“There is always something that may prevent users from completely immersing themselves in the plot of a game. That’s why we’ve collected some important elements to building a good interactive storytelling.
Focus on storytelling
This is a pretty simple point: the goal of the game is to tell a story. This is not about playing puzzles, “three in a row” or shooting at moving targets. Although the game may contain all of these elements, however, they cannot be the basis of game experience. The reason for the existence of games should be the desire of developers to immerse players in the story, no other things should take precedence over this.
It seems pretty obvious. A game that tries to interest a quality narrative should certainly focus on that. Some of the problems described below are directly related to the fact that from the side of developers this element of video games is not taken seriously. Its key aspect is that history should be “tangible”. Characters and environments that can be easily identified should be added to the game, and drama should not be forgotten either. The narrative of the game cannot be extremely abstract, too simplistic and devoid of any interesting plot events.
Most of the time we “play”
Games are an interactive environment, so most of the experience is built on some forms of interaction. The core of the game should not consist solely of reading and watching cut scenes, but should also include gameplay. This does not mean that everything needs to be built on continuous interaction, no, sometimes it is useful to allow the player to stop and think about what is happening. It sounds pretty simple, almost like a fundamental part of game design, but it’s not so obvious.
However, I do not think that this is true for interactive storytelling either. If only the choice matters, then choosing an adventure book for yourself is the top of the interaction – but it is not. In most well-known story-oriented games, there is generally no choice as such that affects the development of history (‘The Last of Us’ is a good example).
– Given all this, is interaction really so important?
– Of course, but not in order to make a choice.
I believe that the main task of storytelling is to create a sense of presence, a feeling of complete immersion in the world of the game. To achieve this, a constant flow of gaming activity is required. If a player remains inactive for a long period, then his connection with the virtual world is lost. This is especially true during stretches when the player is required to keep everything under control. The game must constantly support and strengthen the feeling of “like I’m there.”
Interaction must be narrative
For the player to plunge into the plot, it is necessary to somehow connect his actions with important in-game events. The gameplay should not feel foreign to the story. There are two reasons for this.
First, the player should feel like an important element of the story, and not just an indifferent observer. If none of the plot points requires the participation of a player, then he becomes passive concerning what is happening. If the whole gameplay consists of collecting precious stones, then it doesn’t matter if the players spend 99% of their time interacting; they are not part of important gaming events and their actions are thus meaningless. Gameplay should be the foundation of the story, and not just the side activity between watching cut scenes.
Secondly, the player must understand his role based on his actions. If a player tries on the role of a detective, then this must certainly be reflected in the gameplay. A game in which the player’s role is explained through cut scenes or other narrative tricks will not be able to tell an impressive story properly.”