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Do gamers still care about storylines in games?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by snowconesolid, Apr 3, 2014.

  1. snowconesolid

    snowconesolid

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    I don't know if its just me or not but for the past few months I have been caring less and less about the storylines in video games. And this is coming from someone who loves good storylines and plots that really engage people and immerse them in the game world.

    But I don't know, lately I feel like I could care less about the storylines presented in games.I just want to play the actual game. I could care less about the main characters background story or how he/she/it got to where they are in the game and why they are doing whatever it is that their doing in the game. I just want to play,explore through the game world and see what stuff I can interact with.

    So I'm just wondering, how big of a deal is the games storyline to you? Again, to me it tends to be a big deal and I love a great storyline but I just don't care as much as I use to anymore. Maybe its because I have played to many games with good storylines or maybe I just know what to expect from a games storyline these days and just need to wait for something more original to get me back into it.

    I have played a lot of games recently but none really had an engaging storyline. The last game I played that had the most original and engaging storyline plot was Deadly Premonition aka Red Seeds Profile and that was what around the beginning of 2010 I believe?

    I think this might just be a phase I am going through where I don't care to much about storylines. But Idk, lately I just feel bored with game storylines.

    But you know, these days I think gamers in general don't even care about game storylines anymore. Games are always being developed so rapidly now and there are fantastic game releases daily (it feels like everyday the next big thing comes out now) and people are just forgetful. They jump from one game to another really quickly and forget the previous game they played in a snap. One day the latest trending game is swaped out with a different new big hit and the game already feels years old even though it was only released a month or so ago.

    So even for my next game project that I am planning, I don't even plan on focusing to much on the storyline. Sure I will have some short simple storyline or background but I want to focus more on gameplay and more fun and less on plot with my next project.

    I feel like the storyline is a crucial part of the game and it could either bore the player with in the first couple minuets of the game or really engage them if done right. Personally, I like to just get into a game right away and start. I have been playing The legend of Zelda A Link Between worlds recently and I love the approach they took with this zelda game compared to others. Very minimal dialog and cutscenes and the game just pretty much starts you off playing right away instead of going through all this chunky backstory about the princess and the land and the triforce and the evil and so on. Just, "hey something went wrong, take this sword and go" bam the game starts.

    Ok, well that was my little (I guess long) opinion on how I feel about storylines in games these days. What about you guys? do you still care about engaging storylines or do you want to just play the game? do you feel like a good storyline is necessary for your own personal game projects? (Personally for mine I don't)

    Lets hear it.
     
  2. violinbg

    violinbg

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    Well, different people like different things. But I guess it should depend on the game. If I decide to play a point-and-click adventure/quest game - I'd expect a great storyline and that's why I'll play the game. Also you kinda hint that you can still have a good storyline but not bore the player.

    I hate it when I download a Space Shooter game made by a hobby developer and it's full with 2-3 min long cut-scenes. It's a space shooter - I just want to play.
     
  3. XxSaiFxX

    XxSaiFxX

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    Honestly? No, Gamers cares more about Graphics and Gameplay nowadays.

    Think of Battlefield 4(Sorry, i'm fan of FPS), why people like Battlefield 4 multiplayer?
    Good Gameplay + Good Graphics.

    Everyone knows the campaign of Battlefield 4 is so boring.
    The game should always be smooth NOT buggy(example: games made in BGE: buggy).

    Tell me a game that got popular because of storyline? Even GTA have noob storyline...
    Papa getting heart fall, so drive slowly xD. << GTA mission.

    People will rather watch movie than playing a game.(if the game is ONLY focusing on storyline.)

    Remember, Good Graphic + Super B Gameplay will make people play the game.

    Graphics need to be acceptable and gameplay need to be unique.

    Let's say i'm developing a game call xxxx, the game multiplayer is the same as battlefield 4, why will some one choose my game over Battlefield 4?
    unless if my game got something that's better than Battlefield 4.

