How Important Is Storytelling In Games?

NowGamer: NowGamer speaks to top industry gurus, from Dan Houser, to David Cage to find out...

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Mmmkay3819d ago

story means nothing! all we want is run and gun multi-player! /s

raztad3819d ago

Actually that is true for million of gamers.

thereapersson3819d ago (Edited 3819d ago )

In fact just the other day, I was arguing with someone who thought that it didn't matter that ActiBlizzard split up the campaign of Starcraft II into three separate games in order to eke more cash out of consumers, because he says it's all about the multiplayer anyway.

A great single-player experience is becoming a lost art these days. Thankfully we still have developers like Valve (Half-Life), Sony Santa Monica (God of War series) and Naughty Dog (Jak & Daxter; Uncharted) who are willing to invest heavy resources into making a great single-player gaming experience.

@ Below

Yeah, BioShock is one of the best experiences this generation. I'm glad they didn't cater to the multiplayer generation with the first title, choosing instead to build a cohesive single-player storyline and atmosphere.

ER-AM3819d ago

Valve does not create good stories for their games, especially Half Life. The scenario for Half life is good, but the story? The story is aliens invade, you go to different places and kill them. I'm not saying there isn't good writing in Half Life, or in God of War for that matter, but there is a difference between good writing and good storytelling. God of War has a good concept, but the story is little more than revenge tale.

I'm not saying they are bad games, I'm saying that the storytelling in these games isn't as good as people think and until the level of storytelling in games is raised, the level of games will never be raised either.

Darkstorn3819d ago


You have a point. However, I would go further in calling for more games to have general artistic merit. For example, Uncharted 2 was fun and all, but the story still isn't existential or political. I suppose to get my 'deep story' fix I'll have to replay the Metal Gear Solid games and traipse through Bioshock again.

When more games begin to tackle contemporary issues, I think we'll see the medium gain more respect from older generations. That's not a bad thing at all, especially since in the political arena there is a common misconception that all games consist of shooting terrorists in the face for hours on end. When the stories in our games mature, so will the medium.

Thrillhouse3819d ago

Run and gun is fun at times, but personally, I think Bioshock has told the best story this generation. How I love that game (and the sequel :) )

Inside_out3819d ago (Edited 3819d ago )

Game play and storytelling are all part and parcel of the same thing. If one aspect is lacking it's very noticeable.

If you had to choose one, gameplay wins every time. That is why I game. The story ties it all together but recently, alot of games have become more of a visual medium. Look at UC 2 for example. UC 1 had 80 ( ND numbers ) pre-rendered cine's. UC 2 had 564...that is way to many and alot of them were very long. A GOOD video game will tell the story through game play. Bioshock 1 shows that perfectly. Half life 2 is another example.

Unfortunately, developers want to move in the UC way of things, garbage gameplay with a Hollywood story. Interestingly, the Xbox 360, because of DVD space restrictions, has to focus on game play more and that has lead to some great innovations. MW2, Splinter cell conviction, AW, Mass Effect and the next big thing Halo reach. Aw for example, uses 2.5 gb of storage for ALL the game play in the game, which is over 12 hrs long.

" Necessity is the mother of all invention "...indeed.

HolyOrangeCows3819d ago (Edited 3819d ago )

Keep up your anti-Uncharted 2 (GOTY 2009)/Killzone 2/GT5 tantrum. They're all still amazing games no matter how many tears you shed. Go back under your bridge.

WLPowell3819d ago (Edited 3819d ago )

So Uncharted 2 sucks but a game plagued with bugs and cheating and a Micheal Bay approach to storytelling (Modern Warfail 2, "plot holes? Noone in my audience will notice if you just throw in explosions, lots of explosions, oh and a pro-american military fetish!"), overhyped garbage that couldn't deliver (Conviction and Alan Wait), and dialogue trees with crappy shooter mechanics and facial/character animations, now with less reason to continue playing, ie:RPG-ness (Mass Effect 2) is the way to go? And your saying we should look at "the next big thing Halo Reach". A series that hasn't done anything new in the shooter genre but built it's identity of just borrowing ideas from everyone else, still hasn't balanced the weapons, still introducing weapons noone cares to use, still has some of the most retarded levels designed for multiplayer (you wonder why halo fans go mental when they see bloodgulch? because a simple box-canyon with just two bases and a bunch of hills and a cave or two is still better level design than anything bungie has thought up thus far) It's only reason for success is because the hardware's fanbase started on it and is afraid to move on to better games. Sorry Uncharted 2, with or without "teh sales" is still the best overall game this generation, and it wouldn't have been Uncharted 2 if you remove Blu-Ray and the Cell. More games should strive to be like it. More gamers should strive to not think like you.

Immortal3213819d ago

my games needs a story. A good story in games can separate the kids from the mature.(not talking age)

the bad thing about todays society is that, we have grown kids of the ages of 21-27 still believe they're 17 or 18, going out to parties, going clubing, leaving kids with baby sitters.

what does that have to do with gaming? simple it's the intellect. if they want to have fun all the time, what makes them want a good story.

