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Random thoughts on game narrative 101

Some very shallow thoughts on the difference between trying to sell commercial fiction and writing my first game.

gw ski, Blogger

April 5, 2016

2 Min Read

monkeyisland1A while ago, I wrote a piece about game narrative being just as good, if not better, than its book/novel counterpart -- “game writers often kick novelists’ butts for creativity, narrative, and compelling characters.” -- (https://goo.gl/nu5PVH) – and nothing has happened to change my mind.

  1. Books, for as creative as they could be, too often follow exactly the same plot with commercially proven character types.

  2. Games, the story-driven ones, are all over the place. And that’s where gamers want to go. Readers? Maybe not so much.

I suspect this disparity is due to the literary agent being the gatekeeper in the book industry. Almost any writer has to get through that filter before they can traditionally publish, and it’s a filter that does not seek “the next cool idea” as much as they seek “I know I can sell this because it’s like ____.”

It’s really nice to NOT have to have an emotionally flawed main character with crippling angst and serious doubts they are The Chosen One.

It’s even nicer to build a character through their actions and conversation rather than endless pages of internal soul searching and “whining session with their bestie.”

superpaper1And then we get to something I’ll come back to in RTOGN 102: Why wouldn’t kids these days be more attracted to game narrative? In it, they get to make decisions and mistakes.

But in a book, even when you know the character picked the wrong love interest or shouldn’t have sipped that potion, we still have to get it explained to us why they went down the wrong path.

In games, we let them take the wrong path. Suffer the consequences. Then let them try it again with a different perspective. That part is really fun. -G3

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