Sessler's Soapbox: Adventures in Storytelling

Posted: October 14, 2009
Sessler's Soapbox: Adventures in Storytelling
G4 Editor in Chief Adam Sessler dissects the art of storytelling in video games, where it's been and where it's going.

Comments are Closed

  • kings_legacy

    storytelling can go only so far if you have likeable characters.take every final fantasy game after 7 and 8, your main charcter "male" for instance is sporting a mid rift(yeah relly bad ass).your taken out of the game experience immeditly no matter how good the story is.

    Posted: October 27, 2009 12:55 PM
  • ghostgod43

    very sweet video and i agree with u about the story telling

    Posted: October 21, 2009 2:45 AM
  • GullumF

    playing uncharted 2 having fun playing it.

    Posted: October 19, 2009 9:57 AM

    so true

    Posted: October 17, 2009 2:58 PM
  • samiam0605

    I'm so glad storytelling is becoming so much better in videogames. I use to think the story was secondary to every thing else in the game, but now after some of the latest adventure games and rpg's I'm looking foward to the story to be amazing. I'm also more disappointed when the story is not that good. So I hope game developers really push gaming to not be just fun, but also a good storytelling medium in general.

    Posted: October 17, 2009 10:44 AM
  • nate8081

    Sorry adam i was not listening to you, i was 2 busy watching uncharted 2 in the background!!

    Posted: October 17, 2009 4:39 AM
  • yack922

    wow the person playing Uncharted in the background was not that good at playing it!

    Posted: October 16, 2009 5:18 PM
  • Aristofiles

    witch game is the best =) well now ive played both and its impossible to say and the best thing is that i dont haveto! uncharted 2... Awsome!, perhaps the best game ever... brutal legens.... Awsome!, one of the best and funniest games ever made. buy both! best 2 games in years! (exept mf ofcourse =))

    Posted: October 16, 2009 3:31 PM
  • kilCanvas

    Half Life from Valve started it for me.

    Posted: October 16, 2009 12:09 PM
  • Kyuss023

    I've always considered story an integral part of most games, really it depends on the genre. You don't play a fighting game for the story, in an RPG on the other hand story becomes a big part of the game.

    Posted: October 16, 2009 12:09 PM
  • kappakoin

    I love this show, It's perfect to listen to when I do my SGD homework.

    Posted: October 15, 2009 7:48 PM
  • hayseman

    Great vid.

    I must say that this is a great step forward for video games in general. Finally after all these years story is starting to be one of the main focuses of video game creation. But I don't think that this is a new thing. All throughout my gaming career story has been a significant driving force for me to get through a particular game I was playing. Story for me have always been the reward for making through whatever challenges that the game threw at me prior to that moment. Either it is a great CGI Cutscene with a lot of effects and cool action or some revealing fact about a prior mystery that developed in the earlier stages of the game.

    I do agree with you on the idea that implementation and presentation of the story is very key. Its the same with all storytelling mediums. Quality is better the Quantity. As of now developers are finally figuring out how to make the story more of a focus during gameplay sequences. And that is great. But I have always thought that the campaign gameplay was essentially apart of the story anyway even though it is not that obvious. What the gameplay sequences describe is the struggle that the character endures to achieve whatever goal they are trying to achieve. Now the Holy Grail for video game storytelling is to have the story and the gameplay so interwoven with eachother that you can't differentiate them.

    But in the past there have been some games stories and gameplay that were excellently merged (The play in Final Fantasy 6) and of course there have been a few games that failed to merge gameplay and storytelling horribly (Dirge of Cerberus).

    But I think that makes it so hard to tell a story in a game is due to the fact that the audience is the one telling the story. And its hard for the developer to tell a cohesive story while having their audience control it. Is there a possible way to tell a great cohesive story while having the gamer be in complete control throughout the whole experience? Is there a formula for that? I think in time we will be able to determine that and once we achieve this goal I think that finally the Holodeck can be constructed. :-)

    Posted: October 15, 2009 12:28 PM
  • keithplusplus

    I was thinking about this subject the other day and yes, storytelling in videogames has evolved but I think what will happen, and what we have seen steadily happen, is the loss of the "cutscene" and the growth of interactivity while the story is being told, of course there is a balance that must be held between a story a developer wants to tell (or needs to for the sake of the rest of the game) so we may never completely lose scripted events/scenes but we may notice far more participation of the player during them. Participation in the story is what makes videogames an ever increasing challenge to the passive entertainment of movies or television.

    Posted: October 15, 2009 11:49 AM
  • DukeOfDownTown

    I remember back when online gaming first came out. It seemed like games were in real danger of becoming just a competitive experience. But I'm glad that developers are getting back to focusing on the stories and how to emotionally engage the player again.

    I suppose a better way to describe it would be to compare online multi-player gaming to reality television. You have to admit that it's alot easier to make a great online game (like the unreal series or battlefield) than it is to create a really great story based game (like uncharted series).

    one has to convince you that your in an exciting, living, breathing world, and the other just has to convince you that it's exciting.

    So I'm glad that online shooters haven't taken over the game industry like reality shows have done to television.

    Posted: October 15, 2009 9:49 AM
  • Variand

    When we are children, we often don't care a whole lot about story, just the flashy characters and pretty pictures in our books and on our television. When we mature, we seek greater depth and much more rich and fulfilling stories.

    As Gaming matures (Players and designers) through experience and technology, it's safe to say that we seek out great depth and much more rich and fulfilling experience through the incorporation of better stories.

    Well put, Sessler.

    Posted: October 14, 2009 11:39 PM
  • sylvansorrow

    As far as cinematic stories I would like to just say how far ahead of its time Half-life 1 was back in 1998, it told a phenomenal without ever taking control away from the player, a feat that devs still struggle with today.

    Posted: October 14, 2009 9:39 PM
  • SDwiz

    Story telling in games is more important now than ever.Because their turning our favorite games into movies.Some of the people who write stories for games are the same exact people who write Hollywood blockbusters movies.Back when Nintendo,Sega Genesis,and other old consoles came out story was the last thing on gamers minds.They just wanted a good game to play no matter how easy or difficult it was.I wouldn't be surprised if later down the road they have a Uncharted movie come out.

    Posted: October 14, 2009 7:52 PM
  • jkat1

    @ CozmoD
    i second that idea this would be a great tv show. n im sure they would enjoy doing it cuz its just talking bout games and speculation which is what any semi game enthusiast would love to besides playing games.

    Posted: October 14, 2009 7:17 PM
  • bubman237

    Adam, I know you're busy but I was wondering where the Demon Souls review is? Since it was released on October 6, I though you would've reviewed it by now. I have a feeling you won't like but I'm still checking your website everyday for the review. The podcast is awesome, keep it up!

    Posted: October 14, 2009 7:13 PM
  • L1V3_2_W1N

    yeh its not even a little bit of a competition i dont care if u are the heaviest metal head of all time its going to be Uncharted 2!!!!!!

    Posted: October 14, 2009 5:20 PM