Great Game Story

Video Game Story Design is a new method for creating the next level of video game stories. Compelling drama is rapidly becoming the most important quality of critically-acclaimed, single-player titles. VG Story Design demystifies the elements of great game story to show that engaging drama and intense action are no longer mutually exclusive.

The Glorious Cause

Video games don't get the love they deserve. As Will Wright points out, "When comic book people are looking down on you as cultural refuse, you know you're at the bottom of the barrel." VG Story Design is on a mission to show the critics that gaming deserves recognition as a legitimate narrative art form. Fight the cause.

Iron Hearts: A True Story-Driven Shooter

The Iron Hearts script below is VG Story Design's proof of concept. Iron Hearts' goal is to offer a glimpse of the next level of interactive drama. Read the script to see if Iron Hearts is on the right path to proving the critics wrong.

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VG Story Design

IRON HEARTS is presented as both a script (below) and a design document. Read the script first. The story is, after all, the most important element of a story-driven game. When reading Iron Hearts, consider these points:

GENRE: Iron Hearts is a linear, single-player space opera in the vein of Halo, Half-Life 2, Gears of War and others. Compare the amount of story we experience in the first 30 minutes of Iron Hearts to other alien/zombie/military shooters.

STORY: Iron Hearts is a "real time" linear story. Critics cite the forced exposition of flashbacks, narration and journal entries as trite techniques that overlay story on top of gameplay. In Iron Hearts, the story and characters develop as the game unfolds, in real time, without the use of pace-breaking plot devices.

CHARACTERS: Critics regularly deride games for use of cliche characters and stereotypical plotting. Iron Hearts, with its huge cast of compassionate characters and realistic (aka silicone free) women, strives to show that, as we know, action games can offer much more than indestructible super soldiers, spiky-haired metrosexuals and sexed-up femme fatales.

LEVELS: Iron Hearts replaces backtracking, filler and level grinding with character development as the central goal of every level. Iron Hearts hopes to show that the player's feelings about the characters aren't static, but can grow and progress while the action remains fast and furious.

DIALOGUE: Although Iron Hearts' dialogue is written in a modified screenplay format, Iron Hearts is not a screenplay (or a television show or novel). Therefore, typical lengthy speeches and expositional conversations are replaced with fast snippets to allow for player interactivity and non-stop action. Again, compare the type of dialogue in Iron Hearts to typical alien/zombie/military shooters.

               IRON HEARTS
               Copyright  
               WGA Registered

               EXT. PICADORA ONE INNER CITY - DUSK

               Evening rush hour is almost over in PICADORA ONE, a distant
               future metropolis.  COMMUTERS and ROBOTS hurry to their
               various destinations before the sun sets behind the
               glistening Frank Gehry-inspired buildings.

               Video billboards proclaim "Picadora One, voted the galaxy's
               best place to live!" and "A great future awaits you with
               Picadora One's Social Beautification Program."

               More worrisome, however, are the video displays requesting
               information on insurgent group LIBERTY NOW.  MUG SHOTS of
               male and female insurgents flash on the screen.

                                   VOICE (O.S.)
                         Thank you for recycling!

               On a walkway next to a row of mid-rise buildings, commuters
               deposit their food wrappers and trash into a TRASH CAN
               typical in any metro environment...

               However, we see the trash can is actually a robot.  This is
               TRASHBOT.

               Roughly three feet tall, TrashBot is glossy white with
               rounded edges and a pleasant, child-friendly appearance. 
               Simply, TrashBot is the iPod of the automated refuse and
               recycling industry.  And like a turtle carrying its shell,
               TrashBot carries his trash receptacle on his back.



               EXT. PICADORA ONE INNER CITY - LATER

               Rush hour over, TrashBot is alone, using his tiny hands to
               pick up the various pieces of trash on and around him.

               TrashBot waddles to a piece of crumpled paper a few feet away
               and picks it up.

               Being a curious droid, he opens the little wad and sees a
               ripped out section of a person's picture and some text...

               Not terribly interested, he's about to pitch it into his
               receptacle when...

               He notices another piece of crumpled up paper a half dozen
               feet away.

               TrashBot, feeling more adventurous, jogs over to the piece of
               paper, snatches it up and opens it.  Something clicks in his
               head and he fits the two pieces of paper together -- they
               form a section of a portrait.

               Trashbot is excited to see another piece of the crumpled
               picture, now only a few feet away.  

               And another.  And another.

               We see that the crumpled pieces are a crude BREADCRUMB TRAIL
               leading into a nearby alley.  Anyone familiar with "Hansel
               and Gretel" would recognize the inherent danger of breadcrumb
               trails, especially ones that lead into dark, sinister
               alleyways.  

               But TrashBot, being a poor, ignorant droid, simply walks
               right into the alley, collecting the trash as he goes.  With
               all the pieces collected, he holds them up, fits them
               together as best he can and, with great satisfaction, now
               sees the original picture...

               A WANTED poster for a WOMAN.

               Looking up, TrashBot now sees the very same WOMAN lunging for
               him.

                                   WOMAN
                         Gotcha!

               TrashBot flails as a woman struggles to plug a thumbdrive
               like device into a port on TrashBot's head.

               The device connected, Trashbot ceases his struggle and stands
               at attention.

               TrashBot's POV HUD shows the new program overriding his
               native TrashBot software.

                                   MAN (O.S.)
                         Hurry, they've almost caught up.

               The MAN'S voice comes over a PDA speakerphone the woman holds
               in her hand.

               POV HUD: The TrashBot's system files are wiped out as the new
               program takes over.

                                   WOMAN
                         How do I know if it worked?

                                   TRASHBOT
                         INSTALLATION COMPLETE, AWAITING
                         INSTRUCTIONS.

               TrashBot looks into the woman's face.  She's early-30's,
               modest but attractive, wears a business suit jacket and
               skirt, and carries a small duffle bag.

                                   MAN (O.S.)
                         Now launch imprinting.