    Good Luck!
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2014
  4. Jingle-Fett

    Jingle-Fett

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    In the "good ole' days" the storytelling generally took a backseat to the gameplay because of the limited hardware. And if the gameplay was good and fun, you generally cared about the story because it gave context to what you were doing (even if the story was extremely simple). Now that the hardware is good enough to tell stories more effectively, gameplay is taking a backseat to story. And because story is given such a high priority, the gameplay suffers and often treated like a distraction from the story (story is also more production friendly and predictable compared to fun gameplay, and big studios like that)

    In your particular case you don't care much for the story (because lets face it, most of the time the story is crap) and so you want to just get to the actual gameplay...but instead you get a story you don't care about shoved in your face. If the story really was so great, it'd keep your interest. And since they were focusing so much on the story, the gameplay probably isn't as great as it could have been, which further takes away from the engagement.

    For a personal example, I absolutely did not care for the story in Portal 2...until the gameplay actually started. I rather dislike all the flashiness and grandiose of the first couple of chapters and had to really force myself to get through them. It wasn't until the puzzle solving and gameplay picked up about half-way through that I started paying more attention and actually caring about the story.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2014
  5. minguhenri01

    minguhenri01

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    Mm, the Bioshock series is the first thing that comes to mind. Perhaps the Walking Dead games, too.

    -
    IGN released a relevant article a while back, and according to the research quoted there most people don't even finish games, and those who do can't remember much about the plot. So the ideal thing would be to make a game where plot is present, but minimal, so that those who care about it will find it, and those who don't will tolerate it because it's not in their face the whole time. Granted it should be something nice and original, not another zombie outbreak or whatever, though a lot of studios have been creative enough to make over-used concepts like that work, so i guess it boils down to being creative and having a proper balance.

    Some people, though, want to make a plot-driven game despite knowing that (idiots like me.)
    But then again i'm not planning on selling the games i make so i guess i'm allowed to be an idiot.
     
  6. makeshiftwings

    makeshiftwings

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    It depends on the genre and the target audience. Racing and sports games usually have zero plot. Multiplayer FPS's and puzzle games can get by with very little. But adventure games and single-player RPG's tend to rely on it pretty heavily.
     
  7. [RV]CWolf

    [RV]CWolf

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    Like a few of the guys have said, I think it does really depend on the type of game. However, I can only speak about my personal likes, story means everything to me still.

    The whole reason I got into games was due to them crafting stories, worlds and adventures. It's also the reason I got into game development - to return the favour and do the same. In the end of the day, create a game that feels right for you too (backing it up with some research too wouldn't hurt!).

    I can't help but feel that a lot of games with 'story' these days aren't thought through stories, copied / pasted story or are not overly original. Also, again in my opinion, there is a big difference between having a story and being able to tell a story - Bioware games are a good example of this. Mass Effect and Dragon Age games, story terms, aren't anything amazing as such (I love them but it's the hero saves the world trope). What is important is the way they tell the story - that is key. It's what makes those games best sellers and keeps them interesting for a lot of players. Maybe telling a story in a game in a different way would help you?

    Games with story will always find a market audience. If you don't feel like they mean much to you anymore then try your hand without one (or a different twist at telling one). See how that goes =).

    Just my thoughts.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2014
  8. Murgilod

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    Portal, Gone Home, the Final Fantasy series, Chrono Trigger, really ANY jRPG, Baldur's Gate, Fallout, Fallout 2... I could go on for a few hours, really.

    Anyone who says "gamers don't care about story" is ignoring the fact that most games don't make the effort to tell a good story in the first place and even when they do they usually do a S*** job at it because almost all the writers in games are there because they can't get jobs in film.
     
  9. Carpe-Denius

    Carpe-Denius

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    A storyline in a racing game is relatively boring (need for speed.. but driver parallel lines was nice), but other than that I don't play games without a story. Last of us should be a notable example how a story can be told...
     
  10. kaiyum

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    People really forgot to mention "God of War" series. I brought psp, only to play god of war psp exclusive versions. Picked ps2 only for god of war ps2 versions. Also prince of persia series. Might be sound a little bit odd, the 2008 version even changed my game deving life.

    A game without a story is a man without balls, mostly.
     
  11. Deleted User

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    :D, WOW you must have been living underneath a rock or something?. Some of the most popular franchises are story based, have you never heard of:

    Mass Effect franchise? (The epic uproar after the ending?)
    Dragon Age franchise?
    Fallout 3 + NV?
    The last of us?
    Witcher series?
    Skyrim?
    Rocksteady's Batman Arkham series?
    Metro series?

