Games as Multimedia Storytelling

Approached from the perspective of being an interactive story, what is unique to games like MMORPGs (esp. sandboxes), metroidvania, war games or survival games, as stories? What are some of the ways that gaming has innovated new ways of telling stories (think non-linear, interactive etc). Games can pull together disparate storytelling techniques like visual, auditory and interactive in a way that books, comics or film alone can’t. Has the gaming industry harnessed this potential?

If you want to narrow it down to a specific category i’d recommend visual novels and RPGs, as they feel a lot closer to the question.

  • It would be very helpful to mention Final Fantasy XV, which one could argue spread itself too thin with the multimedia storytelling. It was a double-edged sword: People could access the series through the anime, the feature length movie or even the retro style gaming experience of A King's Tale. For someone like me, who was heavily invested in the series already, it was wonderful and got me excited for the game in the lead up; but for a casual gamer who just wanted to play the game, or a movie-goer just wanting to watch the film, it would make it difficult for them to grasp the entire story without turning to the internet to fill in the blanks. – AGMacdonald 6 years ago
  • You could also look at the different ways games try to pull a story. For instance The Last of Us is an excellent example of envrionmental storytelling and how you won't get the full plot without actually interacting with the space around it. If you're mentioning comics, the Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us (anything Telltale, really) are great examples of how the universe expanded beyond the game (or how the game expanded beyong the comic) to create a larger universe – Mela 6 years ago
  • I think a good recent example of non traditional story telling is the game Nier Automota. In order to play the game to completion, you have to complete three different storylines, each of which that follows the more or less same story, but each is from a different character's perspective. Depending on which character you are playing as, different information about the story is available to you. For example, one of the characters cannot read or understand the language of the primary antagonists, so when you are playing as that character, the language and writing of the antagonists look and sound like gibberish to you. However, when playing as another character who does understand their language, you are able to read and understand the speech of the enemies. There are also multiple endings that differ substantially depending on which storyline you are playing, The game also breaks the 4th wall a lot. The way that the game represents your character's status is seamlessly integrated into the gameplay. As another example, since your player character is an android, some enemies can hit you with a computer virus that will mess up your vision. The game does not just make it harder for you to move, or harder to attack though; the game actually screws up your visual display so its like your own vision is messed up. Other attacks may cause 'glitches' where your screen jumps in and out. Overall, I thought the integrated HUD did a great job of immersing you in the world and it was probably one of my favorite narrative elements in the game. – alexbolano92 6 years ago

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