                                   TRASHBOT
                         IMPRINTING LAUNCHED.

                                   MAN (O.S.)
                         And give it a name.

                                   WOMAN
                         John junior.

                                   MAN (O.S.)
                         Not my name!

                                   WOMAN
                         How about Sheldon.

                                   JOHN (O.S.)
                         That's just terrible.

                                   WOMAN
                             (to TrashBot)
                         Your name is now Sheldon.

                                   SHELDON
                         SHEL-DON.

                                   WOMAN
                         And I'm Amy.

               Sheldon looks up at her with his big, glassy eyes, soaking in
               every detail of her face.

                                   SHELDON
                         A-MEEEE.

                                   AMY
                         Run defense and counter-attack
                         program.

               POV HUD: The program loads up showing attack strategies,
               enemy recognition and weapon information.  Objectives print
               out: PROTECT HUMAN COUNTERPART.

                                   JOHN (O.S.)
                         Prep him and get the hell out of
                         there.

               Amy zips open her bag and pulls out a LASER BLASTER.  She
               puts the gun in Sheldon's hands.

               Sheldon checks the sight, barrel, clip and trigger as if he
               were a battle-hardened soldier.  Amy watches Sheldon's sudden
               weapons prowess, entranced, before realizing time is of the
               essence.

                                   AMY
                             (to Sheldon)
                         Dump your garbage.

               A trap door on Sheldon's backside opens up, unleashing a pile
               of papers, wrappers and other waste.

               Amy then pulls out additional CLIPS and GRENADES from her
               duffle and dumps them into Sheldon's trash bin [see design
               doc for more].

                                   JOHN (O.S.)
                         Don't forget the shield generator.

               She attaches a small SHIELD GENERATOR to Sheldon's bin right
               above his head.  A BLUE BUBBLE forms around Sheldon and then
               fades until it's barely visible [Sheldon features the popular
               wait-and-recharge health system see design doc].

               Suddenly, something catches Sheldon's eye -- PICADORA
               SOLDIERS round a corner and point in Amy's direction.

                                   SHELDON
                         Trouble, Amy!

                                   AMY
                             (to Sheldon)
                         Hold them off!

               Amy rushes to the nearby door and struggles with the handle.

               [Sheldon is the first playable character.  Bold indicates
               controllable areas with over-the-shoulder perspective.  While
               still scripted, the nature of the action is up to the player
               and viewed from the character's POV.  See the design document
               for more]

               [Additionally, bold playable areas function in extended game
               time.  Meaning, a page of bold script can, in game time with
               combat and player interaction, be as long as 10 minutes.  See
               the design doc for more on timing]

                                   AMY
                         The door is locked!

                                   JOHN (O.S.)
                         Hold on...

               Sheldon fires at the soldiers, killing some and sending
               others running for cover.

               The door's electronic lock flashes green and opens.  

               Sheldon fires as more soldiers round the corner.

               Amy and Sheldon enter the building.



               INT. PICADORA BUILDING - CONTINUOUS

               SIRENS go off outside.  Sheldon scans the large, vacant
               office entry and sees SOLDIERS approaching the outside of the
               building through the glass.

                                   JOHN (O.S.)
                         Up the stairs.

               A barrage of bullets shatters the glass.  

               Sheldon fires back.

               Amy dives behind a column, narrowly missing a wave of
               bullets.

               Soldiers climb in through the windows.

               Sheldon, with a few deft shots, knocks out the soldiers.  A
               well-timed grenade sends the enemy hurtling out the window.

               Amy runs for the stairs, Sheldon close behind.



               INT. BUILDING STAIRWELL - CONTINUOUS

               They enter the stairwell.

                                   JOHN (O.S.)
                         Two flights up.

               Amy runs up the stairs.  Sheldon starts climbing the stairs. 
               Amy trips.

                                   AMY
                         Damn heels...

               She kicks off her pumps then looks back to see that Sheldon
               is having a hard time climbing the stairs.  

               She picks him up and, with a grunt, carries him up the first
               flight.  [While Amy holds Sheldon, the player is only able to
               aim and fire, not move].

                                   AMY
                         You're heavier than you look...

               Soldiers smash open the doorway below and enter the
               stairwell.

                                   SHELDON
                         Amy!

               Amy holds Sheldon in the soldiers' direction while he fires.

               Sheldon blasts each soldier in turn and, when a head shot
               connects, Amy gives Sheldon encouragement.

                                   AMY
                         Nice one!

               The soldiers dispatched, Amy turns to the stairs.  More
               soldiers can be heard outside, yelling orders and commands.

                                   AMY
                         One more flight...

               Amy huffs Sheldon up to the next landing but doesn't make it
               before...

               Another group of soldiers enters the stairwell.

               Sheldon fires at the soldiers, but not before they make it
               part way up the stairs.  Amy has to hold Sheldon partially
               over the stair rail so he can get a better view of the
               soldiers down below.

               When a soldier fires at Sheldon, his shield protects him and
               Amy, though Amy flinches whenever a stray blast deflects off
               the wall next to her.

               Soldiers dispatched, Amy carries Sheldon the rest of the way.

               She drops him on the ground with a grunt.

               The light on the door flashes green and they enter.



               INT. HALLWAY - CONTINUOUS

               They enter a hallway and see door after door.

                                   JOHN (O.S.)
                         Go to the end.

               Amy and Sheldon run down the hall.

               Soldiers enter from behind.

               Sheldon fires, forcing them back.

                                   AMY
                         Which way now?

                                   JOHN (O.S.)
                         Make a left.

               Amy leads the way while Sheldon holds off the onslaught of
               soldiers.

                                   JOHN (O.S.)
                         Now right.

               Amy makes a right turn and runs right into...

               Soldiers, two of them, exiting an elevator.

                                   AMY
                         Sheldon!

               Sheldon fires at the soldiers as Amy dives to the side, just
               out of reach of the enemy.

               Soldiers defeated, Amy and Sheldon continue forward.

