Video Game Stories, A Discussion.

Discussion in 'Misc. and Multiplatform Games' started by Matt Mortem, Feb 28, 2013.

  1. Matt Mortem Karloff is King

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    I came across an article where Kirby creator Masahiro Sakurai discusses his thoughts on video games stories and a lot of what he said rang true to me.

    http://kotaku.com/5984189/kirbys-cr...-video-game-storytelling?tag=masahiro-sakurai

    It got my curious to find out what others think of video games and how their stories should be presented. I know some really enjoy the story heavy approach of Mass Effect, whereas others may be more into the simpler Mario style story. Where do you all stand on this topic?
     
  2. Victarion Iron Captain

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    I stand in the middle; I love something story heavy, even ridiculously convoluted like the Resident Evil franchise. I could get flak for saying this...but I really dug the backstory behind RE4 and wouldn't mind a sidegame from the perspective of a villager during the time period where Saddler showed up and brought Salazar under his power.

    That said, simpler games like the Spyro series (first 3) are imaginative enough with their worlds and have a simple enough story that any gamer with an imagination can fill in the gaps to create a solid story as they play the game.

    I would not, however, want to see stories abolished completely; I rarely come to videogames for the immersion that Sakurai is discussing. I want an intriguing story with great gameplay in between cutscenes and story bits.
     
  3. KevanG Pragmatic Villain

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    I'd hate to see story removed from gameplay. Most games I play are for the story. I enjoy the Fallout and Mass Effect series due to that.
     
  4. Piper Maru Guest

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    Silent Hill 2 had an amazing story that pulled me right into the game.
     
  5. TX85 Registered

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    I love cinematic heavy games But the're not as important to me as they are to many others,Gameplay experience will always be #1 to me
     
  6. Matt Mortem Karloff is King

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    I would like to see some of the bigger games pump the brakes on cutscenes. Games like Resident Evil were ideal in terms of presenting the story for me because cutscenes were sparse and you got to find out bits of the story through reading journals and documents and the occasional cut scene. I had Mass Effect 3 in my Wii U for an hour and a half and I think time spent actually playing the game was about 15-20 minutes. That is nonsense.
     
  7. ProjectPat2280 SELLING...PERFECTION

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    .

    Stories are important to the industry if it wants to grow. The medium can now be used for story tellers to truly showcase their talents because of the interactice nature of the medium. Its something that wasn't possible in the early portion of the industry. You can have games without story, games like Angry Birds and the like, but deeper, richer storytelling is the future of the industry.
     
  8. ProjectPat2280 SELLING...PERFECTION

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    No, nonsense is the fact you can't sit through a cutscene for 5 minutes because you just wanna get back to slapping buttons. We need more games like Mass Effect and Heavy Rain, not less. I agree that story should be presented in a more organic nature than the standard 'gameplay, cutscene, gameplay, cutscene' but removing narrative elements will only devalue the medium. Luckily this is something most industry heads realize. It's why presenters(like those during Sonys ps4 presser)spend time showing off just an image of an old mans face and highlighting the emotions they'll be able to show off this upcoming generation.
     
  9. CoolCadaver49 Not a Hero...

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    Ignoring the hyperbole... Well, have you played the other two? You might have enjoyed the story more that way. Mass Effect is a very story heavy series.

    And I would avoid saying that it's "nonsense". There are plenty of people that liked that game, and plenty of people that like story central games in general. If you don't, just play different games from them
     
  10. CoolCadaver49 Not a Hero...

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    In other words, this.
     
  11. Matt Mortem Karloff is King

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    I didn't play the other two which is why I stopped playing Mass Effect 2. I agree, there are different strokes for different folks in regards to video game stories.
     
  12. Iceman Daffy Duck Vs The Joker

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    I'm totally on the Mass Effect side of the ME Mario scale in terms of the story/dialogue/cut scene/presentation side of gaming. I want heavy story & even more importantly characters I care about. Probably why I tend to prefer 3rd person games so I can feel I'm playing the character rather than FPS where I don't get that connection.

    Doesn't mean I don't love Mario, but my favourite single player game will always be something like a Mass Effect.
     
  13. Solidus Knights of Ren

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    One of my favorite quotes is:

    "Stories in a video game is like stories in a porno, you can have one but it's really not needed."

    However I agree/disagree with that. I think too many games have focused too much on story. And 95% of the stories in the gaming world are just boring uninspired B-class stories. Some break through Mass Effect and KOTOR, MGS, Uncharted come to mind, and of course Bethesda games among others. However many games I find the stories to be so uninteresting I would rather get back to the "slapping buttons" which is the whole genesis of video games, and the core of it. Which I think a lot of the later generations of gamers are starting to forget. Nintendo games have nothing really for stories, but still some of the most fun gameplay out there, lot of Marios Metroid ect.

