Hot take: The games have no creativity in branching narrative style

In the "Hot Pick" content series, we are going to share a series from the language of Yahtzee Croshaw, one of the most knowledgeable and experienced critics and satirists in the game field. Let's take a controversial view of the current state of the game industry and see if there is a problem in the game industry, where its roots go back to. Stay tuned.

BingMag.com Hot take: The games have no creativity in branching narrative style

In the "Hot Pick" content series, we are going to share a series from the language of Yahtzee Croshaw, one of the most knowledgeable and experienced critics and satirists in the game field. Let's take a controversial view of the current state of the game industry and see if there is a problem in the game industry, where its roots go back to. Stay tuned.

Usually in the first week of months when there aren't many games coming out, I go to Nick the Editor and ask, "So, what do you have for me?" He also hands me any cash codes he thinks I might be interested in. Some time ago he gave me the cash code for As Dusk Falls. This is one of the new narrative-oriented games with story branches based on the player's choices that Xbox Game Studios has published. "I don't want to play one of the Choose Your Own Adventure books that have been adapted into a video game." I had played The Quarry that month and my only motivation for playing it was to make fun of David Arquette's awful facial animations.

BingMag.com Hot take: The games have no creativity in branching narrative style

BingMag.com Hot take: The games have no creativity in branching narrative style

Have you noticed that whenever one of these new "build your own adventure" games Choose' are released - whether it's As Dusk Falls, a Supermassive Games game, or a David Cage game - the advertising team tries to present the game as a bold and revolutionary new way of telling stories to the audience. interducing? They probably hope that we have forgotten the last 20 years of gaming history. I think I'm tired of these types of games, because I'm tired of repeating that this is not a new way of telling stories. It dates back to well, the choose-your-own-adventure books. But at least the choose-your-own-adventure books really could have gone down very different paths. In video games, these paths often can't be too far apart, as they all have to revolve around the same locations and characters. Spending a lot of time and money creating content that a large percentage of players may never see is not worth it.

BingMag.com Hot take: The games have no creativity in branching narrative style

What is the purpose at all? Creating "interactive storytelling" that logically benefits interactive media? Giving the player a chance to feel like they're moving the narrative forward? No one has asked for such things. There has never been anyone who has watched "Taxi Driver" and said to himself: "Wow, this is a great movie. But I wish before the final part, the movie would ask me if I would like to play the main character of the movie, Travis, to go to that pimp's house and shoot everyone, or if I would like to stay home and masturbate from night to morning." Having such an option destroys the entire impact of the story, doesn't it? Games that have branching narratives suffer from the problem of Endingtron 3000 games. Endingtron 3000 games are games that have multiple endings, but the exact last thing you do in the game determines that ending. The end result is a game that feels like it doesn't really have an ending, because when you can go back and choose any of the other endings, none of them seem to have much impact. A game with a branching narrative is like this ending, but one whose neutralizing effect extends to the entire game.

It usually doesn't feel like the player is in control of the game's narrative, because the player usually can't see the outcome of his decisions. predict The feeling that these games convey is that the game is depriving us of a part of its content, and in order to get the full value of the money we paid, we have to play it a few times from the beginning. I don't have a problem with making a choice in the context of the game, if it is part of an immersive sim or role-playing game, because this choice is also part of the role-playing game and is usually linked to the gameplay, because the choice between upgrading a or B is similar to choosing between storyline A or B. But when we're dealing with a game like As Dusk Falls and there's no gameplay other than the story, the game has no foundation to lean on and the whole game turns into a choose-your-own-adventure book.

BingMag.com Hot take: The games have no creativity in branching narrative style

There have been many games whose story made me have the emotional response I was looking for, but none of the games that branched out into the narrative. They have not created this reaction in me. For example, Undertale is an example that comes to mind, but the way to get to the good end of the game is completely different from the way to get to the bad end. It's different, so it's not a math game. Silent Hill 2 and Spec Ops: The Line both have a few different endings, but all the emotional moments happen before the game's narrative diverges; The endings of these games only change the way the main character deals with the events. So, can we rid ourselves of choose-your-own-adventure books? Do you know why there is always an effort to present these games as a new and revolutionary work? Because they never hit the center of the mole. Making these games requires a lot of effort, and this effort never pays off, and after a while, it comes to someone's mind to come and try again. The big joke is that there have been games that have achieved what these games are trying to achieve - that is, designing an interactive narrative in which each player has a different and unique experience - but with much less effort.

BingMag.com Hot take: The games have no creativity in branching narrative style

All the game needed to do was light a candle with its random elements to ignite the gas torch of my emotions. The more effort a game puts into designing its random character design system, the more varied character and behavior patterns it incorporates into the game, the better the end result will be. A story is simply the result of the actions of a number of characters. So a random character generation system is the same as a random story generation system.

Consider the Nemesis System in the Shadow of Mordor games. In AAA gaming, this system is probably the best example of what I'm talking about. Personally, I have a lukewarm feeling towards the main story of these games. You basically play the role of a tough hero who is filled with stereotypical repressed rage and has a ghost inside you who hates all things bad. Nothing important happens in the game, because any important event may interfere with the plot of the Lord of the Rings movies. But everyone I talk to who has played these games has a different story to tell about their encounters with the game's random arcs. The only thing the game creators had to do was to fill the game's random generation system with as many personality traits and behaviors as they could think of, extract them into a coherent whole, and put them into the game. The emotional bond the player makes with this random system is ten times greater than that of a dude with a ghost trapped inside.

BingMag.com Hot take: The games have no creativity in branching narrative style

This is what I mean by "interactive narrative". A thread that has different branches is not an interactive narrative, but simply two standard non-interactive narratives put together. The thing you need to understand about video games is that they are ultimately an experience that is the result of a combined effort between the player and the author, and the story of the game includes this statement. All the energy that goes into designing the different branches of a game with a branching narrative seems pretty pointless, especially when I look at what a game like Shadow of Mordor has achieved with far less effort on plotting the game. The secret to the success of this game's interactive narrative is that the game's creators cut loose and let the player's imagination guide them in the process of creating the game's narrative. The comments will mention this game, I'd better name it so I don't get accused of forgetting it: Dwarf Fortress. That's all.

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