    I could go on listing for ages.

    The problem with storylines is having the same contrived done to death rehashes which your brain already knows how the ending is going to happen before you get into the meat of the game. There has been some really weak attempts at hashing a storyline together recently in the AAA sector, I used to love the final fantasy series and I really think FF13 nailed that coffin shut.

    To the OP, yes people do care but it has to be a good well time story line which is a dying art. So they might as well stick shiny graphics in and bigger explosions in to cover up the fact the plot line isn't up to scratch.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 3, 2014
  12. Deleted User

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    It depends, I didn't find an immersive story anymore recently, last time I think it was with S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and before that Baldur's Gate saga.
     
  13. the_motionblur

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    Give me Metal Slug and I don't need a story but awesome action gameplay.
    Give me Elder Scrolls and I expect a good story and awesome gameplay.
    Give me adventures and I need a good story.

    The general design decides. Just like in movies. Michael Bay movies have their audiences while Art House movies have their audiences, as well.

    A (to some) somewhat controversion thought: "Ailent Hill - Shattered Memories" lived and died with it's story and especially ending. I guess that's why so many people didn't seem to like it. The gameplay wasn't the same any more but the story in the end made up for that, completely, IMHO. From all the people I've talked to none finished it, though. Which is arguably a testament that the story development may not have been as good as it's ending. I this case I'd rather say that players missed the classic vibes, though. ;)
     
  14. Setmaster

    Setmaster

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    Depends on the player and the game, some games don't need stories while other do, some player like story driven games while others don't.

    TL;DR : Nothing is absolute.
     
  15. SmellyDogs

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    Story is important to me, mainly because I play RPGs a lot. Of course a good story is only part of the bigger picture of what makes a great game.
    The Last of Us maybe had a good story but I thought it sucked because the story wasn't good enough to hold up weak gameplay. I could go on and on with similar examples.

    I think with RPG you want a good but not intrusive storyline, that constantly demands you watch its lengthy cut-scenes. You want players to make their stamp and possibly just ignore the main quest line if they want to. But if the main plot is good that will keep player interested in following the quest line and not side tracking.
     
  16. bobochobo

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    Sure multiplayer kills off any storyline, but it's been that way for a long time. Think Halo 1, did people play that online for the plot?

    COD 4 was probably the last fps game I cared about the story in, I thought it was really, really, well-done. Far better than the story lines of the subsequent CODs.
     
  17. Blacklight

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    I still think storylines are important in some games.
    A lot of the time a good story helps to alleviate bad gameplay (although it should not be an excuse for it). I would have never have gone through Spec Ops: The Line or the Portal games if it weren't for the story, and I found that most of Skyrim fell flat for me because of how bland the story and characters were. I think a lot of problems with story these days is that most of the time its done poorly, and stories rarely take advantage of the benefits provided by an interactive medium. Last of Us had a pretty good story, but there was no real reason why it had to be a game, and could have performed just as well were it a book or a movie. A game like Spec Ops, on the other hand, would have lost a lot of what made it so good had it been a film/book.
     
  18. virror

    virror

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    It all depends on the type of game i guess, but for me story is often what makes me play through a game ot just shut it down.
    Interesting story = play-through guarantied : )

    I think one of the issues is that most games nowdays have bad stories, and with a bad story you don't care and just want to play the game. But if you have a really good story that will engage almost any player.
     
  19. casimps1

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    Different strokes for different folks, right? Some people will start mashing buttons as soon as a cutscene or dialogue comes up to get through it as fast as possible and get back to gameplay. Others consider the story the essential reward for advancement in a game.

    For me personally, story can salvage what would otherwise be a boring, repetitive, or mediocre game. I can't tell you how many times that I would've quit a game if not for the story that kept me engaged and wanting to see what happens next. Thomas Was Alone is a great example. There's nothing all that special about the mechanics or the art style or the puzzles. What is special is that it had good writing and fantastic voice acting. That primarily kept me playing for far longer than I would have otherwise.