                                   JOHN (O.S.)
                         It's the last door at the end.

               They reach the door.  Amy tries the handle.

                                   AMY
                         Locked.

                                   JOHN (O.S.)
                         One second.

               Soldiers enter from behind.  Sheldon holds them off.

               Finally, the door opens and they enter.



               INT. CONTROL ROOM - CONTINUOUS

               The control room looks like it hasn't been used in years --
               chairs are stacked on desks and drop cloths are draped over
               computer terminals.

               Amy locks the door then stares at the bank of terminals,
               perplexed.

                                   AMY
                         Which terminal is it?

                                   JOHN (O.S.)
                         The far wall.

               Soldiers reach the locked doors -- they pound with their
               fists and yell orders.

               Amy runs over to the far wall and pulls the cloth off of the
               terminal.  She inserts various data discs into the machine
               and starts typing.

               The soldiers fire at the doors trying to blast their way
               through.  

               As the soldiers break a hole in the door, Sheldon fires
               through the hole at the soldiers he can see poking through.

               The soldiers fall back.

               Suddenly, soldiers pound on the second door across the room.

                                   AMY
                         The other door!

               Sheldon sees that the soldiers have broken part of the door
               down.

               Sheldon peeks through the hole and blasts them.

               More soldiers back at the original door fire through the hole
               in the door.

               Amy ducks as bullets crash into the walls around her.

                                   JOHN (O.S.)
                         Are you okay?

                                   AMY
                         Fine.

                                   JOHN (O.S.)
                         I told you --

                                   AMY
                         I know.

               Sheldon runs back and forth between the doors, firing at the
               soldiers as they appear through the holes they've created.

                                   AMY
                         Almost got it...

               Suddenly, the first door is blown completely off its hinges.

               Sheldon, using computer terminals as cover, dispatches the
               handful of soldiers that force their way in.

                                   JOHN
                         Tell the trashbot --

                                   AMY
                         Sheldon.

                                   JOHN
                         Tell Sheldon to access the trash
                         terminal system.

               Sheldon goes to Amy and sees a picture on the terminal screen
               -- a beautiful young woman.  The title reads: CARA.  The page
               reads: TREBRION PRISON COMPLEX.

                                   SHELDON
                         Who is that?

               Sheldon looks up at Amy and sees tears in her eyes.  She
               clenches her jaw to try and stave off more serious emotions.

                                   JOHN (O.S.)
                         Sheldon, access the system and
                         redirect the room's trash chute to
                         sector 14.

               Sheldon plugs into the system and the trash chute at the far
               end of the room opens up.

               Suddenly, soldiers smash the rest of the door and open fire.

               Amy dives for cover behind the terminal.

               Sheldon fires at the soldiers, killing them.

               More soldiers enter from the other door.  

               Sheldon blasts the soldiers and, after skillful firing,
               dispatches the soldiers.  Only faint footfalls can be heard
               from the stairwell.

               Amy and Sheldon go to the trash chute.  While not huge, the
               chute is large enough for garbage bags, TrashBots and petite
               insurgents.

               Soldiers shout out commands from the stairwell -- they're
               getting close.

                                   AMY
                         Down you go...

               Amy picks up Sheldon and drops him into the chute.  She then
               lowers herself in.

               Soldiers enter the room.

               Amy, with a final smile at the soldiers, disappears.



               INT. TRASH SHOOT - CONTINUOUS

               Sheldon and Amy slide down the chute, making turn after turn.

                                   SHELDON
                         This is fun.

                                   AMY
                         You're not wearing a skirt.

               They make turn after turn until, finally, they reach the
               bottom and...



               EXT. GARBAGE DUMP - CONTINUOUS

               They rocket out of the chute into a massive underground
               garbage complex, landing on the top of a 20 foot tall pile of
               refuse.

               Garbage pours out of other chutes, raining down on them.

               HUGE GARBAGE ROBOTS, noticing the strange figures, loom above
               with tentacles raised, preparing to put them into the big
               RECYCLING MACHINES at the far end of the complex.

               Sheldon holds up his gun.

                                   SHELDON
                         Don't.

               The garbage robots, seeing Sheldon's confidence, cower away.

                                   JOHN (O.S.)
                             (muffled)
                         Are you okay?

               Amy digs through the garbage until she finds the PDA.

                                   AMY
                         I look like a wreck.

                                   SHELDON
                         You're still beautiful.

                                   AMY
                         Are all TrashBots so sweet?

                                   SHELDON
                         I'm not a TrahBot, I'm Sheldon.

                                   AMY
                         Yes you are.

               Amy makes her way down the trash pile.  Sheldon stumbles
               behind her.

                                   SHELDON
                         Um, Amy?

                                   AMY
                         Yes?

                                   SHELDON
                         Who are you?

                                   AMY
                         You really don't know?

               Sheldon shakes his head.  

               Amy doesn't answer immediately.  Instead, a forlorn,
               bittersweet expression falls over her face as she tries to
               find the words to sum up what is clearly a painful history.

               She opens her mouth to speak but SIRENS go off and red lights
               begin to flash.

                                                                CUT TO:



               INT. PRISON COMPLEX - NIGHT

                                   MAN (O.S.)
                             (Southern accent, loud
                              whisper)
                         Get over here, rust bucket!

               We now see that this "rust bucket" is anything but.  At seven
               feet tall with a Ferrari red paint job, chromed joints and
               obvious performance upgrades, this is one bad-ass bot.  

                                   ROBOT (O.S.)
                         Who you calling rust bucket?

               This robot is like a tricked-out sports car with the robotic
               equivalents of Pirelli, Momo and AMG stamped on his biceps
               like badges of honor.  Stenciled across his left pec is his
               name: MARKO.

               In his hands are two beautiful weapons of war loaded to the
               hilt with every destructive technology conceivable [see
               design doc].  

               Marko is a walking war machine and the second playable
               character.

               Marko jogs across the small hallway to REESE who crouches in
               the shadows squinting at a PDA.

