If you somehow missed G4’s fantastic PAX 2009 panel on storytelling in video games, hosted by X-Play’s Adam Sessler, then I highly recommend check it out immediately. And I’m not just saying that because you get to spend over an hour hearing what Tim Schafer (Double Fine), Greg Zeschuk (BioWare), Denis Dyack (Silicon Knights) and Joseph Staten (Bungie) have to say about their respective approaches to game narratives...Ok. So that’s exactly why I’m saying it.
Well, Adam caught up with the developers following the panel for some additional discussion about interactive storytelling. What’s particularly interesting is how each developer explains his team's process in terms of constructing narratives in their games.
For BioWare, it’s all about the big dramatic moments. “We take almost a dotted line of events [and] that’s like the arc of the story. And between those dots on the arc you have various things that the designers literally have a lot of creative license to build. So the key thing is to really nail each segment,” says Greg Zeschuk.
Denis Dyack explains that while “the setting, time and circumstances around when the game is being created” definitely factor into a narrative's development, “Generally, we do think about the story first and then build a lot of things around that core.”
Bungie’s Joseph Staten talks about the value of not being locked into a specific narrative structure, saying that “Being able to be flexible with your story pieces, combine them in interesting ways, I think that’s something which is really exciting for us moving forward.”
To find out more about how these developers approach narrative in their games, be sure to check out the full interview.
What developers do you think tell the best interactive stories? What makes their stories so good?