Some general advice first.
It is probably not wise to phrase your language regarding team members quite the way you do.
recently my geek coworker play testers
Unexpectedly, my geek coworkers didn't like the idea.
However, my critical coworkers again find fault:
In of themselves the words are not overtly offensive but they have the capacity to be taken so...simply because each time you refer to your co-workers you have attached an adjective as well it would appear bundled every team member bar yourself under those appellations. The last thing you want is to create an unintended insult simply because the language you chose was poor. When referring to your co-workers it might be better to say something along the line of this:
Discussion within the team has led to two differing story approaches with regard the game. [Insert game description here]. The two approaches under considerations are as follows. [Insert story approaches].
Don't personalise which story approach is yours as simply it then becomes a question of will we support you against your co-workers rather than concentrating on the strengths and weaknesses of each approach.
I currently have about 30 or 40 minutes worth of single player gameplay culminating into a cool boss battle, and while my game's a lot of fun, recently my geek coworker play testers have been suggesting I add a story to give it more "depth".
You might also consider this from the perspective of the following "Why am I the protagonist who has no name, no story, no purpose spending my time in this starship killing people for no reason". Adding a story is reasonable advice if the lack of it is felt, and is probably needed if, despite your gameplay being fun, it gets asked for by several testers.
They suggested that for the PC/XBox markets where I intend to release my game most players interested in a space fighter game would be more sci-fi geeks, than kids and parents looking for the whimsical family plot of StarFox on the original Nintendo 64.
Have you actually done any market research on this. Don't forget at the end of the day you are making a product for sale and wish to maximise said sales. Have any of you actually stood up and presented facts/figures to support the various assertions made?
always thought StarFox's success had lots to do with it's appeal to a broader spectrum of gamers than just sci-fi fans.
This is opinion, in similar to the previous point. It should not be hard to research why people found this game popular. The web would be populated with many opinions from which you could sift through for a more accurate set of reasons for its success.
Additionally, an idea I've been toying with is making the game episodic: releasing short episodes 1 to 2 hours in length with compelling cliffhangers rather than an extended 13 to 30 hour game, much as a comic book is to a full book. One motivation is that it's taken me sooo long to reach 30 to 40 minutes of content that a full length game seems nearly unattainable, but at the $5 price point I intend to release my game it seems reasonable to expect less content too. This also would give the ability to focus more on quality than on quantity, which is something I feel strongly about.
However, my critical coworkers again find fault: they don't believe a 1 to 2 hour game provides enough time to get players to feel attached to the characters and story, nor to sufficiently advance the gameplay to where the players have enough options for weapons and upgrades that the game feels truly deep and dynamic. Any thoughts here either?
From a written perspective, if you are writing episodically then you don't need to resort to just using cliffhangers. For example in the Perils of Pauline the use of a cliffhangar was not used at the end but rather situations were created from which the rescue/escape then occured. As an opposing example, Scheherazade who was in danger of immediate execution told the persian king a number of tales which at the completion of each night ended on a cliffhangar causing the king to delay her execution in order to hear the rest of the tale. There is a particular style when it comes to writing "comic books" part of which, the thinking behind it must be that you are also "showing the reader as well as telling them" Simply using cutscenes may not be enough for this format as the periods of gameplay would probably need some story development in of itself (but you have explored that within your second post to a degree)...but this is a subjective opinion on my behalf and is flawed by not knowing enough about the actualities of your game as to the best forms of implementing the story (from my perspective that is). Either way there is enough information for how to write episodically on the web. A recent example of an episodic game would be the recent Walking Dead game.
The argument that a 1 to 2 hour game is insufficient time to gain an attachment to the character or story is flawed....fundamentally flawed. There are multiple examples in literature incorporating short story or novella formats where attachments can be developed. Children's bedtime stories have multiple small adherents who hang on each word. Film and television consistently present stories in such limited time periods. Portal is one game that comes to mind of not being an overtly large game but one that has a storyline (along with brilliant game design) that still resounds in people's minds...even to the song for the credits (Still alive).
I am not really going to go into the reasons why a much larger game will also provide a broader canvas for your story as there is more than sufficient examples available of such games with epic stories/
At the end of the day much of this question will come down to market research to help define your answers for you as well agreement/compromise within the team. Both forms of game design have valid approaches and it really does come down to working out which model best suits your needs. Either way if I were you, I would sketch a rough plot for both an episodic and full length scenario.
One thing to note. It would not be unrealistic to think that as the team works together on further content that the output level will also increase. What may have taken a long time to create the first 30-40 minutes of your game by all reason should take less time to create further amounts as familiarity with the project increases as well the re-utilisation of assets now created.
Lastly, and again this comes to back to general advice. If you are the lone voice of dissent in a team, you might want to consider why. I am not saying you are wrong or right, but rather that you may need to vary your approach in dealing with other team members in order to "sell" your ideas as opposed remaining the lone man. Bringing supportive evidence of your point of view is one way to do this but you should also maintain enough flexibility to accept that your idea may not be better (after having researched) and have the strength of character to accept it and move on.
I hope this helps you and best of luck with the game
Edited by Stormynature, 10 March 2013 - 06:39 AM.