Results 1 to 10 of 10

Thread: Branching storylines or one precise story in narrative driven games

  1. #1

    Default Branching storylines or one precise story in narrative driven games

    When you are playing a narrative driven game do you prefer a branching story where there are lots of ways it could go based on the decisions you make during the game or do you like stories where for the most part everything plays out just one way?

    I just watched a playthrough of Detroit Become Human. Pretty decent story to go through though it definitely does have a lot of head scratching moments (major one is that the game is only supposed to take place in 2038 yet they have robots that run around acting virtually identical to people (we would probably be a couple/few hundred years away from that and not just twenty)). But I can see why they didn't want to set the game too far into the future as they would still want the players to be able to identify with the world. So whatever.

    When I finished viewing the playthrough though I found out that there were like a hundred different ways the game could have ended. Kind of took a bit out of the ending I saw when I found out there were so many other ways it could have finished up.

    So when you play narrative driven games do you like branching storylines like that or do you prefer one of those games where you pretty much only have one story to follow?

  2. #2

    Default

    When it comes to narrative driven games, sometimes I like one precise story. Sometimes I like choices that effect the story in later games in the series. Take the Mass Effect series for example there are a lot of choices the player can make in the first game that can effect the second and third game. One such example is the decision involving the Rachni Queen on Noveria. Do you save her to gain an ally or do you kill her?

  3. #3

    Default

    Linear story but with some open-ended sections and lots of optional detours along the way.

    I think Xenolade Chronicles is my favourite example of story-telling in a game. The main plot is really linear, but you have these huge open areas at each step along the way, so you can really choose how quickly you progress the story. That's different from most of the traditional FF games, because they don't have much to do between main story points (except just battling), and it's also different from open-world story games like Witcher 3, because you can't just go anywhere and lose that sense that you're locked into a particular time, place and situation (which is helpful for adding a sense of urgency)
    Last edited by JJ Strife; 09-08-2020 at 06:09 AM.

  4. #4

    Default

    I really love both. They do different things. Linear narratives tend to have a greater sense of urgency and a stronger emotional impact. Branching narratives, when done right, give you a greater sense of ownership over the story. If I had to pick, I'd say I prefer linear narratives, but it's pretty close.

  5. #5
    Witch of Theatergoing Karifean's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Wandering the Kakera
    Posts
    3,867
    Articles
    1
    Blog Entries
    146

    Default

    Why not both?

    Literally. Making a single powerful narrative out of multiple branching plotlines is what I love about my favorite stories. When They Cry being the perfect example - with the story returning to the same general starting point in each iteration and showing a different side of 'what can occur', all pieces of the puzzle fitting together to form a greater whole. Though the general concept is decently common in VNs, for example Zero Escape does it too.

  6. #6

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Karifean View Post
    Why not both?

    Literally. Making a single powerful narrative out of multiple branching plotlines is what I love about my favorite stories. When They Cry being the perfect example - with the story returning to the same general starting point in each iteration and showing a different side of 'what can occur', all pieces of the puzzle fitting together to form a greater whole. Though the general concept is decently common in VNs, for example Zero Escape does it too.
    Yes, that is a great point. Stories that can pull that off are awesome.

  7. #7
    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Nowhere and Everywhere
    Posts
    18,805
    Articles
    59
    Blog Entries
    25
    Contributions
    • Former Cid's Knight

    Default

    For me it depends on the type of story. If you want something character driven, then I feel you want something more narrative driven. If you want more speculation and lore based, you want to go with something with more branching stories. Yes it's possible to have both, but it's difficult to put that level of commitment to a game without sacrificing something somewhere else.

    I think about a game like Bloodborne, which I love the story, but it just wouldn't have worked as a narrative piece with a talking protagonist. The vibe of the game and the Lovecraftian horror would have been lost. Likewise, I don't feel FF titles like IV and IX would have worked as well if the game sort of gave the player too much power to control the narrative and change the plot. The games would have lost a lot of their narrative punch.

    It's for this reason I've been disappointed with Persona relegating final tier Persona for the final party to social links only, whereas P3 kept them in as a main part of the plot and honestly had a more impactful story for it. I mean watching Yosuke and Ryuji get their final Personas from getting better in their social links, which never impacts the story, pales in comparison to watching Junpei get his in P3 in a moment of despair.

  8. #8
    Feel the Bern Administrator Del Murder's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Oakland, California
    Posts
    41,114
    Articles
    6
    Blog Entries
    2
    Contributions
    • Former Cid's Knight
    • Former Administrator
    • Hosted the Ciddies

    Default

    I like either or both. As some have mentioned, there have been great games that have some very focused branching storylines (Tactics Ogre) that give you choice but also tell a specific narrative. There are others like Mass Effect that have an overall story but let you make a lot of choices as you go. Then there are others like Uncharted in which you are just playing through a defined path and enjoying the ride. As long as the developers pick and focus on their approach, it can be very fun.

    I recently played Last of Us 2 which I feel tried to have it two ways. It let you play two opposing perspectives but didn't give the player any choice on the outcome. In a game about survival and revenge and different perspectives, it did not give the player any choice on how to handle those. It left me feeling empty.

    Proud to be the Unofficial Secret Illegal Enforcer of Eyes on Final Fantasy!
    When I grow up, I want to go to Bovine Trump University! - Ralph Wiggum

  9. #9
    Blood In The Water sharkythesharkdogg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    My happy place.
    Posts
    5,718

    Default

    Another person who likes both. It all comes down to execution.

    Branching stories/multiple stories can leave the player feeling completely enveloped in a rich and varied world, or leave them feeling like the stories are all pretty shallow and under-developed. If you don't like a certain story or character, don't worry, there's another story in there that will probably make you want to keep playing. However, if you really like a certain character, chances are you won't see them enough, or see them develop all that much.

    Single story narratives can really allow for deeper story telling and character development, but if you're not interested in the story or characters it makes the game boring. They've put all their eggs in one basket, and that's always a gamble.

  10. #10

    Default

    Both CAN be good but generally I prefer a single story narrative.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •