View Full Version : Lineal or Interaction? The future of videogame stories.

09-30-2011, 10:05 PM
Yesterday I was with a classmate and we start discussing where the future of videogame stories is going and how will it be. He claim that a videogame should always be about interaction, which mean lineal stories are gonna die because don't let the interaction of the player over the story (which is a element on the game). And finally state that lineal stories are going to stay for books or movies, where you don't interact with the story becoming a viewer.

I claim that is wrong, lineal and interaction can live together, we can have lineal games and interactive games, and not because a game is lineal it's going to be bad.

The idea of lineality has become very strong between critics in games, as we have seen, FFXIII had as a mayor critique it's lineality in story and map (I don't see lineality as its flaw, I see the story per se as it's flaw), and many more games are trying to bring the idea of options and impact on decisions, while others don't (ex: red dead redemption). So where is the story of video game going? are we going to be trying to gave option to players to gave the illusion of impact on his decisions? are we going to have those living together? how critique is going to see those differences? how games without story are going to behave? and if those last ones are going to be classified as arcade games, when they can be extremely big and important (like minecraft)?

09-30-2011, 10:13 PM

09-30-2011, 10:13 PM
If a game tells a powerful and compelling story, it can get away with being linear as the player is still eager to follow the character's footsteps and see what happens next.

In fact, I value having a meaningful sequence of events instead of having a ton of choices, most of which end up being inconsequential, pointless or just not worth making.

09-30-2011, 10:40 PM
I think the choices the player makes should be integrated into gameplay. They should flow so seamlessly that the average player wouldn't be able to tell if the story was linear or dynamic.

To answer the OP, though, I don't think linearity is going anywhere. Developers will still want to tell ONE story no matter how far games advance as a medium. The numbers will change as the video game medium grows, but as there are still movies that emulate books without embracing the whole potential of motion pictures, there will still be games that emulate movies without embracing complete interactivity.

09-30-2011, 10:48 PM
Linear games offer a bit more fun imo. non-linear games just add a sense of responsibility for your actions, which is equally fun, but if done wrong just distracts you from the main story. So eh, I prefer linear more often.

09-30-2011, 11:01 PM
Well obviously we all agree that linear games are good, so I'm going to ask something.

Isn't the objective of video games as a media, to be interactive? If my actions don't have consequences on the world or story, then doesn't fail the purpose of the media?

09-30-2011, 11:02 PM
I think Linear games are dealt the burden of having a really strong central plot which is why so many of them fall short in comparison to non-Linear which doesn't put as much emphasis on central plot, so it doesn't need to be super galvanized and polished every step of the way. Actually, non-Linear games tend to have somewhat lacking plots, but mostly because you spend the majority of your playtime not following it.

And "interactivity" is not as you define it. The reason games are "interactive" is because there is player input that receives some sort of output. That is what separates games from movies and most books. You're thinking about interactivity in terms of plot, which is not a requirement and does not make or break a game.

But if you think about games in context of the gameplay, all games are highly interactive. By that, I mean every choice a player makes does somehow affect what happens in the game, beit as simple as losing HP or gaining a few extra points. Take BlazBlue for example. Though BlazBlue has some semblance of a plot, it's pretty loosely strung together and not quite relevant to the actual gameplay. Most games of BlazBlue are hotseated or played online in entirely non-canonical matches of the players' choosing. They are separate from the story. But that doesn't make BlazBlue non-interactive. Pretty much every split second decision you make in that game could win or lose a match.