Let’s talk story.
As conceived, Arcade Spirits follows a pretty rigorous structure — a story divided into distinct arcs, each with their own themes and challenges. (MINOR spoilers ahead but really, nothing too critical.)
Episode 01 is our introduction. You take a job at the arcade, meet our core cast of characters, get equal opportunity to score relationship points with each of them. Everybody gets screen time. You have to solve a few problems, allowing for some complex crisis management moments, too.
Episodes 02, 03, and 04 are our “relationship building” arc. Each one focuses in on two of our six characters, and a particular area of arcade culture — auctions, conventions, tournaments. In each one, you also get a chance to spend time with a non-focus character. These are pretty structured episodes and follow a very tight focus.
Episode 05 is where your relationship truly starts, where you have a few last minute moments with the cast before you’re asked to pick someone and start dating them. Like all my love stories, I don’t roll credits right after confessing love… that’s not reality. Relationships are messy, they take work, they have to grow and evolve. Same here. That’s why the start of it is in the middle.
Episodes 06, 07, and the finale in 08 are part of a rivalry arc. No more character focus episodes; now it’s all hands on deck for dealing with a larger scale crisis than they’ve ever faced before. You and your new partner take it head-on, while you keep morale up with the others. (Relationship points outside your love interest aren’t wasted and will affect the ending!)
You know me — I looooves me some symmetry. Start, bam-bam-bam arc, transition, bam-bam-bam finale. Nicely mirrored. Although I’ll admit the bam-bam-bam finale, since I’m not vigorously focusing in on individual characters, is going to be more of a juggling act of nonlinear writing. I haven’t got all the details planned… but there’s time. And I’m going to do everything I can to deliver one hell of a tale.