Storytelling in Video Games

Video Games allow a player to transport themselves to a different world and do things they wouldn’t be able to do themselves.  Unlike a movie, the player becomes part of the story, watching it play out and directly impacting the game world.  Technology is finally reaching a point where sometimes you can’t tell the difference between a game and a movie and when we reach that point, that will be the pinnacle of storytelling.

I like to make the analogy of the “choose your own path” books from back in the 90s.  You would start a story and then the page would give you options.  If you wanted to go down one path, go to page 9, otherwise, go to page 10.  Essentially, that is what you get in a video game.  Early games and even some games today have a very linear story.  What that means is, you are acting in a story and it is already predetermined and the things you do won’t change the overall story or the ending.  A popular storytelling method now is to go toward an open world or dynamic storytelling.  This allows for the player to dictate the story and to make up their own way through a game.

A great example of dynamic storytelling is Quantum Break.  On top of allowing the player to make choices that directly affect and change the game, they tied in a live action TV show into the game.  The game bounces you back and forth from in-game playing to watching like a TV show.  Another good example is the Game of Thrones Game from Telltale Games.  Again, the game allows you to make critical decisions (just like they have to make in the TV Show) that will have long lasting effects on the characters and the story.  

All of that being said, there is still a place for a Linear Story, as long as that story is done well.  Battlefield 1 is one of those.  The campaign in Battlefield 1 is very linear but it unfolds in a way that gets you invested in the characters and situations.  If you watch the Campaign Trailer for the game, if I didn’t already know it was a video game, I might think this trailer is for a movie.

As we continue into the future we’re going to be seeing more and more games that are like traditional forms of entertainment, movies and TV.  I for one cannot wait.

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EA Access Announced

EA announced a new service yesterday called “EA Access”. The service is akin to Netflix. You’ll be able to play EA Titles for $4.99 a month. Currently the beta is out and you can play: FIFA 14, Madden NFL 25, Peggle 2 and Battlefield 4. On top of being able to play full games, you will also get to save 10% on all XBox One EA Digital Downloads and be able to play up to 5 days ahead of other people. Soon you will also be able to buy subscriptions in retail and online stores.

It sounds pretty exciting but it is yet to be seen if the library of EA Games available keeps up with the pace of releases. Sure, the current offering has some of their most popular games but if the service stays behind the curve, I won’t be shelling out $5 a month.

It is also interesting to note that Sony passed on EA Access saying it was not a good value. (check this IGN Article for more info)

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Battlefield: Hardline Thoughts

After the EA Presser during E3 I immediately went to register for the BF Hardline Beta. Initially I was really excited about the game and the whole concept. I will admit, before playing the beta, I was looking forward to the single player MUCH more than I was for the multiplayer.

After having some hands-on with Hardline my initial excitement has really gone down the tubes. The game itself does not seem very different to Battlefield 4 which at the core makes me wonder if Hardline is really just a glorified Add-on being pushed on gamers as a brand new game. Don’t get me wrong, I think the concept is really neat and I will probably still be interested in the Single Player Campaign but as far as anything brand new in gameplay, look elsewhere.

I will wait to get some hands-on time with the Single Player before dismissing it completely, but as it stands, Hardline is a disappointment.

Check out some gameplay footage here:

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