Shadow of Mordor - 'The first open narrative game', says Ken Levine

"It's chess meets Hamlet. Okay, maybe not Hamlet. But it's a start," says the BioShock creative director, as he pushes toward his own narrative technology.
"It's chess meets Hamlet. Okay, maybe not Hamlet. But it's a start."
- BioShock creative director Ken Levine, on Shadow of Mordor's dynamic narrative design In a review for the newly launched New York Review of Video Games, BioShock creative director Ken Levine shares his thoughts on Monolith and WB Games' Shadow of Mordor, which he calls "the first 'open narrative' game," drawing a comparison to the way that Super Mario 64 and Grand Theft Auto III pioneered open-world games. "You're not just checking off missions in a variable sequence. You're changing the dramatis personae. Whenever you succeed or fail, the characters in the story respond to your actions, and not in the manner of a branching 'choose your own adventure.' It is an excessively simple, yet impressively flexible, crime story," Levine writes. The full review is worth a read, particularly in light of Levine's stated goal of shaking up the possibilities for game narrative in toto -- he's working on his "Narrative Legos" concept with a select group of Irrational Games staff.

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