We have always had the notion of Pararchive stories inhabiting a tapestry of connected tales – with characters, places, objects, institutions and times as their connective threads.
With the notion of serendipity at the core of our design philosophy, our hope was that these threads would allow new narrative patterns, paths and perspectives to emerge both organically and explicitly.
Lately I’ve started to think more about shared story universes as pioneered by Marvel’s Cinematic Universe. By crossing over common plots, settings and characters, Marvel has essentially created a library of components for its filmmakers and writers. A library from which creators can remix new productions; imagine if we had Marvel as an archive partner! Though the most current example – and one that others are seeking to emulate – LucasFilm’s Star Wars universe has employed a story continuity manager for fourteen years.
Interestingly, USC’s Cinematic Arts school has been thinking more broadly about the future of narrative media and is now teaching methodologies for world-building at their 5D Institute. The institute’s work was covered in a recent article – How World-Building will shape the future of media and business. The piece is full of quotes that validate the design and narrative philosophies we’ve developed for Pararchive…
“…that can work across platforms and exist for years; projects that aren’t driven by a single script, but by a coherent logic derived from the work of multiple creators working in a space“
“With a few simple concepts, a lot of complexity can be generated… Because it’s collaborative, people are always adding new pieces. They might not be completely coordinated with what other people are building, but that’s okay, because in the real world, you don’t have a unified vision for a city. So the idea is to replicate that level of complexity in how we build the world.”
“Artifacts took the form of newspaper articles, jewelry, classified ads, animal sounds, anthems, and graphics—all defining some aspect of culture.”
“…setting a few parameters, people, places, and themes together with backstory and a collective work group as a game can create some very compelling ideas.”
“…a growing movement away from silo or single discipline-based storytelling and problem solving to those involving more communal, interactive, and interdisciplinary approaches”
It’s gratifying to see that we’re crafting an experience that can accommodate much of the ideas and notions that 5D world-builders are exploring. I’d be as bold as to suggest that we’re also close to the state of the art in narrative architectures and that 5D might benefit from having Pararchive in their world-builders’ toolkits.