Gaming in many ways is another medium that requires writers, and yet the approach to story telling in writing is unique and quite different as opposed to traditional storytelling via books. I propose an article that might entertain looking into the deeper facets of story and writing in the gaming industry and the unique approach that is taken in completing a script as opposed to traditional writing. Focus could be placed particularly on discussing the need for adaptability in characters, characterizing empathy and emotion within a character as we follow them while also playing as them, the duality of the protagonist and the gamer etc. which while coming naturally in traditional writing, have to be balanced against what is possible within the given game dynamics
Love the topic! May I suggest profiling Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery as part of the article? I'm an avid player and enjoy a lot of aspects of the game, including story. But I also find that the writing is somewhat lazy, and a lot of my fellow players complain that the story has dragged out way too long (because chapters aren't released every week, so there can be 2-3 weeks that you go without information and get a side quest instead). I think HM lends itself well to analysis. – Stephanie M.3 years ago
I mostly only play video games that have a story too it. I don't game much nowadays due to school, but I always like the first and second Bioshock games. Red dead redemption is good for this too. Just wanted to throw some games to consider. – AbeRamirez3 years ago
If I may, I think that The Last Of Us (part I and part II) could be interesting to analyze in such an article. (Interesting topic, by the way!) Indeed, Part I won numerous prizes and was, among others, acclaimed for the quality and emotional depth of its storytelling, while Part II deeply dived the fans, mostly because of its writing and narrative choices. (Such an analysis may be the theme of an entire article, but perhaps the subject could still be evoked in the article related to the current topic!) – Gavroche3 years ago
Additionally, exploring the impact storytelling has on the gaming experience and how it can shape the player's perception and experience of the game could provide valuable insight for both writers and gamers alike. As the gaming industry continues to evolve and expand, understanding the nuances of storytelling within this medium will become increasingly important for both the development of games and the enjoyment of players. – Beatrix Kondo7 months ago
Outer Worlds, made by Obsidian of Fallout New Vegas acclaim, is a open world RPG where you exist in an alternative universe where capitalism is even more unregulated than it is today.
Within the world of OW however there is little to be said in response to capitalism. In a future where "science" is good on it’s face, marauders commit crimes because crime, and the world itself is limited by the imagination of the writers, what is displayed is a critique of the world not for ideological reasons but for practical and efficiency reasons. That is to say, Outer Worlds can lead the player to see some damning indictments of capitalism, but it will never allow for anything in game aside from a moderate reformism.
And that is a curious line to draw. What indeed can be said about advancement for advancement’s sake when the human cost both in universe and out is seen as only worthwhile if it’s apolitical. Where revolution is on its face dismissed for it’s idealism, but "progress" is revered for making the future better.
The Outer Worlds is made by Obsidian Studios who are well-known for their previous RPG Fallout: New Vegas (2010). This game's fame, I would say, is well received due to the true moral choices the game presents you with - no faction that the player character can choose to side with is ever inherently "good". Because of how the game shows you the consequences of your choices and actions, the theme of centrism may be seen as portrayed in a positive light here - if no faction or ideology is desirable, the game seems to say, why pick one at all? – Tristan12 months ago
The premise is flawed. Ideology is how you understand the world you exist in.
Likewise, the game world is created by people who either don't understand some of the ideologies or are actively hostile to any critique of capital that isn't framed exclusively around its grossest excesses. – Sunni Ago11 months ago
I did a bit of research on ‘The Witcher III: The Wild Hunt’ last year while preparing to write a piece on the Video Game industry and its treatment of minority groups. The Witcher, of course, is written by Andrzej Sapkowski who is very obvious about what types of groups are being discussed, even if allegorically. I picked on the Witcher because it is among many of the power fantasy narratives that come with the genre.
There are currently several iterations of Geralt of Rivia, and similarly, this trend can be seen in The Last of Us and God of War. Our protagonists are fathers first, and the plot follows this innate connection between parent and child.
I’m interested to see where this came from? To what extent is it really a trend, or just a few notable additions to the AAA RPGs?