    Honestly, and maybe this is just because I'm getting older and free time is more and more precious, but I find that nearly every game I play gets repetitive to me at some point and is longer than I'd like it to be (especially FPSes). I am almost always sick of a game by the time I beat it. And in many of those cases I wouldn't have bothered to beat it at all if not for the story.

    Now, I should also mention that when I say "story" I don't exclusively mean cutscenes and dialogue trees. I think of story as the experiential aspects that go beyond mere gameplay. When a game has an old run-down drug store on the street corner with vines growing up the outside walls, that tells a story. When you walk into a room and there's a phonograph playing an old jazz record, that tells a story. When you find those hidden rooms in Portal with words and pictures scrawled on the walls, that tells a story. When you see NPC villagers go about their lives in an RPG as the day and night cycle into one another, that tells a story.

    Story is a tool that makes your game immersive, and immersion is a good and powerful thing. I wonder if you're really just sick of heavy-handed cutscene style storytelling?
     
  20. Blaveloper

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    A lot of people in the west care more about graphics and online play, in Japan they care more about the storyline.
    As a result that PlayStation sells best in Europe while Nintendo dominates Japan.

    It's not always the case.
    While being a European, I prefer storyline far above graphics and online play.
    Even if it's a game with Nintendo 64 graphics, I'll play it as long as the storyline and/or gameplay is awesome.
    The irony, I still play N64 games more often than anything from this generation.
     
  21. violinbg

    violinbg

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    "Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons" was released recently and was the first game to make me cry when I finished playing it. It's all about the storyline there. It also has amassing graphics and unique gameplay. So it seems the market values good storyline a lot.
     
  22. yuriythebest

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    Walking Dead Game series - the gameplay is nothing to write home about and the character movement can be a bit buggy, and the graphics are very simple - the entire thing works because of the storyline (and due to the name/franchise, which is also popular because of the storyline)
     
  23. goat

    goat

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    They will if it's relevant to game play and storyline is the vastly under-utilized aspect of most games and even some television (think Walking Dead) - many games and television is based on the concept Ghoul to be Cool which gets boring fast and ignores all the richness available for life.
     
  24. ShilohGames

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    Good story is important for building a great game. The problem is that designers confuse cut-scenes with story telling. Cut-scenes interfere with the player's control over the game. That is why most people instinctively button mash to get out of cut-scenes and back to game play. Game designers need to find ways to tell the story without stealing control away from the player. Cut-scenes (especially long ones) can ruin game play and immersion.
     
  25. Deleted User

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    Hmmm Interesting, great idea..

    YOINK.. *Run away*

    Anyway, I've already tried to go down this path. It's hard to keep the plot consistent if you talk to someone and event's happen real time then the end user gets bored. Runs away from the key plot NPC then complains he doesn't know what to do or what happened, sure it's not hard to add quest logs but people don't check them that much either :D..

    So yeah, I think toning it down a bit is a little bit better just like Batman did it.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 3, 2014
  26. snowconesolid

    snowconesolid

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    Awesome opinions everyone!

    I agree that if the game has a great storyline it will still find its audience. Like I mentioned in my original post the game "Deadly Premonition" is a perfect example of this. Gameplay was broken, not really original gameplay, (it was like a poorly made resident evil 4 type gameplay) and graphics were weak and looked like an old ps2 game despite the game being for 360 and ps3. (Personally I enjoyed the outdated ps2 graphics look) but the game in general didn't get a lot of respect because of its poor graphics. However, this game had one of the best storylines ever and most original cast of characters and is a personal favorite of mine and inspiration because of that. The game actually did really well and became kind of a instant classic and eventually even received a directors cut because it was in demand.




    I agree with this to. Back during the ps2/360 generation and even during n64/ps1 times storytelling was much better done and more immesrsive despite the quality of graphics. But I think it was more important to have good storylines during those generations of games because they couldn't get the player to be as immersed with the graphics because they just weren't capable of achieving believable quality graphics back then. And also, games where all about single player back then. Sure there was some multiplayer games but they were not as big or popular as they are now. There was no online gaming or friends list or anything to distract you from the actual single player and plot of the game.




