Storytelling in Video Games: Tools Create Rules

In early 2013, Ken Levine, the creative director for Irrational Games’ Bioshock Infinite, hosted an “Ask Me Anything” session (AMA) on In one of his responses, Levine explained “some of the basic things to making a game” that he learned since his first release. In regards to stories in single-player games, Levine briefly stated, “make sure the story suits the storytelling tools you have.”

The comment seems like a simple, obvious piece of gaming common sense that instinctively slipped into his fingers while he was typing. The statement is, in fact, a powerful, demanding piece of advice. It presents an issue that modern triple-A developers have clearly tried to avoid, and highlights some of the problems with game storytelling that have emerged as a result.

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