    Too much anymore I think things like COD worry so much about the story (it always ends up mediocre) by hiring David Goyer, tons of actors well known for voice acting ect. Rather than try to come up with new gameplay ideas, ect. Too many games lean on such poorly written scripts/stories.

    I think games have the potential to tell stories that are much more evolved past what current mediums can do with it. But I think right now they are just trying to do stories too much like they do in film. What games can do that other things can't is immerse you to an unbelievable level into the environment. Games like Half-Life/Skyrim come to mind. Where the atmosphere and world is so unbelievable and pulls you in it does transport you in a sense. However I think that devs have only come a little way with that. That is the first step to create very interactive worlds that really feel like you are a part of them. But I think devs have further to go to push stories in this medium. I think some radical new ways of thinking need to be done in terms of stories that have not been implemented yet.

    I think for the most part the way devs are doing it are just two dimensional in a sense. The way they write these stories are too close to how you would with a film/books. Video games have such a unique medium and the ability to have you interact/mold the world a different type of story telling methods need to be implemented and merged with the environment world and gameplay most importantly of all. Too much is gameplay sacrificed so it can fit into a mold of a story they want to tell, making games more linear/on-a-rail.

    Design in gameplay is being sacraficed for story, making bosses easy "regular guys" because they want to keep with the realism. Instead of the old Doom days where there was a massive boss that was hard to kill. Be creative have regular guys but make it more of a puzzle to figure out how to kill them with different weapons ect rather then shoot, or in the terms of COD enter a cut scene and hit a button to win. Too many would rather watch a cut scene then actually play a game. I think other then QTE's there could be other ways to achieve both. Gameplay should always be first and that is part of the environment and world it creates, with in that a new type of interactive story much different then is done now I think needs to be told. I really have faith that devs will eventually figure out this new type of story telling soon enough, and then I believe it will change a lot of things in gaming

    This image says it all:

    [​IMG]
     
    #13 Solidus, Feb 28, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2013
  14. Matt Mortem Karloff is King

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    Great post Solidus
     
  15. Soapy Registered

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    I said this recently in another thread, but I really don't have a strong attachment to stories in games. I like world-building and lore and stuff like that. I like interacting with characters. But the A to B to C series of events that make up the plot of the game? I appreciate when it's good, but good or bad I don't need it to be present, and I definitely don't need or want it replacing gameplay.

    Ultimately though, I just take issue with the fact for the vast majority of the industry, "story" might as well be shorthand for "let's make it like a movie". Oh, how I've grown to hate the word "cinematic" over the last few years. The problem with this is that when game devs try to make their games "cinematic", the gameplay almost always suffers. Be it in the form of intrusive cutscenes, lazy QTE sections, over-reliance on scripting, or the mere fact that the developers don't care if the gameplay is good because what little interaction and agency exists is only there in service of the story or presentation. It doesn't need to be good. It just needs to be good enough. You look at games like Call of Duty and Uncharted (series I've enjoyed a great deal by the way) and cool **** is happening on screen almost constantly, but you're not creating or controlling any of it. It's just sort of "happening". You have no agency. You're just a passive observer.

    In the future video games, or whatever holodeck-like thing video games evolve into, will be the dominant entertainment medium. You know why? I'll give you a hint, it's not cutscenes. It will be because games have two very powerful things that no other medium has: immersion and interactivity. If game developers who want to tell a story were smart they would be embracing gameplay and interactivity instead of downplaying it and pushing it aside.

    Edit: Seems like Solidus made a lot of my points already. :O

    I don't know about Mass Effect 3 specifically, but I wouldn't say it's nonsense in general. There are a lot of games that take an hour and oftentimes more to get started. I can't even begin to count the times I've said, "Yeah, I get it." or "Okay, when does the game start?" with modern games.
     
  16. Solidus Knights of Ren

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    I am in full agreement. One of the big problems is the disconnect with the protagonist. In film you can connect with them because it is "not you" but you connect with aspects of them. Your Luke's, Ripley's, Sarah Connors, Frodo's ect. But in games there is a disconnect to a point. You are the character like Shepard ect...but your not. There is no real full emotional character arc and it is hard to achieve because you are that person. Film can get away with this because it's not you, you connect to it but don't interact. The interaction creates a problem that conventional story telling that game devs are using just for the most part does not work.

    But I agree, most games seem to put gameplay in the co-pilot seat, and worry about it last. Which is the opposite of what games are. I agree I like world building plots, like the Skyrim's ect. I just hope this generation there is much more focus on gameplay and try to evolve story to fit the gameplay not the other way around. To me when they focus a lot on story you get a half-assed story with half-assed gameplay. Hopefully that will change where both will be incredible.

    EDIT: Again reading your post I agree very much. One part in particular about how you are watching crap happening on screen and have no control over it mainly because of laziness, they wanted something to happen in the plot, but could not figure out a unique way to make it happen through the core gameplay and have you interact with it. The problem with a lot of it is laziness of devs. I really hope this generation changes that and they start to focus on gameplay and the world you interact with which becomes a story itself. And how long it takes to start games with the hand holding of a tutorial mixed with so much cut scene and exposition it just makes me bored already.
     
