When you were creating a game, how often would you sit back and wonder what’s the story behind all of this? What’s its purpose?
Well today, I am here to give you more insight into Game Narratives and whether they should or shouldn’t be in your game.
What are Game Narratives?
A Game Narrative is a story or a lore behind your game.
It gives a whole new meaning to your gameplay from what would otherwise be a boring block of code.
It guides your players to feel a certain connection towards your game and its characters.
I mean… think about it!
What is the purpose of a Game Narrative?
Have you ever played a game without any meaning or purpose other than the gameplay itself?
It gets boring and repetitive after awhile doesn’t it?
Just like reading a novel or watching a movie, the Game Narrative gives the players something to look forwards.
It keeps them guessing or trying to figure out how a certain gameplay mechanic functions in reality.
In that sense, the Game Narrative is essentially the icing on the cake. A finishing touch.
How to construct a Game Narrative
Before you begin constructing a narrative, you need to have your core gameplay established first!
You do not want to end up having to change your game just because you’ve discovered that there’s something in your story that does not make sense with the game.
It’s easier to change/add a sentence to a story than to code something.
Both the Game and the Game Narrative have to co-exist!
Once you’ve got that down, good! You’re set to create a story.
Like most novels, you’ll need a plot to begin with.
What are the events that unfold from the moment that player presses the big green button until the end of the game? How do they affect one another? What does the player take from this?
Basically, answer the 5W1H as it will help you in creating one:
It does not matter if you think your game is silly. Just give it a whirl! You’d be surprised at your creative potential.
But with that said, your story must still make sense! Logic still applies to even the silliest of comics.
Now now… as majestic as a Game Narrative might sound for you to decorate your game with, it all comes down to your core gameplay mechanics.
What’s the point of having a good narrative when the game isn’t even fun at all to begin with?
It’s like your players are just consuming pure icing instead of the cake. Sure it’s sweet and all but… it’s no longer wholesome.
Why you should or should not include a Game Narrative
I do not possess any hatred towards games mentioned below, nor do I have the intent of tarnishing their reputation. They are only used as an example by me.
Why you should
Creating a Game Narrative also creates a community for the game.
It encourages your players to explore your maps more in search of the proofs for theories or speculations that they might have.
It could also serve as a marketing strategy for your game.
A good example of a game that does this would be Those Who Remain
Their story focuses on a deadly infection which stemmed from a bacterium.
We don’t know where this bacteria came from as it has never been confirmed by the developers. Therefore, the players would try to speculate and discuss about where its origins might be. Hence, creating a lively community.
I’ve witnessed players walking around the map in search of evidence for the infection’s origin.
The developers of Those Who Remain are clever, as the Freecam mode for spectating a match is locked behind a hefty price of 800
Why would you need a Freecam mode if there is nothing to explore? This is exactly what they want. They want the player to explore as they are inclined to find out more about the game’s lore and in order to do so, they must pay 800
From this, the developer benefits too as players would have an urge to buy that gamepass.
Why you should not
Remember what I said earlier that your story must make sense with your game?
Juggling with code and storylines can really bog you down after awhile and you will get burnt out.
Sometimes, elements of your story might clash with your game and you will leave your players confused.
On top of that, there is also a chance that people might even ignore your narrative altogether!
I’m sure you all have played or at least heard of Jailbreak
but how many of you knew that Jailbreak has a lore behind it?
Yeah… I didn’t know that until I watched a video called the evolution of Jailbreak from 2017-2021
I will not explain the lore in full detail as I am not really familiar with it myself, but…
this shows that your story has a chance to be overlooked by the player as the gameplay can sometimes be more entertaining than its purpose.
All in all… it is really up to you! Do you want your players to focus more on the gameplay or on the game’s purpose? That’s a question you’ll have to answer yourself!
That’s all I have to say! I hope this has been helpful to those who are developing games out there and I wish you the best of luck in your development!
Of course, this topic will be open for discussion and please give me your honest feedback.
This was also my first topic ever created on this forum so I might have placed it in the wrong category or what not… feel free to correct me on this!