Scott Miller (Apogee, 3D Realms) discusses the essay by Bob Gates: “Into the Woods: A Practical Guide to the Hero’s Journey”. The essay takes a look at a common formula for story in mythology, books, movies, and game design. There’s a terrific reader discussion about the merits of forumlas in games; both sides present some very compelling arguments. It’s worth the read, whether you want to follow the formula or break the rules. You can’t break the rules if you don’t know what they are.
Even if you ignore the controversy, it still serves as an enormous source for ideas and inspiration. On my first read through, all kinds of ideas jumped into my head. I’ll revisit this article when I’m ready to start fleshing out the storyline of my game (…must…resist…moving…too…fast). I have a ton of work to do before I’m ready to work out the gory details, but resources like this just keep me chomping at the bit to move forward.
NOTE: The essay also appears on Gamasutra.