    #16 Solidus, Feb 28, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2013
  17. Upset Spideyfan Look on the bright side

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    The Mario extreme if that is what we are using to represent that end of the spectrum is too anemic for me.

    Generally speaking I am more on the Mass Effect side of storytelling as far as my preferences go, though something like MGS is just way too much for me and is a big part of why I am not more into that series than I am even though I actually like a bunch of parts it: the never ending cutscenes make it a chore to play those games when I am not actively engaged with what is going on. Of course there is lots of stuff like CoD that I wonder why they even bother when they might as well just drop the pretense and dump you in levels but whatever. Stuff like ME, Heavy Rain, Red Dead are games in which a lot of my enjoyment from them derives from their cinematic presentation because they do it so well.

    But I also love a lot of games that are light or alternative on the story telling methods - stuff like Bastion or the first Portal for example.
     
    #17 Upset Spideyfan, Feb 28, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2013
  18. Silvermoth Krakoan native

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    Sometimes more story isn't the best though. If I'm involved in the story, that's great I love it. If it's hours of cutscenes and lots of plot twists which take control away from me than I would rather have Minecraft.
     
  19. Oscorp Registered

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    My opinion about this:

    Story is extremely important for me to feel attached to the game. I want games with great stories, even though some of my favourite games (first three Crash Bandicoot for example) are very sparse on story.

    It should be a mix, really. I don't want every game to be story heavy, but I don't want every game to only be about "Hey it's just fun to play!".

    The ideal game for me is a story heavy game that's exciting, not fluff but also not overly dark (think: Uncharted games), but at the same time have very few cutscenes.

    Maybe a game with no introduction cut scene at all. You just jump into the game, and it lets you get to know the character and the story throughout your playthrough.
     
  20. Victarion Iron Captain

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    Jak II and Jak 3 got the right mix of story and platformer/shooter gaming. The story itself is fairly dark if you look at it in respect to the first game, Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy.
     
  21. cherokeesam SHIELD Director Coulson

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    MGS is a good example of where story goes too far. I've been on Xbox for the past decade or so, so I never really caught up on the Solid Snake hype until they finally offered the MGS collection (part of it, anyway) for the 360. I popped, I think, Snake Eater in first --- and spent almost the next twenty minutes waiting for a button to push. I thought I had picked up a DVD movie by mistake....

    I think the best games balance story with gameplay. As far as intros, I think the "tutorial" versions are the best way to get into a game --- the ones that let you jump right into the story while introducing you *slowly* to the gameplay mechanics in small increments.

    Cutscenes are fine in small doses. If you find your cutscene is going longer than 3 minutes, chances are, as a game developer, you're just *********ing at that point, and you've already lost your players.
     
  22. Llama_Shepherd Registered

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    I love games with huge stories to tell, they are my favourite and one of the main reasons I play games is for the story. My favourite games series are Metal Gear, Assassin's Creed and Uncharted, Metal Gear and Uncharted are actually very short games if you skip all cutscenes. However, the underlying point remains that games are not films, the gameplay should always be foremost in the development of the game, luckily for me, I happen to enjoy the gameplay for all the games too.

    But Solidus said it all. Brilliant post.
     
  23. Spider-Aziz I Wanna Be...

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    Modern games need their stories
    What I hate is being forced to watch cutscenes, stuff like the game engine cutscenes are annoyingly unpassable, I want to skip them but I can't. I admire the improvement in Resident Evil 3

    I like to play games without being forced to watch all cutscenes, sometimes I'm not in the mood to watch them the first time, why see them again?
    Games like Resident Evil (thankfully, DmC reboot has the same formula with cutscenes) and Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands did it right, you can skip all as you like, Resident Evil by using the select button, and PoP:TFS offers the choice of skipping or watching the cutscene

    Mortal Kombat, Assassin's Creed, God of War, and their likes get an angry look for their choices with skipping cutscenes

    Another point that deserve mentioning; I hate it when a story forces you to walk slowly at certain segments and only in specific areas, and I mean when characters are programmed to walk slow (i.e segments in Batman Arkham when Batman talks on the line, Assassin's Creed 1 ancestor memory synchronization, etc), not when you need to walk slow but you can jump or run and the game fails (sometimes, I like to fail on purpose, it's good for some fun)
     
  24. Duke Registered

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    I like to watch & enjoy cutscenes & everything. What would be ideal is if it would have the option to watch or just skip it you so desired, never should it be mandatory.
     
  25. Havok83 Registered

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    An awful story can ruin an otherwise good game

    on the other hand, MGS, wouldnt be MGS without that. Its what fans of the series expect and want. The series is an experience and the way the story is presented is one of the hallmarks for it really. MGS3 stands out as my favorite game ever and I wouldnt change anything about the story
     

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