Sep 10 | Author: Roger Erik Tinch
Video games, like films, always starts with story. Or at least the games that get it right. A Penny Arcade Expo 2009 panel, entitled “Media is the Massage,” hoped to address this notion with an all-star team consisting of Denis Dyack (President, Silicon Knights), Joseph Staten (Bungie, Creative Director), Tim Schafer (Founder, Double Fine), Greg Zeschuk (Group Creative Officer, RPG/MMO Group of EA and Co-Founder, BioWare) and moderator Adam Sessler (Editor-In-Chief, G4). My quick and dirty notes after the jump.
- Video games did not originally start with story, look at Pong
- Environment tells story which feeds the player’s own story
- Successful games create a really interesting sandbox for you to tell your own story
- HALO tells story through it’s universe and your context within it, which has given the game more headroom to expand the universe in subsequent sequels
- Some stories are a better fit for certain types of games, like first player shooter, platformer, real-time strategy, etc.
- Engagement is the decision-making a player must make
- Immersion can be broken by anything, poor music, acting, design, etc.
- Cut scenes are an effective way of giving context, creating tension and developing characters
- Most of the time cut scenes have less to do with immersion and more to do with pacing, giving players a chance to breathe
- The challenge of writing a game is that it has to appeal to as many people as possible
- It’s about creating interesting relationships, not totally about character
- Don’t always have the player work to get the story, offer it as a reward
- Another big challenge with game writing is reminding people where they’re at in the story if they haven’t played for a long time