Story & Characters: A Canon RWBY Adventure
Hello, and thank you to everyone patiently awaiting the release of RWBY: Arrowfell!
WayForward director and designer James Montagna here. Last time, I took the opportunity to speak a bit about the excitement both myself and the rest of the hard-working development staff share about creating a new RWBY game. Like any development, the process is rife with unique challenges…but we’ve been having a lot of fun developing the game too! I’d say there’s no place this juxtaposition of challenge and fun is more apparent than working out the game’s narrative. Let’s talk about that!
Early on in discussions with the creators of the series, it was decided that the most impactful RWBY game experience we could provide together would be one that fits in with the series itself. That is, a story that would be entirely canon to that of the show, true to the moment in the timeline it is presented, and authentic in its tonality. The result is something that almost feels like a lost episode of the show that just happens to be in the form of a game. To drive this sense home, a collaboration was organized with the show’s animation team who produced cinematic scenes to be interwoven into the game experience. These sequences will punctuate some of the key story moments, which players can enjoy presented in the familiar stylings of the show.
Regarding the connection to the series, RWBY: Arrowfell takes place at a specific time period during the course of Volume 7. If you’re familiar enough with the show, you likely know that throughout the course of the story, the cast of characters and the roles they play take many twists and turns. For the sake of being certain our game remains truly canonical, we had to take special care to make sure that Ruby, Weiss, Blake, and Yang address those character relationships in the manner that they would at the time in which our story takes place. For instance, everything to do with Atlas Academy, General Ironwood, the Ace-Ops, etc. is exactly as you’d expect it to be upon Team RWBY first becoming licensed Huntresses!
While carefully working within the canonical constraints can be a challenge, one of the most fun parts of telling this game’s story is that of writing character dialogue. For me personally, this consisted of watching many episodes over and over again until I could get a sense of the characters’ voices firmly imprinted inside my head. Then comes the amusing, very specific questions! How might a character like Maria Calavera address Team RWBY? What would Uncle Qrow say in retaliation to Ruby choosing to withhold an item? Once I know the cast as well as an old friend, writing these moments and more just becomes an act of role playing out the scene and letting the characters have a conversation in my mind. After transcribing all of that into the script, as a last step to make sure things are as authentic as possible, the dialogue is then shared with Rooster Teeth for any additional suggestions or feedback.
Just like in any singular episode of the show, not every character happens to make an appearance. However, I hope you’ll look forward to seeing which ones do. On that note, you can also look forward to meeting some entirely new characters, including the enigmatic Team BRIR. In cases like this, we had to get to know these characters without being able to lean on something established by the show. Like other aspects of development, determining the personality and voice of a character from scratch was a unique challenge in itself…also fun! Next time, I’ll tell you a little more about it, as well as what goes into developing the game’s quest structure. See ya!