Saturday, 28 March 2009

Week 8: The trials of storytelling

Back for another week of blog work, this week discussing storylines and their importance to games.
In the case of this game the storyline happens to the player, forcing them along a set path created by the designers. Despite the greatly praised storyline Max Payne 2 didn’t sell very well. Max Payne was hailed as a great game and won many awards due to its artwork and storylines. So in this instance it is considered a good game, where as due to its lack of sales it’s considered a drop out. The result of this is that the game is a good game but for a select audience only. This is the problem with story led games as it is difficult to target a large audience.
In this interview it is argued that the storyline of the game is less important than the emotive connection the player makes with the characters. To this end David Freeman believes that writers should be part of the whole development of the game. Which is a good plan as emotive play is gained through actions more than words. For example if you where to spend several hours of play protecting an NPC you would be rather upset where they to die. The other major point in this article is the war between complete personalised storylines and developer led storylines. The two extremes can be represented by the Sims, and halo: combat evolved. Games such as bio shock try to incorporate both personalised storyline and developer led storylines. They do this by having set “paths” which lead to alternate endings. These games are usually less successful.

So in conclusion, Storylines are an important part of game play, but more important still is the emotive connections to the game the player makes. This is what draws the player back to the game and makes them want to play. This is immersion. There are no games with out a story line, only games with “granules” of storyline that can be recombined in many ways.

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