• Artist Project

How to Design Meaningful Video Game Characters

A Game of Legends

Sep 27, 2022
by Bronson Jacque

This is the second chapter in a series where Nunatsiavummiuk artist and IAQ Contributing Editor Bronson Jacque delves into the world of video game development in his quest to bring Inuit stories to life in a digital world. 

Videos games are a modern form of storytelling. The process of developing video game characters involves many of the same aspects of writing characters for a novel. What story do you want to tell and what experiences do you want your players to have? These questions need to be asked and worked through in order to give purpose to characters and the eventual events they go through. It also includes creating their backstory, motivations, connections with others and their role in the world you’ve made. Three important aspects to consider is the influence of their society and social life, their experiences and their innate attributes. [1]

Bronson Jacque Character Concept Art (detail) (2022)© the artist
We are greatly shaped by the environment we are raised in as well as the community we live in, so how will that affect your character’s development? When playing through, I want you to feel immersed in the stories, to feel the atmosphere and warmth of our communities, as well as what makes our culture so special and unique. The game I’m working on, currently titled A Game of Legends, is based in my home of Nunatsiavut. Drawing from my experience growing up in and my relationship with the communities has enabled me to understand the social influences that my game characters will be shaped by: the remote and isolated towns, the struggles and hardships, as well as the humble joys and intimacy of our lands. I’m sharing a part of me, as well as those I know and love though each of the characters you’ll meet. Every moment that shaped me, every person who I grew up with and raised me will influence the way I tell these stories.

Bronson Jacque Character Concept Art (detail) (2022)© the artist
If you would like to make your own game, I would encourage you to start with where and what you know. If you want to create a completely new world or a fictional land, I suggest you first create a reference board so that you can work through the atmosphere you want to portray. Research the origins of your inspirations so that you can go deeper and understand exactly what it is you like about the reference material. Make sure you don’t appropriate other cultures or misrepresent anything by speeding over the research stage. Think about how you may feel uncomfortable when viewing media about your culture or community that is created by an outside entity. Many misconceptions, stereotypes and biases towards Indigenous communities stem from misinformation or lack of information in general. If people outside of our communities have access to immersive experiences that inform them of our realities, we can combat the sense of otherness and disconnection. If we can just show people that we are not so different from one another, we can begin to bridge the gaps of inequality and start actually approaching reparations. 

Bronson Jacque Character Concept Art (detail) (2022)© the artist
Your characters will also be shaped by the things they experience. Create characters according to the events and circumstances of the world you’re building. Understand the world you’re writing from and how people react and deal with their experiences. Hoping to represent my home of Nunatsiavut authentically, I knew I would draw from my personal experiences. However, I also needed to step away from my own perspectives and incorporate the experiences of other Inuit in our region. The first thing I learned was the average age of Inuit in Inuit Nunangat was 23 [2]. I designed my protagonists to be around that age. Another aspect that influenced their design was our pre-colonial LGBTQ2+ positive culture. I want my game to be LGBTQ2+ positive, so I have made three characters to choose from: a female, male and a non-binary person. Considering the current cultural landscape in Nunatsiavut, I wanted to combat any bigotry that exists because of colonization. Relationships between the characters will be as described by Elders of life pre-colonization. I also have a mixture of traditional and modern clothing, technologies and tools. It is important to portray an accurate representation of our lifestyle currently. 

Bronson Jacque Character Concept Art (detail) (2022)© the artist
You also need to consider their innate characteristics, the things that make a character unique. What stands out about your character? Decide what their positive traits are, as well as their flaws. Do they love and care for certain things and, inversely, what evokes fear or anxiety in them? In the development of my characters for A Game of Legends, the implementation of this advice begins by listening to stories told by Inuit and respecting the specifics of these legends. Without absorbing oral storytelling, these characters would be disingenuous. I wanted to dive deep into the traditional tales and represent them as accurately as possible. In the stories we grew up with and were raised by, the characters in the legends were our friends or creatures of our nightmares. These legends that our relatives, friends and elders shared with us kept us safe, guided our relationships with others and the respect of the land around us. These stories tell us who we are.

–Bronson Jacque is a painter from Postville, Nunatsiavut, NL, recognized for his highly detailed portraits in oil. Jacque began pursuing art seriously at age 16, and is proud to be part of Labrador’s art scene, alongside his artistic family. Jacque’s work has been featured in numerous publications including Nunatsiaq News, the CBC and the Inuit Art Quarterly.


1. Frieacre, Kim. “The 3 Pillars of Writing Great Characters.” Acres of Ink Book Editing, 19 Apr. 2021, https://acresofink.com/2019/09/17/the-3-pillars-of-writing-great-characters/. 

2. International Institute for Sustainable Development. “Youth Perspectives on Housing in Inuit Nunangat.” Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, 2016, https://www.itk.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Youth-Perspectives-on-Housing.pdf.


Follow along on the journey towards A Game of Legends:

Chapter 1: Introduction


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