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Telling Stories: Improving Story Telling In Games

As people progress through generation after generation of gaming history, they see a more prominent role for stories in their games. No question, some games require no story, especially those of an online nature. That does not mean that stories have no place in the genre. It's actually quite the opposite. The more realised a game world becomes through technology and interaction, the more grounding and context a player needs.

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ShadoWulf3366d ago

This is something I've been thinking for a while. All of his examples are pretty good. Metroid Prime has a very lame story on the surface, but scans, lores, and visual storytelling really make it cool. I haven't actually played the other games, so I'm not sure I can talk about them as much.

As for his two types of storytelling, I think the perfect medium is right in the middle in the form of a more "playable cutscene". Instead of having the player stop and watch as something happens, have them be able to still move around and react. If there are two giant fighting robots in front of you, don't stop the game and zoom in on them as an intro, just let the player see them through the eyes of the character, or ignore them if he chooses. As hardware progresses, this will be more possible. I personally prefer cutscenes to textbox dialogue- I'm very big on cinematic storytelling in games. For me, the closer to an interactive movie the better. That's where my aforementioned 'interactive cutscene' comes in- in movies, the character reacts in real-time, not afterward.

Anyways, power to the story. I love stories in games, and games without them simply don't have much appeal to me. As an aspiring author, I love plot twists and deep characters. I especially liked his idea of an untrustworthy narrator. Very nice. I certainly hope publishers take his suggestions to heart. Or at least read them.
Bah, neither will probably happen.

Beren3366d ago

I love good storylines, sometimes they get me sad, or angry, pushing me forward to keep playing :D . But the last games i have played have a boring, or no storyline at all.. i wish that the old good times of storyline gets back.

allforcalisto3366d ago

just to add i think a good idea is to have cutscenes happen when a character/the player is at a point of introspection.
So for example you've just learned that you have a turmour in the game and you will die. If the character/you had a decent level of characterization then your response to hearing this news would have to be good, it would need to be convincing.

Seeing a montages of different things the character/you do at certain points in game i think is a good idea. So if devs wanted to establish a routine a group of people had, or different things lovers did during their relationship, this is a good device.

when 9/11 happened people were literally paralyzed, tranfixed by the immensity of the atrocity. Devs who hate cutscenes would fail to capture how powerful a scene of something like this would be. But obviously As the buildings came down at that point you as a person in that situation would want to run; so in the game you'd start to run.

i'm really really really against the idea of the majority of adventure/rpg games going down the whole "let the player create his own story" route. Not until we've got advanced A.I. and insane programming can we create a belivable world which enabled us to enjoy "creating own our story".

A lot of time this way of creating games just seems like laziness on the devs part. There's no focus on characterization and the plot lacks weight. The entire universe feels very rigid; you're become very aware of the parameters of the game's universe when you see these dialog boxes. You become aware that you're controlling a dummy rather than a person.
Scripted events and npc dialogue needs to happen in story-driven games as they give the player motivation for doing things, and they enable the player to engage with the characters on a personal level. A mixture of these two approaches would work.

Interactive cutscenes is an awesome idea. I think even dramatic scenes i.e. your character crying, or having sex should be interactive.

lynx1halo3366d ago

I love how all gamers want a brilliant and involving story line that pulls you in...but in most cases once there is the story line there they complain about not enough play time..and I JUST WANNA SHOOT EM UP SOMETIMES LOL

RadientFlux3366d ago

Over the last two console generations... story telling has become more and more important for me. While I still enjoy a mindless killing romp the games I remember and go back to are more story driven games.

Right now it seems the gaming market is split in 2 directions. One path is for a more movie approach, while the other is going for a more graphical approach.