                                   REESE
                         See that door?  That's our meal
                         ticket.

               Reese sports a southern accent, black fatigues and an assault
               rifle.  He's clearly comfortable in this situation, though
               he'd be even more comfortable with a shot of whiskey in his
               belly.  As for looks, think Han Solo meets Sawyer from Lost.

               The door is about 50 yards away, past staircases, pillars,
               machine gun turrets and guards with big guns.

               The building looks like a mixed-use structure -- part
               residential, part military installation.  The building may
               have been a royal castle or estate many years ago.  Now,
               soldiers walk the hallways and guard large steel doors
               containing military secrets.

                                   REESE
                         So the plan is to sneak along
                         there, disable the alarm, create a
                         diversion and --

               An EXPLOSION cuts Reese off.

                                   REESE
                         Damn it all!

               Reese creeps to the window and looks out.

               Outside, advancing PICADORA GUNSHIPS fire at TURRETS along
               the outer wall of the complex.  GUARDS fire at advancing
               PICADORA SOLDIERS rushing the outside gate.

                                   MARKO
                         They're after the princess.

               Reese pulls out a THERMAL DETONATOR, feels its weight and
               hits the arming button.

                                   REESE
                         No kidding, big guy, so we're just
                         going to have to rush things a bit.

               With a grunt, Reese hurls the bomb over the edge of the
               railing.

               BOOM and a fireball erupts, sending debris everywhere and
               soldiers scrambling.

                                   REESE
                         Think you can handle it?

                                   MARKO
                         Who do you think I am?

                                   REESE
                         A big pansy --

               Marko loads a round into his rocket launcher with a loud,
               satisfying click.

                                   REESE
                         Let's see it.

               Marko enters the main area to find soldiers and SCANNER
               ROBOTS rapidly approaching.  

               Marko carries both an automatic shotgun and a rocket launcher
               with light and heavy modes [see design doc].

               Marko takes aim at the soldiers and unloads a volley of steel
               and explosives into their chests.

               The soldiers are blown backwards.

               From the other end of the room, a solider fires a rocket
               launcher, blowing up the walkway in front of Marko.

               Reese points Marko down a flight of stairs which suddenly
               fills up with soldiers.  

               Marko blows them away.

               FLYING GUN BOTS exit from hatches in the ceiling.  

               Explosions from outside echo through the interior.  

               Marko guns down the bots, which careen into walls and
               detonate with a satisfying explosion.

               Reese runs across the floor.

               Marko follows Reese into a side hallway.

               Reese and Marko duck into the hallway just in time as a mass
               of soldiers runs past them to the front door where heavy
               fighting ensues.

               The final stretch is guarded by a group of soldiers camped
               around the doorway.  

               Marko engages.

               The soldiers fire back.

               The pillars provide cover against the soldiers' fire.  The
               soldiers throw small explosives, causing the columns to
               crack.

               Marko blasts the last of the soldiers with his rockets.

                                   REESE
                         Nice work.

               They run for the door.

                                   REESE
                         Cover me.

               Reese begins hacking the door's lock.

               Behind them, soldiers open fire.  

               Marko blows them away before they can get close.

               Reese unlocks the door and they enter.



               INT. PRINCESS CARA'S BEDROOM - CONTINUOUS

               Marko and Reese enter to find PRINCESS CARA and her FRIEND
               BOT SALLY standing against the farthest wall.  Princess Cara
               is a cliche statuesque blond princess.  But unlike your
               typical blissfully happy damsel in distress, Cara has more in
               common with the Rodeo Drive Range Rover princesses than
               Cordelia Lear.  Simply, she's a stuck up drama queen.

                                   CARA
                         Are you here to rescue me?

                                   REESE
                         Well --

                                   CARA
                             (to Sally)
                         I told you a hero would come!

                                   REESE
                         Uh huh.

               Marko secures the door while Reese checks the windows for
               invading forces.  

                                   CARA
                         What's your noble affiliation?

                                   REESE
                         We're leaving shortly.

                                   CARA
                         You do work for a noble family,
                         right?

                                   REESE
                         We don't have time --

               Cara suddenly realizes Reese isn't her knight in shining
               armor.

                                   CARA
                         You're a kidnapper!  Get away from
                         me, I won't go anywhere with you!

                                   REESE
                         I'm taking you out of here and if
                         you don't shut it, Marko here is
                         going to stick a gag in your mouth.

                                   CARA
                         You're a criminal!

               Marko rips a pillow to pieces, preparing to gag her.

                                   REESE
                         Listen cream puff, Picadora goons
                         are after you and I know you don't
                         want to fall into their hands.

               Reese is right, Cara suddenly becomes terrified at the
               mention of Picadora.

                                   REESE
                         So what'll it be?

                                   CARA
                         You're a jerk...

               She starts packing her things.

                                   REESE
                         No packing!
                             (to Marko)
                         Blow that wall open.

               Marko fires at the wall, blowing a hole big enough for them
               to climb through.

               Reese pokes his head out and sees a 30 foot drop to the rocky
               pathway below.  He undoes a coil of rope.

                                   REESE
                             (to Marko)
                         Cover us.

               Marko jumps out of the hole to the ground below.

                                   REESE
                         Now you, Princess.

                                   CARA
                         My droid first.

                                   REESE
                         Your droid isn't coming.

                                   CARA
                         My droid is coming or I don't come! 
                         I swear --

               Cara is genuinely panicked.  She hugs her friend bot with the
               utmost affection and, for a second, all put-on arrogance and
               attitude disappears.

               Reese sees this sudden emotion and, shocked, gives in.

                                   REESE
                         Fine!

               We now get a good look at the friend bot for the first time. 
               Unlike Cara's frilly pink princess outfit, the friend bot is
               more tomboy than regal companion.  And though the bot has a
               metal face, there's something almost human about the eyes...



