Tuesday, June 24, 2008

out-of-game storytelling

EA Redwood Shores recently posted a fourth webcomic in anticipation of their game, Dead Space. I wonder how well this works -- relaying much of a game's story through external media -- and what spins might be made on the idea.

For one thing, I think it's possible to perform nearly all of a game's storytelling outside the game and still have it be integral to the game experience. Playing games based on IPs like LOTR and Star Wars, we don't need any in-game story to be immersed in the setting. If there hadn't been a scrap of dialogue in Star Wars: Galaxies, I still would have been framing my experiences within the Galactic Civil War and other story elements from the films.

A span of three full, top-quality films certainly added depth to those IPs that no simple webcomic is likely to add, but the main question seems to be how to attract a large number of gamers to the out-game story at all. EA's webcomics will probably enhance my Dead Space game experience, but I doubt even half of Dead Space fans will watch those comics (which is probably the main reason the comics are only a prelude to the game's full and self-contained story).

How might attention be drawn to external storytelling methods like this?

I'd like to write more about this, but I'm a bit distracted at the moment. I might come back and edit this article.

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