Presentation on theme: "Interactive Storytelling for Video Games Chapter 13: The Argument Against the Supremacy of Player-Driven Storytelling Josiah Lebowitz Chris Klug."— Presentation transcript:
Interactive Storytelling for Video Games Chapter 13: The Argument Against the Supremacy of Player-Driven Storytelling Josiah Lebowitz Chris Klug
The Six Key Points Supports of traditional storytelling primarily base their arguments on six key points. The Fine Art of Storytelling Time, Money, and Player Interest Keeping the Story Interesting Loss of Impact The Illusion of Control Giving the Player What He Wants
The Fine Art of Storytelling Storytelling has survived so long in its current form because it’s such a perfect and well developed art form. Advancing the art form is a very vague goal with no clear purpose. Writers can use the techniques developed and perfected in the past and focus entirely on creating good stories, without any need to reinvent the wheel.
Time, Money, and Player Interest Adding extra story branches, multiple endings, and alternate dialogue to games requires additional design, writing, art, programming, and the like. All of which takes time and money. To keep the budget and development time manageable other content must often be cut or removed, which can adversely affect the game. There’s no guarantee the extra branches, endings, and the like will make a large enough impact on the game’s sales to pay for themselves. Most players will only play through the game once and never see the vast majority of its branches, endings, and the like. So why devote so much time to creating them?
Keeping the Story Interesting Interacting with and influencing the events in a story can often make the story less interesting. Most stories are only interesting because a very specific sequence of events occurs. Such sequences tend to include events where the hero makes mistakes or fails in some way. The “right choice” for a good story often isn’t the obvious one. When given a choice, people usually try to decrease tension and conflict (keep the heroes safe, prevent them from failing, etc). This works well in real life but makes for a very dull story. The more choices the player makes, the greater the chance that he’ll eventually turn the story down an uninteresting branch. Once a “mistake” has been made, it can be very difficult to correct it.
Loss of Impact Highly emotional moments in stories, such as the death of an important character, tend to lose much of their impact when the player knows he can always go back and choose a different outcome. Death has such an impact in real life only because of its finality. Death in stories is much the same way. Similarly, the consequences of a mistake are meaningless if you can simply go back and prevent the mistake from ever being made. The more player-driven a story is, the harder it becomes to tell an emotionally moving tale.
The Illusion of Control Players may enjoy feeling as if they’re in control of a story but actually giving them control can significantly detract from the story. Therefor, it’s better to give players an illusion of control by providing them with a lot of control and choice in matters which don’t seriously affect the main plot. This can be done through the use of minor and moderate branches, optional quests, and highly involved gameplay.
Giving the Player What He Wants What the player wants most from a story is simply a good enjoyable story. Too much control can easily make a story less enjoyable. Most players only play through a game once. Therefor, the best way to ensure they enjoy their single play through is to create an engaging traditionally structured story so the player is sure to see the best possible story progression and ending. But is an enjoyable story really what players want most?
Things to Consider Do you think that traditional stories are superior to more highly-player driven ones? Why or why not? Has this information changed your opinion on the matter? Briefly summarize your own thoughts on the key points covered. Can you think of any additional arguments that could be used to support the supremacy of traditional stories? Do you believe that most players want a well written and enjoyable story above all else? Why or why not?