               EXT. ROCKY PATHWAY - CONTINUOUS

               Outside, PICADORA LIGHT MECHS round the building corner and
               run at Marko.  Roughly ten feet tall, the Picadora Light
               Mechs pack serious firepower but can't move as swiftly as
               Marko.

               With guns blazing, Marko dives head on into the mech assault. 

               Statues of Greco/Roman deities provide temporary cover until
               they're blown to pieces by the Mech's cannons.

               Marko fires back and a few well-placed rockets knock the mech
               to its knees.

               Mechs defeated, Reese lowers Cara and her bot to the ground
               below.  Reese follows.

                                   REESE
                         We're not far from the ship, it's
                         just --

               Reese is interrupted by gunfire from the window above.

               Marko returns fire at the soldiers above.

               Marko fires a rocket that blows the room to pieces, sending
               soldiers and furniture flying out into the night.

               Two mechs round the corner of the building.  

               Reese pulls the girls into cover next to the building.

               Marko runs ahead.  Shrubs and fountains and other luxury
               garden ornaments are blown to pieces by the the mech's
               blasts.

               Marko's heavy rockets make quick work of the mechs.

                                   REESE
                         We're almost there...

               Ahead, we can see a hole blasted in the perimeter fence.  On
               the other side of the fence is a forest.  They prepare to
               make a run for it when...

               A huge explosion rocks the ground.  Once the smoke clears,
               they see...

               A HEAVY MECH.

                                   REESE
                         Shit!

               Reese pulls the girls into an alcove in the building.  The
               Heavy Mech advances.

                                   REESE
                         Marko, time for the nitrus!

               Marko turns a knob on his back causing his engines to double
               their speed.  [Nitrus allows Marko to move at an accelerated
               speed for a short period of time].

                                   REESE
                             (to Cara)
                         Watch this.

               Fully juiced, Marko engages the Heavy Mech.  

               The mech uses a variety of large energy cannons and lighter
               machine gun fire.

               While the mech is powerful, it can't match Marko's speed.

               Marko flanks the mech, forcing him to turn, while he unloads
               round after round into the mech's heavy armor.

               A plasma cannon blast connects with Marko, blowing him back a
               half dozen feet.

                                   REESE
                         Walk it off, big guy.

               Reese throws Marko an energy cell that boosts his health.

               After a number of shots, the mech begins to smoke.

                                   REESE
                         He's almost finished!

               With a final shot, the Heavy Mech falls to the ground with a
               satisfying crunch, defeated.

                                   REESE
                             (to Cara)
                         See that?  That's why we get the
                         big bucks.

                                   CARA
                         Big bucks?

                                   REESE
                         You have the honor of being
                         abducted by the highest paid bounty
                         hunter in the galaxy, sweet cheeks.

               Reese leads the girls through the hole and into the forest.



               EXT. FOREST - CONTINUOUS

               They make their way through the trees and into a clearing
               where Reese's ship awaits.  This is no typical spacecraft,
               but a Ferrari for the skies.  Bright red paint and smooth
               lines, Reese's ship is clearly one serious speed demon.

                                   REESE
                         Destiny awaits.

               Reese grabs the friend bot who stares at the ship in awe. 
               Marko takes Cara inside and, as Reese pulls Sally in, she
               takes one final look back and sees her former prison consumed
               in flames.

                                                                CUT TO:



               INT. WAREHOUSE - DAY

               JOHN, early 30's, is a jeans, t-shirt, and thick glasses man. 
               He talks into his phone.

                                   JOHN
                             (into phone)
                         Okay, see you soon.  Love you.

               He turns off the phone.

                                   JOHN
                         Amy and the TrashBot just got out
                         of the garbage sector.

                                   EINSTEIN
                         She didn't dispose of the trashbot?

               EINSTEIN is, in fact, Einstein.  Or, at least a robot with
               the genius's signature mustache and hairdo.  The rest of
               Einstein's body is quite crude -- mostly dull metal and
               exposed joints -- but he appears firmly built and speaks with
               confidence and intelligence, living up to his namesake.

                                   JOHN
                         The trashbot is coming.

               Einstein stares out the window at the street across from
               them.  It appears as if they're on a stakeout.  Or, with the
               large sniper rifle nearby, on an assassination mission.

                                   EINSTEIN
                         You know I'm entirely opposed to
                         using the Napoleon program in a
                         trashbot.

                                   JOHN
                         Isn't Sheldon a terrible name?  I
                         think it's terrible.

                                   EINSTEIN
                         John --

                                   JOHN
                         I know, but I want to see how it
                         turns out.

                                   EINSTEIN
                         It's playing with fire.

                                   JOHN
                         Turns out Sheldon is pretty handy
                         with a gun.

                                   EINSTEIN
                         That's the fire I'm talking about!

                                   JOHN
                         You turned out fine.

                                   EINSTEIN
                         But I'm Einstein.

                                   JOHN
                         Was that humor?

                                   EINSTEIN
                         John --

                                   JOHN
                         It was humor!

                                   EINSTEIN
                         Impossible, I'm designed only to
                         make you smarter and then shut the
                         hell up.

                                   JOHN
                         Sarcasm and profanity too!  I think
                         this is a real breakthrough --

                                   EINSTEIN
                         Quiet!

               Einstein now sees something out the window.

                                   EINSTEIN
                         There he is.

                                   JOHN
                         The gun.

                                   EINSTEIN
                         Let me.

                                   JOHN
                         The gun, Albert.

               John is adamant, serious, determined to do this himself
               though his voice betrays his nervousness.  It's clear this is
               John's first attempt at assassination.

               Einstein hands John the sniper rifle.  John raises the weapon
               and we see...

               SCOPE POV:  A number of SOLDIERS and other military STAFF
               emerge from a building, talking and shaking hands.  One man
               in particular, LORD PHILIP, appears to be a prince or some
               royal personage from the clothing he wears and, though he's
               young, he carries himself with the confidence of a malevolent
               dictator-in-training.

               John tries to hold the rifle steady but he can't.  He wipes
               sweat from his face and tries to brace himself.