    Another good example. Yeah racing games can't achieve good storylines but like you said the different characters that do drive those cars in the game could have little back stories and purposes. I thought of "Twisted Metal Black" when I read your reply. Although its not a racing game it is a car game with car combat. I think this is a good example of fun gameplay mixed with interesting story telling. I actually really enjoyed the individual storylines/back stories that each character in twisted metal black had. Why they where in this competition to win? They each wanted something from calypso. And I believe that some characters stories where connected with other characters but it was not necessarily mentioned. Also the gameplay was fun and because of the various characters this game has a lot of reply value even though you are going through the same levels and doing the same thing each time. But you wanted to find out more about the character you are playing as. So Twisted Metal Black is a really good example I think of story + replayble gameplay. (I kind of feel old bringing up these outdated games)



    Personally I was never a huge fan of the god of war series but I did play through the psp god of war and finish it. I thought it was one of the best psp games ever. I played some of the first one on ps2 and really enjoyed the gameplay and unique boss fights. I know there is some interesting story going on in the god of war series but to me god of war was more one of those types of game I play for the gameplay and not storyline. But just my opinion, I love greek mythology and the stories it offers but god of war wasn't really to memorable to me in terms of story telling. But again, I havent really played throughout the whole series of the game.


    I agree with out one the different styles of games and when a storyline is necessary and when its not. I love metal slug, its fun addicting and very re-playable but I never have any idea whats going on in it (storyline wise haha)

    Interesting that you bring up "Silent Hill- Shattered memories" I completely forgot about that one. I know a lot of fans where kind of dissapointed in shattered memories because it didn't stick to the traditional silent hill games but I personally loved shattered memories. Everything about it. Its actually one of my favorite titles. I thought the storytelling was amazing and very immersive, the world was very immersive as well and I loved walking around it. To me, Shattered Memories was a perfect game and is also an inspiration to me just like how deadly premonition is. Actually, I went back and replayed shattered memories maybe 4 or 5 times. This game had replay value because you can make different decisions during your gameplay and explore different areas that you couldn't go into in your previous gameplays and each decision you make would change the ending of the storyline. So this game was very replayable and extremely enjoyable to me.

    Although there was no combat in the game, no explosions, no driving, nothing fancy or anything I thought it was very unique. So basically the whole gameplay was just walking around with a flashlight from point A to point B and that was the whole game. But I actually really loved this because the game was more about the game world and the game world was ment to be explored in shattered memories. The developers did such a great job creating a detailed game world to just walk around it and it felt really immersive and atmospheric.


    I think in a RPG story is more important because the gameplay isn't really all that fun. Just a personal opinion but I get bored quick with turned based RPG's yet I love games like Persona 2 and Persona 3. I think those 2 persona games have a really well put together storyline and its very enjoyable but the actual gameplay bores me. But thats just me, I know turn based RPG's are extremely popular game types and there is a huge fan base who love them.



    I agree with you here to Virror. If the game has a really good storyline that really hooks me into the characters and world and whats going on from the beginning of the game early on than that is also a playthrough garuntee for me. Which again brings me to my examples of Deadly Premonition and Silent Hill Shattered Memories, both those games introduce interesting characters and an engaging plot right at the start of the game without giving away to much of it at the same time.


    This! I know exactly what your talking about. No cutscene, no dialog but just the presents of the object like a abandoned home or cave being there has a storyline. To really make the game feel alive and immersive characters and other ingame stuff should change. For example, Zelda Majoras Mask (another favorite game of mine and I think is one of the greatest zelda games ever made yet) Majors Mask felt really alive and immersive because stuff was always changing, characters did different things on different days, they had lives of their own and their own storylines going on. Like the whole Anju and Kafie side quest (prob one of the greastest side quest in gaming history), you had to go through a lot to complete that side quest, meet different characters, follow characters around, see what those same characters are doing on different days etc. It felt alive. Same goes for Deadly Premonition (I know, once again I am bringing this game up) but it had this system similar to Majoras mask where you would find characters out in different places and doing different things at different times during the games time cycle. You would come across in game stuff like old houses that look unique and wonder if they have any back story or why it doesn't look like a normal house like all the other houses in the game.



    I wouldn't really say the culture/location (whatever its called) of specific people really has an effect on how much they care about story or gameplay. Just as much people in the west could care about storylines and vice versa.

