informa
2 MIN READ
News

'History, Mystery, Story' Useful Approaches In Capturing Gamers' Attention

Games writer Leanne C. Taylor looks at film's "10 minute rule" for hooking the viewer, and theorizes that similarly hooking a video game player is about communic
Games writer Leanne C. Taylor looks at film's "10 minute rule" for hooking the viewer, and theorizes that similarly hooking a video game player is about communicating "history, mystery and story." Taylor, who has written for game companies including THQ and Pandemic, explained in a new Gamasutra feature: "In movies, there's something that's colloquially known as the '10 minute rule.' The idea is that, after 10 minutes, the viewer will generally have a good idea of whether they'll enjoy the rest of the movie or not." She asks, "In games, which are exponential in terms of cost and time for the audience when compared to movies, where does the 10 minute rule lie?" Taylor said that some of the most memorable games in the past 20 years hooked her with compelling opening cinematics. "But what made them so compelling? Why did they succeed where so many others have failed?" she asks. "My theory is this: for original IP, your hook must be some form of a history or a mystery, probably combined. For second forays into a world, you can start to rely on story." Taylor continues, "It's easy to discover what kind of hook a certain game has by asking which one of these three things the player will be wondering about by the end of the intro cinematic: What has happened? (History),What's happening now? (Mystery) [and] What's going to happen? (Story)." For example, Blizzard's Warcraft III intro (pictured) implements the "mystery" angle, Taylor said, as the opening cinematics introduce an unknown new enemy that is neither Orc nor human. Warcraft II's opening relies on "history" to hook players, mentioning a previous war that left the "once mighty army of Azeroth" in ruin. Bethesda's The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion went for the "story" angle, implying that the player is part of history in the making -- how the story pans out will be up to the gamer. Taylor goes deeper into the methods of hooking the gamer with story, and offers practical approaches in achieving that hook in the full Gamasutra feature, available now.

Latest Jobs

Xbox Game Studios

Redmond, Washington
10.5.22
Technical Lighting Artist

Innogames

Hamburg, Germany
10.5.22
Game Designer - Elvenar

Six Foot

Houston, TX
10.3.22
Six Foot Director, Player Relations

Hometopia Inc.

Remote
10.7.22
Lead Engineer
More Jobs   

CONNECT WITH US

Explore the
Subscribe to
Follow us

Game Developer Job Board

Game Developer Newsletter

@gamedevdotcom

Explore the

Game Developer Job Board

Browse open positions across the game industry or recruit new talent for your studio

Browse
Subscribe to

Game Developer Newsletter

Get daily Game Developer top stories every morning straight into your inbox

Subscribe
Follow us

@gamedevdotcom

Follow us @gamedevdotcom to stay up-to-date with the latest news & insider information about events & more