Avoiding Inconsistencies

One tricky part about writing for visual novels like Aurora’s Nightmare, or any game which offers a high degree of player choice, is making sure that the story stays consistent no matter which path the player takes.  For example, say that at one point you want the characters to mention a conversation they had earlier in the game.  In a regular linear story there’s no problem with that.  But in a game with a branching path or open-ended story, it becomes much more difficult.  Was the player given multiple dialogue options during that conversation?  If so, do you need to change the current scene based on what the player decided to say back then?  What if the player was able to skip that conversation entirely?   In another scenario, what if two or three branches all lead into the same scene.  You need to make sure that the opening for said scene create a proper transition no matter which branch the player was on.

Some writers handle this better than others.  And, in some cases, there are so many possible variables involved that it’s pretty much impossible to provide a fully consistent story for every possible path.  Fortunately, visual novels with their branching path stories, provide enough structure that keeping things consistent is always possible, though the writer does need to lay out the scenes carefully and always keep the different possible paths in mind.