    The funny thing is that I also still tend to play N64 games more than other newer games on newer systems. I find them more inspirational and original than new game titles these days haha.



    I have heard a lot of great things about Brothers and it looks really unique and original with the gameplay and storytelling. Its all there, graphics, gameplay and storytelling. I need to check it out soon. But yeah that game seems like it was done very right and even if some people didn't enjoy the storyline they might enjoy the gameplay and that might make up for it. So it seems it has succeeded in three major areas of game design and if a player doesn't care for one area, another one of the successful areas of that game makes up for it. You know what Im saying? I kind of confused myself a bit haha.



    @yuriythebest and goat, You two bring up the walking dead game, but I don't know if the success of the game could really count because of the games storyline. The TV series has a major impact on the game and the show has a great storyline and fans of the show will expect a good storyline in the game version but I am talking about game storylines made from scratch, not like based off or similar to the tv series. Like games that have storylines that were written to be for a game.


    Anyway,that was an interesting lunch break. I enjoyed all your opinions. :)
     
  27. goat

    goat

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    Cut scenes should be integrated with game play and flow naturally....they are being cheap, lazy, and un-innovative in avoiding that; it's almost as if they are purposely going for nostalgia sales rather than actually creating new game play. Nostalgia is comforting - new things might not be...but then why bother? The game player can always play the games they already own. That is why games fail with no chance of success - they are attempting to create a nostalgic feeling and it's won't be possible because they weren't present in the nostalgic environment to begin with. So do yourself a favor and try to add an element of a new experience to game play not re-skinning of old game play.

    I need to check out the 2 Brothers game it seems. It seems not only did they do a story line but the actual controlling of game play and flow was innovative.

    The theatrical gestures pseudo-Tolkien language it uses are what I'm intending to use for some games I have planned.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2014
  28. prophet

    prophet

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    For me, the Borderlands series. I like the character interaction and development. I hate FPS's, but my friends like them. This was the first one I played and liked cause of the story. Graphics don't completely overshadow story for some.
     
  29. tiggus

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    Probably one of the most epic storyline games was Planescape: Torment. Awesome writing and engaging storyline(they are working on a new one now). The gameplay itself was fairly lackluster but the art, setting, and story made the game a classic.
     
  30. Heu

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    I only care about a story, if I want a story, and it better be damn good.
     
  31. virror

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    Playing quite a lot of emulator games like Playstation and so. I would take a good story game on PS before a next-gen amazing looking game without a story any day : )
     
  32. Deleted User

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    I have to agree with you the OMG GFX war has really stunted development, it's stunting our development as the art pipeline is taking forever. GFX tech and art takes several times longer than actually making the game..

    So you spend less time on the core features or it'll never get released. Not that I want to go down that path, I can just understand why it is like it is.
     
  33. KRGraphics

    KRGraphics

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2010
    Posts:
    4,489
    I think for me, a great story is still very important to grab the attention of gamers. Aside from game dev, I am also an author working on my second novel, and it is important to give a great story people will pick up and read. My favourite games from the last few years were Max Payne 3 and Red Dead Redemption, and it was because of the story and the detail of the characters that reeled me in, let alone the graphics. And Red Dead Redemption was the only game that has EVER given me a WTF moment, because I felt bad for John Marston, a man trying to shake his past.

    Story is also paramount in the game I am working on, because for me, the characters all have deep stories and background that keep things immersive and makes the player want to know more about them. Also story helps me inspire the design of the character, such as I have an assassin who has a scar on her face... and I want the player to see this character and ask themselves "How did she get that scar?" "What was her childhood like?" "What made her act the way she is now?" All of those elements are important to me, and makes the character feel more believable.

    To me, here are the things that are important to me: Story, Gameplay, and Graphics come dead last...

    EDIT: And let me add that my current favourite game for story telling is The Wolf Among Us... great storytelling and interesting characters. I don't really enjoy games that are filled with cutscenes, it takes away from the immersion for me. THE PLAYER should be part of the story too, keep it interactive. I still remember falling asleep playing MGS2 because of the STUPIDLY LONG cutscenes... I woke up an hour later, it was STILL playing cutscenes.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2014