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Entry #2

Sept. 24

Christopher Null, Screenwriter

"The play's the thing..."

My involvement with AMEN began well over a year ago, back in the days when the game didn't even really have a name. What originally attracted me to the AMEN project (and still keeps me in thrall) was its fantastic scope. Greg MacMartin and John Cutter spoke of some pretty impressive goals.

As a writer, the very fact that they want to make a game with a story was unique enough. I'd played many of the current crop of first-person shooters, but I found that simply mowing down the endless hordes of bad guys got old, fast. I believed, as does the rest of the team, that if games had an original premise and a real plot that developed over time, they would have been a lot more fun and rewarding. We are talking about a month of someone's life invested in a game, after all.

In mid-1997, Greg and I began the task of taking Greg's basic story-line summary (which he had been developing over the previous six months) and developing it into a plot line that would entertain a gamer for up to 80 hours of playing time.

It's not an easy task. My background is in writing screenplays for motion pictures. Traditionally, a Hollywood movie has three acts. Sci-fi epics like Star Wars often have seven acts. Amen: The Awakening, as it is widely known, has *12* acts. Each act stands on its own, has its ups and downs, has its victories and setbacks, and propels the player into new ground at each turn. It truly is an epic adventure, the likes of which the gaming world hasn't really seen before.

After building the story outline, my next job was to write the screenplay for the cut scenes, which went through eight drafts over nine months. Now, the cut scenes are in the hands of the graphic artists and the dialogue recorders, and my job has moved to the arduous task of translating the story into 100 or so pages of in-game dialogue and interaction between the main character, his bosses, his advisors and the enemy. All of the game's characters are three-dimensional personalities, each with strengths and weaknesses...each with his own secrets.

When all of this collides into a finale that rivals any game I've ever played, I'm betting the player will want to roll the game back to the beginning, and play it through again.