                                   EINSTEIN
                         Let me.

                                   JOHN
                         I got it.

               John takes another look through the sight but realizes he
               just doesn't have steady-enough hands.

                                   JOHN
                         Fine.

               Einstein takes the rifle, looks through the POV and...

               SCOPE POV:  A sinister-looking ROBOT is pointing in their
               direction.  Suddenly, a bright flash and...

               The wall EXPLODES as Einstein grabs John and dives out of the
               way just in time.

                                   JOHN
                         Christ!  What happened?

               YELLING is heard from outside as SOLDIERS rush towards them.

                                   EINSTEIN
                         You're bleeding.

               John touches his head -- it's just a scratch.

                                   JOHN
                         I'm fine.  You?

                                   EINSTEIN
                         Of course.

               Einstein is the third playable character.  He drops the
               sniper rifle and opens up a large suitcase.

                                   JOHN
                         The particle cannon --

                                   EINSTEIN
                         I know.

               Einstein removes a strange looking device from the suitcase --
               tubes and pipes and chambers of funky-colored liquid make up
               the body of the particle cannon.

               Einstein pulls the trigger and a tidal wave of energy slams
               into the soldiers, literally blowing them off their feet [see
               design doc for the particle cannon's multiple uses].

               John leads Einstein down a dilapidated hallway.  Soldiers
               emerge from the hole in the wall and, at the same time, from
               the opposite end of the hall.

               Einstein fires at the soldiers, making short work of them.

               Suddenly, the big bay windows burst open as an ARMORED
               VEHICLE breeches the wall.

                                   EINSTEIN
                         Back of the building!

               Einstein fires on the vehicle.  

               Soldiers exit the vehicle and use it as cover.

               Einstein lays down suppressing fire as John runs for a flight
               of stairs.

               John points the way up a flight of stairs as more and more
               SOLDIERS pour through the hole in the wall.

                                   EINSTEIN
                         If we go up we'll get trapped!

                                   JOHN
                         There's a door!

                                   EINSTEIN
                         But the roof --

               Einstein is cut off by more gunfire.

               John runs for the stairs.

               After dispatching the troops, Einstein follows John up the
               stairs.

               Soldiers arrive at the bottom of the staircase and fire
               upward.  

               Einstein picks them off.

               John and Einstein arrive at the top of the stairs and John
               tries the door to the roof.

                                   JOHN
                         It's locked.

                                   EINSTEIN
                         Told you.

                                   JOHN
                         Shoot it already!

               Einstein blasts the door handle.  John pushes.

                                   JOHN
                         There's something blocking on the
                         other side.

                                   EINSTEIN
                         Brilliant, John.

               John continues to push as the soldiers fill the stairwell. 

               Einstein fires down the well, killing soldier after soldier.

                                   JOHN
                         Got it.

               John opens the door and they run outside to find...



               EXT. ROOFTOP - CONTINUOUS

               Derelict oil drums and old crates scattered across the
               rooftop.

                                   EINSTEIN
                         We're trapped.

                                   JOHN
                         We're never trapped.

                                                                CUT TO:



               EXT. ROOFTOP - MOMENTS LATER

               Soldiers burst through the doorway onto the rooftop and fan
               out.  

               John and Einstein are nowhere to be found.

               After the soldiers comb the place and poke the drums and
               crates, Lord Philip and a DIPLOMAT, heavyset with a forced
               grin and clammy hands, emerge.  The sinister robot that
               spotted John before follows close behind.

                                   DIPLOMAT
                         Lord Philip, it's not safe.

                                   PHILIP
                         That was fun!  Wasn't that fun?

               Seeing there's nothing to shoot at, Philip sticks his gold
               plated laser pistol back into his jacket.  

                                   DIPLOMAT
                         I apologize --

                                   PHILIP
                         My little sewer of a planet is much
                         more dangerous.  But where are the
                         would-be assassins?

                                   DIPLOMAT
                         Uh, we're still tracking them.

               Philip turns to his robot, TITUS.  We now get a good look at
               Titus -- it's a serious war machine, not unlike Marko, but
               with a black and grey paint job and deep-set, vicious eyes.

                                   PHILIP
                         Titus, sniff around.

               Titus examines the oil drums and crates and, seeing nothing
               out of the ordinary, looks out over the city.  

               The diplomat lights a cigarette.

                                   PHILIP
                             (re: cigarette)
                         Mind if I...

                                   DIPLOMAT
                         Of course, please...

               The diplomat gives Philip a cigarette and lights it for him. 
               Philip takes a deep drag and coughs.

               Titus stops by the edge of the roof and looks out over the
               city.  He's suspicious...

                                   PHILIP
                         And how goes our little project?

                                   DIPLOMAT
                         Our forces are retrieving the girl
                         right now.

               Titus now notices something on the edge of the roof -- a
               carabiner with a rope descending over the edge.  

               We now see John and Einstein, holding the rope, pressed
               against the wall, trying to remain as still as possible.

                                   PHILIP (O.S.)
                         Think she's hideous?

                                   DIPLOMAT (O.S.)
                         Well...

               The shadow of Titus falls over John and Einstein and, though
               Titus has yet to see them, John holds his breath.

                                   PHILIP (O.S.)
                         I hope not, that'd be such a shame.

                                   TITUS
                         Lord Philip.

                                   PHILIP (O.S.)
                         Yes?

               A long beat as John and Einstein wait to see what happens. 
               Suddenly, the rope goes limp.  

               They fall for a few feet before Einstein grabs the ledge with
               one hand and John's shirt with the other.  The particle
               cannon is slung over his shoulder.

               John is able to get his grip on the ledge, right in time
               for Einstein to remove the particle cannon and fire at the
               soldiers as they peer over the wall. 

                                   JOHN
                         I can make it to the next roof.

               The next roof is a good 15 foot drop.  A roof garden looks
               like it would provide some cushioning but a fall would be...

               John is cut short as a bullet hits him in the arm.

               He screams out and falls into the roof garden.

