Lamplight City Narrative Commentary, Part 11: Bohemian attitudes

This is a series of spoiler-free (or -lite) transcripts from my portion of the Lamplight City developer commentary, which includes behind-the-scenes insights and anecdotes about the story writing and editing process. Start with Part 1.

His line of work takes him all places.

One of the things that sets Miles apart is what you might call his rather bohemian attitudes. He’s much more tolerant and open-minded than his police colleagues, certainly, and probably most of his fellow citizens as well.

All of the people we see him cultivate relationships with — Connie, Bill, his wife Addy — have some kind of marginalized or diminished status in society, whether due to gender, race, or sexual orientation. Miles espouses what we can recognize as much more modern attitudes and simply takes them as they are, seeing the value in them that others overlook.

Aside from just making him a decent and sympathetic human being, with values presumably more in line with the player’s, this positions him as something of an underdog as he struggles to secure justice for various disadvantaged clients who are generally beneath the concern of the authorities. As a disgraced former officer on a downward slide, Miles is often the last hope for these hard-luck cases, the only person who’s interested.

As we put Miles in these situations and worked out his belief system, I found myself thinking often of Sherlock Holmes, another fictional detective with a bohemian bent. Unlike the prim and proper Watson, a consummate Victorian bourgeois gentleman, Holmes was an eccentric largely unconcerned with matters of social propriety. Sympathetic to the marginalized and dispossessed, he frequently bent the rules and aided or excused lawbreakers according to his own conscience and personal sense of justice, rather than cleaving to authority and the letter of the law. Miles is sometimes afforded a similar choice, for instance in the fate of the gardener in the resolution to the first case.

That freethinking regard for human dignity, along with a certain fondness for chemical substances, are characteristics that our own detective shares with his literary predecessor.

That’s it for the spoiler-free commentary series! Coming up next: the full-spoiler followup. If you haven’t played the game yet, now’s your chance to catch up. Thanks for reading!

Back to Part 1

Narrative designer & editor. Founder, Paperback Studio. http://jesshaskins.com | http://paperback-studio.com