Bellyfeel’s ongoing series looks at ways of applying a transmedia approach to a best-selling game, ‘The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim’.
This epic saga from game developer Bethesda is perfect for transmedia adaption because the existing storyworld that houses five games plus many expansion packs is rich, deep and exhaustively detailed. This enables the generation of story content in both a commercial merchandise way – glossy art books and strategy guides, action figures, T-shirts etc., and in more storytelling ways – story fragmentation, multiple narratives and new characters. All materials generated will grow from within the ‘Skyrim’ storyworld in a logical and organic way.
One example of how to ‘open up’ the existing storyworld is to look at the 200 years between Game 4 (Oblivion) and Game 5 (Skyrim). It is an area ripe for fresh story creation and would have a greater story function as it would detail events that take place after ‘Oblivion’, immediately before and during ‘Skyrim’. Events such as the Great War, the killing of Skyrim’s king in a duel and the rise of the Stormcloaks can be explored and enriched.
A brief dip into the ‘Skyrim’ storyworld led to the following suggestions;
- Official city guides for Dawnstar, Winterhold, Markarth and other Skyrim cities.
- A web and TV series similar in style and production values to a show like ‘Game of Thrones’.
- Novels that explore the storyworld timeline and expand on historical events like civil wars, invasions and the lives of important characters – for example a story about ‘The Septim Bloodline’ would explore the Septim family’s impact on the world. An area that could provide interesting story content for novels is fan fiction. Other novels would detail a minor character’s life and expand it. This could be done with Finn the Troll Slayer, a character quoted in the user manual.
- Comics could provide another outlet for selected fan fiction; real game walkthroughs and experiences as seen through the eyes of Skyrim’s different species – for example a comic about how an Orc player became an assassin for the Dark Brotherhood.
- Events that take place in the real world. How about a stage show telling the story of the origins of the Elves, including music, dancing and combat? The show would tour music festivals where audiences would be encouraged to wear character costumes.
- Events similar to a treasure hunt where game artifacts such as ruined books, dragon teeth and gems, are hidden in real world locations. Each contains a story fragment and when pieced together by the participating community they tell the story of a new character and provide access to new game DLC.
- Another way of blending real and game worlds together could involve a geo-location app that super-imposes or layers the Skyrim map over a real world country to create a parallel universe scenario. A local real world landmark like a train station would double up as an Orc stronghold.
- And finally, ‘The Elder Scrolls’ movie franchise which could run and run!
As you can see, endless story content springs naturally and organically from a superbly crafted, detailed, and realised storyworld.
If you have any of your own transmedia adaptions please post them.