Gamers have mixed opinions about video game stories, some people couldn’t care less and skip scenes as quickly as they can, and others prefer to get the popcorn out. So what is to happen, will we see games become like movies and have immense story lines or will we continue to only have a few games like this and many with just the standard clichés.
We have seen the rise of solely story run games like Beyond Eyes, where it is basically a walking simulation. This game may appeal to some but even those who love stories find it hard to pick it up and play those types of games. There are also many people who love the visual novel games on hand held consoles, but the same applies, no matter how much I want a great story, I still want to have a game, just walking or watching doesn’t really appeal to me for a game. Then you have the complete opposite end of the scale with games like Call of Duty where their stories have become basic and predictable, It’s been a long time since I’ve heard someone say they’re are getting a COD game for its story. This makes story modes of games redundant, if you do choose to play through it normally you’re not paying full attention to it, just waiting until it ends to get back in the action. Creating an original idea for a story is difficult and making it interesting is even harder, so I don’t expect every game to be the Shawshank Redemption of games, it’s just developers need to take risks with stories more often.
Of course games that have little or weak story lines are no different from films that do the same, COD is basically your standard action blockbuster. There is no way games will always have great story lines, look how many bad films/books there are. There is also the trouble of making the gameplay exciting, if a game is set around a story then there still needs to be a fun to play, it’s all very well to have an intense story, but if the game sucks the story won’t be enough. Having both of these qualities can create some of the best games, The Last of Us has one of the greatest storylines in games and is enjoyable game to play, there are many games like this, it’s just there are not as many as there should. Video games can do one better than movies, as they can physically engage with the audience, so why not use this to create truly engrossing games, where the stories are different and players want to pay full attention to the story, not just waiting for the scene to end.
Metal Gear Solid 4 has eight hours of scenes, now not all games need to go to this extreme but it’s good to see a game where there is such a strong storyline that it can warrant this length of time on scenes. If games start to experiment more with the length and style, we could start to see some extraordinarily games that break new boundaries. More games have to be interesting as the last time I paid attention to an Assassin’s Creed story was when 2 came out, since then it’s been listening enough to get the gist of what’s going on. Same with Elder Scrolls Online, now being an MMO there are hundreds of pointless quests that no one really pays attention to, but after the first day I have just spammed A when talking to everyone to just get through it as quick as possible regardless of if it’s a main story quest or not. Even in Skyrim I did this, as I personally thought the story was not all that enticing, these games are fun to play but when the scenes start playing or people start talking my mind wanders. Everyone is different, you may well have thought these stories were great, I just personally feel some games stories are really hard to concentrate on or lack any real connection to characters.
What about the complete opposite. In order for a game to sell well it doesn’t need to have an intense plot, with The Legend of Zelda games doing fine with the simple story’s revolving around stopping the villain to save the world. So it is entirely possible developers will continue to sacrifice having strong stories as if they have a great game there is no major setback from having a basic plot.