Game Development Reference
player interacts with the dialogue scene is as important as anything the writer
creates and probably more so.
There is much to be learned from established media, and development
studios may bring in talented people who understand what works in those
media and to combine that knowledge with the skills and experience of the
game creators. Such a combination will bring exciting new ventures and give
increasingly enjoyable experiences for the players. But as we have already
discussed, understanding the nature of games is a key element to the success
of any such venture.
Storytelling, and everything that goes with it, has been developed in other
media with a high level of sophistication and variety over many years and it
would be foolish of game studios to ignore this. But they must also bear in
mind that this level of sophistication was developed for audiences that receive
their entertainment in a passive manner.
So what of interactive storytelling?
How we want to use interactive storytelling will depend on the type of
story we want to tell and the type of game in which we are telling it. Is our
story going to be linear or non-linear? Is the player able to interact with and
affect the story or the plot, or both?
In linear storytelling, at its most basic, the player interacts with a game in
some way that reveals the next piece of the story. If the trigger is the success-
ful completion of a level (defeating all the opponents, say), which launches a
cut-scene where the story information and development is shown to the
player, the game's story is likely to be linear and mostly simplistic. The pur-
pose of the story in this situation could be little more than a way to link the
gameplay sections or create a background setting for the various levels,
though it is possible to tell a more involving story if enough of these cut-
scenes are triggered.The downside of this method can be to give players the
impression that they are not really interacting with the story, which is true,
but merely triggering a series of 'chapters'.
This method of delivery is rather like a person walking through the rooms
of a house and in each room they enter they find the next pages of a story
manuscript. The story is not going to change in any way; the reader has
simply had to do some work in order to reveal it. Though few of us would
like to read our novels this way, in games it is a valid means of portraying the
story, but only if it is handled well. The player must have had an enjoyable