Game Development Reference
Figure 5.1. Prince of Persia (2008).
2008 Ubisoft Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.
Based on Prince of Persia R
created by Jordan Mechner.
The need of the player to keep moving, the vertically stacked levels, and the
constant danger limit the number of places that the story can be told because telling
a section of story in a place where the main character can die opens up a large can of
worms. Should the lines that played before the character died play again? If so, what
happens if the lines are broken a second, third, fourth, twenty-fifth time? How can
the player expect to both watch a scene from the story and concentrate on navigating
a complex, acrobatic gameplay path? Are the sections of the map chosen for the
story to be shown visible to the average player? And visible long enough for a story
segment to play out before the player has run past it?
Such considerations have a huge effect on how the player experiences the story.
There is a constant risk that narrative information might be lost, rendering the nar-
rative unintelligible. Conversely, choosing to reiterate information by replaying lines
or scenes can lead to irritating repetition. Similarly, a writer's choice to place a sta-
tionary, non-interactive cinematic in the middle of a fast-moving gameplay section
can lead to frustration for designer and gamer alike. Such challenges demand that
the writer knows the level design inside out if he is to ensure that the gameplay does
not break the story, nor the story disrupt the gameplay flow. Correctly placing scenes
is essential to telling stories in platform games.