The Lone Wolf, and Cub Saga 1976, The Last of Us 2013 Until Death do Us Part 2006, Leon the Professional 1994, True Grit 2010, Berserk (after the golden age arc) Resident Evil 2 1998, and honestly God of War 3 2010 (and some of the spin off games). This trope has been popular for years, as the young child is almost always paired with an adult with some type of dark past or they are in situation (like a zombie outbreak) where the child is a liability due to them not being able to defend themselves. This usually forces the adult to have a moral dilemma where they have to decide whether they'll to put themself endanger or abandon the child. This trope is usually paired with some type of redemption arc. But, to answer your first question this trope isn't new. I don't know what was the first story to do this trope is, but I can say it predates its modern 2010's trend. I believe the main reason people are noticing it more often now and potentially the reason we are seeing an increased amount of stories using this trope is because its easy Oscar/Award bait as much of the series I've mentioned have won numerous awards. Not saying that awards are purely the reason this is done. But success is a good incentive for imitators. – Blackcat1301 year ago
Maybe "dadification" is not the appropriate term to use here, given its sexual connotations. – T. Palomino1 year ago
I would argue that this trope is not inherent to video games. It also exists in super hero films like Logan. – Sean Gadus12 months ago
Dads in video games have definitely been around for a while. Heavy Rain, Donkey Kong Country (sorta) and The Walking Dead come to mind. It would be interesting to look back at the exact point that dads become a popular inclusion for the medium. Even looking at games where the father isn't the protagonist, but still exists to fulfill their role as a father to the player character, such as Final Fantasy XV. – GagePatte0010 months ago
This article will analyze the growing trend of game developers and publishers moving towards subscription models instead of one-time purchases. Examples: Apple Arcade, Google Stadia, Microsoft’s Game Pass (old, but now more aggressive than ever push towards subscription-only titles and removing one-time purchase options swifter than ever), Ubisoft , EA Play, PlayStation Now. Studios with a single game or franchise are also going the subscription route. Is this good? Bad? Subscriptions of the Game Pass, for example, have increased by millions in the last year. And it’s true that indie games, when they come to Game Pass, earn more than they could ever make solo. Xbox Game Pass is a unique case which will need its own section here. Instead of subscribing to a service that gives free delivery (like Amazon) or TV shows (like Netflix) – a game can be anywhere from 20 hours of fun for hardcore games or 1,000 hours of play and replays – how is it fair that you pay less than I do for the same game in this case? A headline: "GDC has released its annual State of the Industry survey of 4,000 developers, over one-fourth of which were concerned such models would devalue games." Another topic to cover is games-as-a-service (or more broadly tech-as-a-service) models being adopted by videogame publishers and developers. Even gaming hardware seems to be moving in that direction, with Nvidia providing subscription to RTX 30-series gaming capabilities instead of actually owning a video card. Starting from newspapers and magazines; then moving to TV shows, movies, and software; and now to games – subscriptions seem to be the way forward. But is it really better to have a monthly subscription to play games than to own the games and judging by the current pace of things, even renting your hardware and not owning it?
A couple of articles here in The Artifice have already explored similar problems (micro-transactions, in-app purchases, and yearly-releases) in the gaming world. The progressive increase of an economic model based on subscriptions in the video game business can be an interesting topic to explore, as long as it frames the phenomenon in larger and more meaningful terms than “good” or “bad.” The question “Is adopting the subscription model in videogames development good or bad?” needs to be reformulated. Good for whom? Bad for whom? It is certainly good for the business. It might be good or bad for consumers, depending on what they get from the deal. But and outstanding article about this topic would need a stronger and more daring approach. – T. Palomino1 year ago
"This is the Police" was a top down simulation game, in the vein of Sim City where, you play as a police chief. It happened to be released during the rise of Black Lives Matter and Gamergate, but went out of its way to say it was "not a political game but a human one", or at least that is what the developers claimed.
This is the Police, as game has a fail state, you have to make certain decisions or the game will end. In the case of your player character you are fired or killed for making decisions that could or would be read as moral, for example, not firing certain officers for their race or investigating crimes that mafia members don’t want you to.
Hannah Arendt, wrote of Eichmann, how he wasn’t amoral, wasn’t a monster, and instead of how ordinary he was. How his motivation to send millions to their death wasn’t motivated by sadism but shallowness and carelessness. He didn’t think of the consequences of those actions.
Within the narrative of This is the Police, the player is faced with various situations were their own morality may come into conflict with the story. And that should be examined as even if the game is "not political" it does reflect a volatile political situation.
Why are you as a player character rewarded for being corrupt? Examinations of police corruption merit discussion but the game seems more than comfortable in presenting the idea of corruption without inspecting it. It’s the nature of the system and as such is immutable.
This gives room for analysis of the actions the game forces you to take, why are those the only possible actions, why were some scenarios added and why not others? Moreover, what does it say about this "human game" as per the developers and its commentary on the nature of humans?