               Einstein lets go of the ledge and leaps to the roof.  

                                   JOHN
                         I broke something.

               John holds his arm, now a mess, and struggles to his feet.

               Above, a new wave of soldiers reach the edge and raise their
               guns.

               Einstein fires, pushing them back with waves of energy.

                                   EINSTEIN
                         Get to the door!

               John stumbles away from the garden towards a doorway leading
               into another building.

               Soldiers descend to the roof garden and take cover behind the
               roof's air conditioning and other machinery.

               Einstein fires at the soldiers.

               SIRENS go off in the background, sending wails throughout the
               city.

               Einstein blasts a soldier, sending him flying over the edge
               to the ground below.

               John makes it to the door, opens it and enters.

                                   JOHN
                         I'm in.

               Einstein dodges the grenades and, with blasts of energy,
               dispatches the remainder of the soldiers.

               Einstein runs for the door and, at the final moment looks
               back to see...

               Titus.  The two of them lock eyes for a moment -- they have
               unfinished business.

                                                                CUT TO:



               INT. SAFE HOUSE - LATER

               John and Einstein enter the safe house to find their
               COMPATRIOTS waiting for them.  The safe house is a typical
               rebel compound -- no decorations on the walls, just stacks of
               rations and weapons.

                                   COMPATRIOT 1
                         He's hurt!

                                   JOHN
                         Just a scratch.

                                   EINSTEIN
                         He needs his arm set.

                                   JOHN
                         What's with the sirens?

                                   COMPATRIOT 2
                         Soldiers are going from door to
                         door.

                                   JOHN
                         Where's Amy?

                                   COMPATRIOT 2
                         Don't know.

                                   JOHN
                         She was supposed to be here --

                                   COMPATRIOT 3
                         There's a problem.

               John and Einstein go to the window and look out and see a
               HEAVY MECH walking down the street.

                                   JOHN
                         We'll just wait for it to pass.

                                   COMPATRIOT 3
                         No, that is the problem.

               John and Einstein now see the real issue...

               Sheldon.

               With a gun in each hand and grenades strapped across his
               chest like Rambo, Sheldon has made his stand across from the
               heavy mech like a wild west gunslinger.

                                   COMPATRIOT 3
                         What is it doing?

               John looks at Einstein who simply gives him the "I told you
               so" look.

                                   JOHN
                             (to Einstein)
                         Don't even say it!

                                                                CUT TO:



               EXT. LORILEY MARKET - DAY

               The market is typical of open-air bazaars in this part of the
               galaxy -- droids for sale next to exotic fruits and colorful
               pets.

               A Loriley SOLDIER approaches a HOODED MAN and holds up a
               "wanted" flier.  

                                   SOLDIER
                         Have you seen this man?

               The hooded man looks at the flier and sees a young, handsome
               man with the title "BRANDON VEREGAS, SON OF TRAITOR DUKE
               VEREGAS."

                                   MAN
                         Afraid not.

               The soldier keeps moving.

               We now see the hooded man is no man at all, but a robot. 
               However, unlike any other robot we've seen so far, this one
               appears to be crafted out of polished gold and blue steel. 
               If Rolex or Tag Hueur made a weaponized droid, this would be
               it.  Combined with a face both expressive and haunting, this
               robot is unlike any other in the galaxy.  This is WESLEY.

               Wesley makes a quick exit to a nearby alley where he finds
               the very same man on the poster, BRANDON VEREGAS.

                                   WESLEY
                         Soldiers are combing the streets --

                                   BRANDON
                         Doesn't matter, look at that...

               Brandon peers through binoculars at an approaching ship.

                                   BRANDON
                         Does that look like the royal
                         landing craft to you?

                                   WESLEY
                         Sir, I must protest --

                                   BRANDON
                         That's it, I'm positive.

               Brandon, eyes filled with rage, pulls out a laser blaster,
               checks the clip, and stuffs it back into his jacket.

                                   WESLEY
                         Sir, we must remain --

                                   BRANDON
                         Follow my lead.

               Brandon pulls his hood down over his face and exits the
               alley.  Wesley struggles to keep up.

               A soldier stands guard at an entrance to the spacecraft
               docking area.  Ships can be seen entering and leaving from
               above.

               Brandon walks up to the soldiers.

                                   SOLDIER
                         This area is restricted --

               The soldier is cut off by a laser blast to the chest.

               Brandon and Wesley enter the building.

               Behind them, soldiers round the corner and point in their
               direction.

               Wesley is the fourth playable character. Unlike the
               others, Wesley doesn't carry any weapons.  Rather, a forearm
               mounted mechanism provides his means of incapacitating the
               enemy. 
               Not only is Wesley able to fire a variety of energy blasts,
               he also wields an energy blade, deadly in close combat [see
               design doc].



               INT. DOCKING STATION - CONTINUOUS

               They enter the docking station to find a maze of halls and
               doors.

                                   BRANDON
                         Which way?

                                   WESLEY
                         You should have thought of that.

               Soldiers enter from behind.

               Wesley fires at the approaching soldiers as Brandon leads
               Wesley into another hallway filled with piping and machinery.

               A soldier, unaware of their presence, walks by their
               location.

               Brandon motions for Wesley to slit the soldier's neck.

               Wesley equips his energy blade and, with a leap and a precise
               swing, decapitates the soldier.

               Brandon now runs down the hallway past more soldiers.  Wesley
               follows and, when the timing is right, kills the enemies with
               a quick flick of his blade.

               Brandon opens the door at the end of the hall.

                                   BRANDON
                         There it is.

               The royal landing craft, a gaudy ship adorned with gold and
               silver, is just landing a dozen yards away.

               Soldiers fill the hallway behind them.

               Brandon shoots the door mechanism, causing the door to close.

               They exit.



               EXT. LANDING PAD - CONTINUOUS

               Outside, they see a phalanx of soldiers to the left side
               coming up the walkway towards the ship.

               Brandon dives out of the way as Wesley opens fire on the
               soldiers.  