ChickeyCantor3819d ago

"what does that have to do with gaming? simple it's the intellect. if they want to have fun all the time, what makes them want a good story."

That was such rubbish.

See I play games because they kill time while I have FUN.
I understand the fundamentals of stories in games, but why the hell do I need a story for Mario? Or Tetris?

You act as if there is no meaning to a game unless there is a story.
Fun can also be found by reading a book, or playing a game with story.

You are pretty short-sighted on this, it sure is the intellect.

Immortal3213819d ago (Edited 3819d ago )

there is no meaning to a game unless there is a story.

keyword story

a good story can be fun

keyword fun

without a good story the game is not fun

keywords not, fun

without a story, whats the point on sequels?

and there is a story to mario, matter of fact the story of mario makes it such a classic.

and for tetris, all it is, are falling blocks, and I bet you don't play that game on a regular daily basis.

+ Show (2) more repliesLast reply 3819d ago
Xof3819d ago

What do all of the top-tier, "classic" games of the 1990s, the games that many gamers feel epitomize the industry, have in common?

Good writing.

Gue13819d ago (Edited 3819d ago )

I think you meant good gameplay? Beside rpg's like FFVI or "point and click" kind of games like Snatcher what else had a good story?

How old are you and from what planet or era you come from

hatchimatchi3819d ago

Are you insane?

Besides posting one of the dumbest comments I've ever seen I think you're the last person who should be asking how old someone is and what planet they're from.

Let me name a few games from the Snatcher and FFVI era that had a great story and writing.

Zelda: A Link to the Past
Mario RPG: Legend of the 7 stars
Shining Force
Phantasy Star
Sam & Max Hit the Road
Full Throttle
The Monkey Island Series
The Adventures of Willy Beamish

I could go all day.

You really need to do some research on classic games before you go spouting off like that. If you think the majority of the stories told in games these days are better than those of the 16-bit era you are sorely mistaken.

Game-ur3819d ago (Edited 3819d ago )

There was a time the only games that had good stories were JRPGs and point and click adventure games. Then came the climatic platformers like Out of this World and Flashback.

I think MGS1 had a big role in advancing the role of stories in games, and while the initiative came from Japan in the past, in recent years western devs made strides with embedded storytelling, which makes you part of the story during the whole game, the likes of Halo(cinematic set pieces and huge alien backdrops), God of War(action sequences, camera angles and narrative) Heavenly Sword(character performance), Bioshok(immersion and suspense)

I also want to give a special mention to a forgotten gem called Eternal Darkness.

Darkstorn3819d ago

Metal Gear Solid advanced the role of stories in games by taking on contemporary issues and creating characters who you care about. I hardly think that "huge alien backdrops" and "action sequences" contribute to how compelling or deep a story can be.

Game-ur3819d ago (Edited 3819d ago )


It's not just about the subject of the story or the plot; it's also about how the story is told thru the game.
MGS1 wasn’t just a good story, but it was also told in great style and you didn’t feel there was a separation between game play and storytelling. At that time the standard was game play- cutscene, cutscene -game play. But from the start of the game when your over the cell a scene a story scene occurs but you were still in control, and there are many things like this the whole game, from psycho mantis to the final escape scene.

And the backgrounds in Halo did an important job in conveying the story, in books many pages get dedicated to describing the setting, but here all you had to do was look and behold.

In GOW the action sequences mad you feel the brutality and the epicenes of the game from trying to escape the Hydras jaw to dragging yourself from Hades, there were also amazing but subtle things, like walking on bridge to Athena's statue, then using the same bridge as sword to fight Aries after becoming a giant, don’t tell me that’s not amazing.

As for the depth of the story itself you need to have a sophisticated director and Kojimas are a rare breed, another problem is that publishers don’t think gamers can handle deep stories. Maybe Atlus are an exception, the MegaTen games keep telling mature and deep stories.

Ill finish with giving another special mention to a game that had almost no dialog, but one of the best stories…Shadow of the Colossus.

JonnyBadfinger3819d ago

I can think of 1 game which even todays games fail in comparison...

Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Most amazing game i have ever played, no game has come close to achieving the same level of story and gameplay quality as this game did.

Dont anyone dare say that Zelda Majoras Mask was better... because your just wrong.

T9X693819d ago

No, but I'll say Link To The Past was better.

SpinalRemains1383819d ago

on the game of course. I find myself having a hard time getting through FF13 due to all the long ass scenes and cinematics that are so convoluted and melodramatic that they make Pee Wee Herman seem boring. Some games do not need a long drawn out story, when all the gamer wants to do is play a dam game.
*Less movie, more gamey!

Colonel-Killzone3819d ago

Depends on the game itself and the pace of the story also.

Alos883819d ago (Edited 3819d ago )

Depends on the game.
Edit: lol, somebody beat me to it!

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