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Portfolio: Blood Runs Deep, RuneScape quest

Released December 2009: ‘Official’ wikiFan wiki

My credit: ‘Content Developer’ – quest design, writing, script implementation, cutscene scripting, etc.

In the unlikely event that you ever plan to play it (and unfortunately it’s dozens if not hundreds of hours into RuneScape) please note that there are spoilers after the fold.

This video has high picture quality and makes several good observations about the quest, although it’s a walkthrough motivated by getting through quickly and the player skips over most dialogue.

Blood Runs Deep was my second quest for RuneScape, and my last as writer/designer before changing project and role. It’s a direct sequel to Glorious Memories and ties up most of the loose ends from other Fremennik quests that went before me.

Highlights for me

Unfortunately, since I first wrote these notes six years after release (and another six have passed since), there’s a lot about the gameplay in particular that I don’t remember well.

I’m generally happy with the theme and narrative; the request was for an epic viking war tale, and within the confines of RuneScape it delivers that. It also delivers quirky RS humour and pop culture references, again in-keeping with the aims.

For a RuneScape (especially at the time), BRD offers an unusual degree of emotional investment and depth. Frequent dialogue choices allow the player to customise the avatar’s motivations and influence the tone of the quest even when they don’t significantly branch the narrative. BRD even allows the player to marry and forces them to deal with their spouse’s death, and years on players still remark about the poignancy of the funeral in the final cutscene. (I had fun implementing those cutscenes; it was shortly after we were given new smooth camera controls, but later on a whole new artist-only cutscene tool was introduced and content developers couldn’t make them any more.)

BRD makes good use of recurring characters, reinforcing its continuity with the rest of its series, allowing more advanced character development, and keeping art budgets down.

In Hindsight

I don’t know why I thought it would be a good idea to put an escort quest with a slowed NPC into a game that already has relatively tedious movement. If you’ve experienced that section I can only apologise.

The pacing could do with some work. I was determined not to make the avatar walk too far, but providing direct teleports as frequently as I did makes the timeline feel quite disjointed. It helps if the player takes the intended time to mull over the dialogue, but many don’t.

Modern coverage shows up a few other minor issues that might have been there at the time (I don’t remember).

Name of author

Name: Matthew