Tagged: narrative

Justifying the Means 16

Justifying the Means

[This post contains spoilers as to the entirety of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2’s plot. I loved Modern Warfare 2 and will write about the brilliant core gameplay, mechanics, and level design in a later piece, but this is not that piece.] “Two men took down an entire base. I ask much more from you now.” General Shepard says as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 loads the upcoming mission. Shepard goes on to tell the player about the danger of a Russian named Makarov who has “no rules. [And] No Boundaries.” Shepard says “You don’t want to know...

Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune 2

Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune

Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune is one of those games that does pretty much everything right. It doesn’t take a lot of chances as far as its subject matter or game design go, but developer Naughty Dog nailed all of its elements so well that it’s nigh-impossible not to enjoy it as a whole. It’s one of the few video games in existence that absolutely nails its tone, writing, voice-acting, character interplay, and cut scenes. The core gameplay — the shooty-shooty and the general character movement — feel fantastic. Uncharted is also, as is necessary to say when talking about it, an...

Wild Card 8

Wild Card

That Orson Scott Card did it again with his involvement with Chair Entertainment’s newest game, Shadow Complex. It looks quite astounding, doesn’t it? I can’t wait to play it. That activity is somewhere on my top fifty list of things to do when I move to Austin next week. Anyway, Orson Scott Card is probably best-known for a science fiction work titled Ender’s Game. It was an alright enough book. I liked it. This was well before I knew about Orson Scott Card’s deepest, darkest secrets. Oh. What’s that? Huh, they’re not secrets apparently. See, Orson Scott Card is a...

Lie to Them 14

Lie to Them

Everything I say is a lie. When we read books, we tend to think that the perspective we’re reading is telling us the truth. It’s not something we ever doubt; we make a subconscious social contract with the work’s narrator: we’re reading through your story because you’re our window into this world. We have no way of knowing whether the narrator is willfully or ignorantly lying to us, we just have to take their knowledge and sincerity on faith alone. Albert Camus’ The Fall is the story of Jean-Baptiste Clamence as told by Jean-Baptiste Clamence through a series of interactions...

Game Design Round Table 3: Observing Open Worlds 5

Game Design Round Table 3: Observing Open Worlds

Round Table Topic When I was coming up with a topic for this round table, I realized that I quickly went back to thinking about all of the games I have been playing over the last few weeks: Spider-Man: Web of Shadows, Red Faction: Guerrilla, Infamous, Prototype, and Skate 2. All of these games have a unique approach to how they tell a story, introducing gameplay elements, and the handling of progression through the game. It’s strange to see so many similarities between some general mechanics between these games, but to see each one handle certain components so completely differently....

Epic Scale 10

Epic Scale

Narrative is an essential part of any game; I don’t think anyone ever denies that point. Even the most emergent game design has the goal of presenting some sort of narrative to its players. Story sets the stage for meaning (of gameplay). It frames the player’s context for the actions he engages in within a game world. When I rail against cut scene heavy games or completely non-interactive, heavy-handed delivery of a writer’s script to players, it’s not the story that’s the problem, it’s the presentation. In an ideal world, we, as designers, are not telling, we’re not showing, we’re...

Embrace 8

Embrace

“Basically, and I’m speaking to the Blizzard guys in the back: we need to stop writing a fucking book in our game, because nobody wants to read it.” […] We need to deliver our story in a way that is uniquely video game. – Jeff Kaplan (Former Director of World of Warcraft) Speaking at the 2009 Game Developers Conference Shortly after I started my first play session of BattleForge last week, I discovered that a majority of the real-time strategy game’s back-story and narrative was delivered to the player in an unfortunately common way: The in-game book, in that screen...