Fire Emblem, a pre-eminent franchise in the strategy RPG genre, has long worn its tropes. The rightful ruler in exile, fighting an evil empire with a color cast of allies and in the end bringing justice, order, and balance back to the world.
Within the franchise however there have been times, were the player, knowingly or not has played less of a liberator, and more as conqueror in their own right. Notable examples of this are in Fire Emblem Gaiden and it’s remake Shadows of Valencia where the male protagonist Alm, settles the entire continent as its Emperor. Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest also sees the player character, Corrin, take the role of conqueror, at the behest of the Evil King/Slime Demon Garon. Throughout the story the player is constantly exposed to the truly villainous nature of the Nohrian conquest but at no point is their an option to rebel and the ending resolves with Hoshido, a now conquered land acquiescent to the new high king on the promise that relations will now be warmer.
A key flaw in the narratives is the player’s agency is completely absent. To win you must conquer and while some justification are offered, it could be argued that they’re insufficient compared to the players actions. You conquer because that is the objective of the game, the impact of that on the people is immaterial, inconsequential and that’s an extremely interesting writing decision.
Is there a such thing as a justifiable conquest?
Agree with first person; interesting topic; the only thing I would do is keep all wording in 3rd person. Take out you so the writer can remain objective in their writing. – Montayj791 year ago
I would love to see someone discuss Fire Emblem: Three Houses as well. – Sean Gadus1 year ago
Video game adaptations have been in a slow but steady trend. It’s produced under a variety of important factors such as storyline and fanbase that can make or break the adaptation. League of Legends’ Arcane, produced by Netflix, not only succeeds the expectations of longtime LoL and Runeterra fans but also captivates the interests of the non-gaming audience. Its release reignited both adaptations and animated media into what video game lore can achieve.
Analyze the thematic aspects of Arcane that contributed to its engagement and how it relates to the lore of Runeterra, especially since LoL is not an action-adventure game. Take into consideration that Riot Games also has a history of well-made cinematics for promotion of game updates, events, etc.
You can also explore the relevance (and perhaps, risk) of the fanbase in adapting Arcane. Riot Games is known for its heavy fanservice and focus on its community. Is Arcane a gift to the LoL fans? And of course, how has Arcane effectively introduced LoL to a new market? Has it affected the toxic reputation of the game, or has it enticed new players to join?
Castlevania is the other great video game adaption, but both Arcane and Castlevania debuted on Netflix. – Sean Gadus2 years ago
It’s literally become a meme at this point; top text saying "oh this indie RPG uses pixel art and is really an allegory for depression-", accompanied with a gif or short video of somebody leaving a room or closing a door. It’s certainly not an idea that spawned from nowhere; LISA The Painful, OMORI, Yume Nikki, Celeste, just to name a few, all have strong themes of depression or mental anguish of some sort as their main focus. And there seems to be a consensus amongst some gamers that it’s beginning to become unoriginal. Just two days ago my recommendation of LISA was shot down by a close gaming buddy, on the grounds that it’s "just another indie game about depression". But is this negative reputation deserved? Are these games just treading old ground, or do they still have more to say about mental health, a topic that is becoming all the more relevant in an age dedicated to squashing the stigma? And even if they don’t, do they still have value in our modern gaming landscape?
I would argue that there are so many indie games, with such diverse such matter, that the amount of games listed above would not rise to the level of "over-explored". – Sean Gadus1 year ago
I've seen memes about 'indie pixel rpgs about depression/mental illness' myself, and personally I think it's an overstated connection. Yes, there are a number of indie games about mental illness, but I've seen a few comments making this statement about games that don't really fit these categories. After all, even the meme you mentioned doesn't apply to all your examples (Celeste is pixel art, but not an rpg). Also, while there are a number of games about depression and mental illness, they are not the only well-tread topic in indie games. – AnnieEM1 year ago
In an interesting parallel, I find that many Twitch streamers are tagging their streams with "anxiety", "depression" and other words associated with mental health. While this *could* be seen as trying to capitalize on the stigma, or to be "edgy", I feel that this possibly means that consumers are looking to have honest conversations surrounding these topics and are seeking safe spaces. I think that the past few years have really pushed the need for this initiative. In response to this, I feel that indie game developers want to produce and share their own versions of lived experiences with these conditions, in order to further encourage the dialogue. This is most likely much easier to accomplish in the indie scene, for sure. That could be wishful thinking, but regardless, I feel that indie games with these themes haven't unbearably oversaturated the market yet. – MadamNarwhal1 year ago