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Rewriting is such sweet sorrow.

So I'm back to work on this game full-time (with full-time defined as "some time every day, ranging from 5 minutes to 3 hours depending on where I can find it" - Ed.), and two daunting tasks stand before me.

1. Pruning the plot tree
This became a particularly acute problem when I replayed the "2/3rds complete alpha version" of The Third World and had no clue where things were headed at times. While I love a complicated plot, I was in danger of making Chrono Cross look like Spot's First Christmas with the amount of intellectual kudzu I was generating. Though a lot of it was interesting, it was also needlessly confusing and convoluted.

So, out come the clippers. Snip, snip, snip.

This is not to say that the plot as it stands now - which is still in line with my original notes to this game (that isn't saying much, considering that said notes are three sheets of scribbled notepaper assembled during a flight - Ed.) - is going to be overly simplistic. There are still depths to be uncovered, plot twists that (hopefully) aren't telegraphically obvious, and characters whose allegiances and motives remain enigmatic for quite a while. However, I do believe that the current version manages to strike a better balance in terms of toning down what one astute reviewer termed "the WTF? gradient". ^_^

2. Reworking the introduction.

The original introduction to The Third World threw the player into the action, in medias res, and gradually allowed things to unfold via exploration and NPC infodumps conversations. However, replaying this sequence left me with a feeling that the entire progression was artificial - there was too much of a "flash! you've gone to a new place!" factor.

The new introduction, which provides some backstory sequences that will eventually tie in to the main plot, is also more interactive and makes the game's initial protagonist more silent, instead of having him come up with "Hollywood one-liners" ("You need to be taught a lesson!", "All lip and no action!") that make him sound bland and stereotyped.

And with these few words, I am back to work. It's time to rework the first dungeon, which really was just a sequence of cryptic quotes and weird maps in the original, and looked embarrassingly like "Middens for Dummies" - and make it more of a world to explore.

Wish me luck!
Q.