HERE on Facebook.