Monday, March 24, 2008

...and again (story in games)

Will it ever go away -- this silly assumption that the interactive storytelling should aspire to mimic linear models and methods? (referring to the Gamasutra articles that those blogs point to)

There are definitely multiple ways of including writing in games that make sense. Mass Effect and Final Fantasy are games driven by linear, dev-defined narratives, and have admirably pleased many gamers. But games like that represent a blending of mediums, and are really more film than game... just as those "choose your own adventure" books are a mixture of novel and game.

Blends like that are fine, but it saddens me that they are commonly considered the epitome of storytelling in games. It saddens me because games are fundamentally about interaction, and the influence of players on those stories is minimal. What effects players do have are limited to immediate dialogue, and have no bearing on the gameworld or the player's future experiences. And, perhaps more importantly, stories are hardly individual/personal.

The greatest strengths of this medium are its malleability and potential for personal relevance!

As I've said before, the works of Will Wright and Peter Molyneux are better models for the future of storytelling in games. Storytelling in games like SimCity, The Sims 2, Black & White, and Fable strives towards three major goals: (1) the player directs the story, (2) story is largely comprised of responses to unpredictable, emergent events, and (3) the game provides the setting via visual, auditory, and moral (value) feedback.

Anyway, I go into much more depth in this old (long) post.


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