                                   BRANDON
                         Hold them off, I'm going to make a
                         run for it.

               The royal ship has landed and the landing platform is just
               beginning to lower.

               Wesley fires at the soldiers.

               Brandon makes a run for the ship.

                                   WESLEY
                         Brandon --

               Brandon makes it to the ship and stops in front of the
               landing platform.

                                   VOICE (O.S.)
                         Hold your fire!

               The soldiers stop their attack.  

               Wesley walks over to Brandon, who is now facing the landing
               platform, though no one has yet to walk out.

               Soldiers surround them.

                                   BRANDON
                         Lord Philip!  It is I, Brandon
                         Veregas, demanding, by the ancient
                         laws binding the noble families,
                         single armed combat!

               Brandon unsheathes a small sword and holds it up.

                                   BRANDON
                         I will have retribution for the
                         crimes you've committed against my
                         family!  Face me now or live in
                         shame!

               Footsteps sound as someone walks down the ship's platform. 
               Finally, a WOMAN emerges.

                                   WOMAN
                         Sorry to disappoint.

                                   BRANDON
                         Tell your brother to face me unless
                         he's a coward.

               The woman is HELEN.  Early 30's, tall, no-nonsense, Helen
               prides herself on being the powerful business woman who can
               duke it out in the boardroom with the best of them.  Helen
               wears a conservative business suit and carries a man's
               briefcase.

               Next to her is CONSTANCE, her personal droid, who appears to
               be the same model as Wesley.  Constance wears a pantsuit that
               only reveals her face of light green metal.

               A Loriley POLITICIAN exits with Helen out of the ship.

                                   HELEN
                         My brother is a coward and, lucky
                         for him, he doesn't arrive for
                         another hour.

                                   BRANDON
                         You're lying.

                                   HELEN
                         I'd like to see a fight between the
                         two of you but the most I can offer
                         is to duel you myself.

                                   POLITICAN
                         Ma'am, I must --

                                   HELEN
                         Now where's my sword.  I don't
                         normally carry sharp objects --

                                   POLITICAN
                         I really must protest --

                                   HELEN
                         Someone must have a sword.

                                   BRANDON
                         I have no vendetta against you.

               A SOLDIER walks forward and presents a sword.  The politician
               takes the sword from the soldier.  While this is happening,
               Helen whispers to Constance.

                                   HELEN
                             (to Constance)
                         That droid looks like an Ezra
                         design.

                                   CONSTANCE
                         That's Wesley, model number four.

                                   HELEN
                         Higher than you?

                                   CONSTANCE
                         It was his father's long-time
                         protector and confidant.  After the
                         purges, I imagine that Ezra model
                         is all he has left of his family.

               Helen motions for the sword.

                                   POLITICAN
                         Ma'am, really --

                                   CONSTANCE
                         Give it here.

               He buckles under her superior gaze and he gives it to her.

                                   HELEN
                             (to Brandon)
                         I'll talk to my brother, see if I
                         can arrange a little death match
                         between you two.  I'll hold this
                         until then.

                                   BRANDON
                         Thank you.

                                   CONSTANCE
                         Wesley.

                                   WESLEY
                         Constance.

               The two droids bow to each other in noble deference.

                                   HELEN
                         Now leave, you won't be harmed.

                                   POLITICAN
                         We can't allow that.

               The soldiers start to walk towards Brandon and Wesley.

                                   HELEN
                         I said let them go.

                                   POLITICAN
                         Your brother's orders.

                                   HELEN
                         I command --

                                   POLITICAN
                         All Veregas sympathizers are to be
                         rounded up.

               Brandon and Wesley share a look.

                                   BRANDON
                         Do it.

               Wesley glows with energy for a moment and, as Brandon kneels,
               an energy shock wave shoots out from Wesley, knocking the
               soldiers back.

               Brandon runs into the hangar.  



               INT. HANGAR - CONTINUOUS

               Wesley enters the hangar and, looking back, sees the soldiers
               get up having recovered from the shock wave.

               Brandon hides behind a landing craft, one of the many lining
               the walls of the large hangar.

               Soldiers fire on Wesley.  

               Wesley, using landing crafts and other objects, takes cover
               and picks the soldiers off one by one.

               A single LIGHT MECH enters through the front hangar.

                                   BRANDON
                         Can you handle it?

                                   WESLEY
                         Of course.

               Wesley engages the mech and, using cover, is able to defeat
               the mech with energy grenades and gun blasts.

               A second mech enters the hangar.

                                   BRANDON
                         I'm going for the door.

               Wesley fires on the mech while Brandon goes for the door in
               the back of the hangar.

               At the last moment, soldiers enter through the door, blocking
               the exit.

               Wesley defeats the mech while soldiers stream in from the
               door.

               Wesley fires at the new soldiers while Brandon attempts to
               leave through the the other side door.

               Soldiers again emerge, blocking Brandon's exit.

                                   BRANDON
                         We're trapped.

               Two HEAVY MECHS enter through the front of the hangar.

                                   POLITICAN
                         It's over.

               An overwhelming force of soldiers surrounds them.  

               Wesley, knowing he's overpowered, stops firing.  

                                   BRANDON
                         I'll never --

               A rifle butt to the back of the head knocks Brandon out cold.

               Soldiers surround Wesley and place electrodes on his body,
               crippling his functions.

                                   POLITICAN
                         Take them away.



               EXT. LANDING PAD - CONTINUOUS

               Helen, having watched the events unfold, walks away with
               Constance.

                                   HELEN
                         See if we can keep him out of my
                         brother's arena.

                                   CONSTANCE
                         Of course.

                                   HELEN
                         And any word from the bounty
                         hunter?

                                   CONSTANCE
                         He's on route with the cargo.

                                   HELEN
                         Maybe the galaxy won't go to hell
                         after all.

               Helen and Constance exit the platform while Brandon and
               Wesley are dragged away.

                                                       END OF CHAPTER 1
 
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