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Storytelling in video games has come a long way, from the early days of simple shooting games to the hyper-realistic, dynamic worlds we see today, there’s been a gamut of changes in the industry. However, there is still room for growth and innovation, one of the areas that we could see more exploration in is storytelling—especially when it comes to narrative design. The following article will go into greater detail as to why storytelling in video games should not be overlooked as a medium and why our love of stories can only grow stronger with its presence in this industry.
One needn’t have many years of gaming experience under their belt to understand the importance of a game’s plot and character development. And this goes beyond video games, the importance of storytelling is appreciated across various gaming categories. Take online casino games as an example. Players choose online slots for their themes, characters, and yes, plotlines. It’s not always about playing to gain those much-coveted free spins no deposit Australian bonuses. Actually, contrary to popular belief, many casino players simply play for the sheer entertainment value a no deposit slot offers.
Telling Tales In The Digital Age
One of the most noticeable differences between video games and other forms of media is interactivity. Unlike other mediums where the audience has no control over the outcome of the story, players are able to influence the outcomes of videogame plots by making in-game choices. In action-adventure games or RPGs, this could mean selecting dialogue options while in stealth or puzzle games, it might mean choosing paths or the order in which items are collected.
Interactivity not only makes video games a highly engaging medium, but it also allows players to connect with and even shape the story. This gives gamers a sense of ownership over the game they’re playing, making them feel like they’re truly a part of the experience.
Games Can Trigger Player Empathy
While some might argue that there’s no difference between feeling an emotion and actually experiencing an event, there’s certainly room for debate. Regardless of the specifics, there are certain storytelling methods that are more likely to trigger empathy than others. Videogames are one of the best ways to trigger empathy in players. Empathy is an important part of storytelling, after all, it’s a large part of what makes us human. Feeling empathy toward characters can make an audience feel more connected to the story, which makes it all the more enjoyable to experience.
Videogame Stories Aren’t Always Linear
Thanks to the ever-increasing technological capabilities of video games, players are no longer restricted to linear narratives. While some games still operate on a linear storytelling model, others allow gamers to explore and make choices that affect the outcome of the game. In these types of games, players become protagonists who can shape the course of the story as they go. Thanks to the interactivity of video games, even the simplest of stories can be transformed into an exciting, engaging experience.
Games Require a Telling Approach to Be Successful
Games are inherently interactive, the idea that they should take a telling approach to their narrative is rather ridiculous. However, there are plenty of examples of games that have taken a more telling approach to their storytelling and have fallen short as a result.
The most notable of these is the original Resident Evil. The first game in the franchise was released in 1996 and was a major success at the time. However, with the benefit of hindsight, we can clearly see the shortcomings of the game. Throughout the narrative, the game takes a very telling approach to its storytelling. By this, we mean that the story is largely relayed to the player through dialogue, with very little player agency. While this is fine for static media such as books or movies, it is not ideal for games. In fact, it can be hugely detrimental to gameplay and immersion.
Consumers Are Constantly Craving Stories
The first Resident Evil game was released in 1996 and the game was a huge hit, and the franchise has been a staple of the industry ever since—with well over 50 million copies of the game being sold. However, in 2019, the franchise is still releasing games that follow the same old narrative structure. The latest game in the franchise, Resident Evil 2, was released to critical acclaim and is now one of the highest-rated games of 2019. However, despite this, the game was also criticized for its dated narrative structure. The game was widely praised for its aesthetics and visuals, but the story was seen as a missed opportunity. Instead of taking advantage of the new technological advances that allow developers to tell more complex and interesting stories, the franchise stuck to its tried-and-tested narrative structure.
It’s Time for Videogame Publishers to Step Up Their Game
There are around 800 million gamers in the world, and that number is expected to rise to 1.6 billion by 2022 – with a large portion of these people being new to the industry. This is great for the industry as a whole, but it does mean that publishers need to step up their game when it comes to storytelling. This is because consumers are more discerning than ever before. With more people entering the market, we can expect people to be more selective about the products that they purchase. This means that publishers need to ensure that their products are more engaging and immersive than ever before.