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Video Games: A New Form of Storytelling

December 21, 2018 • General Interest

Storytelling is an art that has been around for centuries. The earliest forms of storytelling relied on spoken words and, for some ancient cultures; rock art may have been a way to share. Storytelling has progressed beyond oral stories and art. Nowadays, storytelling can be found in a variety of media including photojournalism, novels, and even video games. Yes, video games. If you aren’t someone who plays video games, you may not realize that within games are stories. That doesn’t mean all video games have good stories, but the art of storytelling is definitely present in most.

Storytelling in a different way

Have you ever read a novel and wished you could change the protagonist’s fate? Or, watched a fantasy film and wanted to be a part of that world? You’re not alone. Unfortunately, we have no control over what’s occurred in a novel already printed and we can’t insert ourselves into a film’s narrative. While we can pretend and imagine ourselves as characters in different worlds, it’s certainly not as immersive as we want it to be. It doesn’t feel the same.

Luckily, video games have made that dream a reality.

Certain games, most notably role-playing games (RPG), allow players to make choices, which will influence the outcome of the game. This type of game provides players the opportunity to immerse themselves in the world and to create a character of their choosing. Bioware, an Edmonton-based video game developing company, is well-known for role-playing video games.

Recently, God of War won the Best Storytelling award at the Golden Joystick Awards. The game, developed by Santa Monica Studios, has an incredibly compelling storyline. If the reviews are anything to go by, the storyline arguably lives up to its previous instalments. The newest addition to the franchise follows Kratos (the protagonist of the series) as he begins a new journey with his son, Atreus. Throughout the game, you learn more about Kratos and Atreus, and are able to witness their growing relationship.

Visualization is part of the story

Of course, storytelling goes far beyond the plot that is written by the wonderful creative team. It also involves the world in which the game is set. Creating an immersive world is a task undertaken by the World Designers and various other staff members. By using their imaginations and research, they can construct digital worlds to fit the story that is being told. Through world-building, a story outside of the main plotline is formed and becomes one that players can explore.

Did you know that each game, depending on the company, runs on a different game engine? For instance, Dragon Age: Inquisition (2014) and Mass Effect: Andromeda (2017) were based on the Frostbite 3 engine while Red Dead Redemption (2018) was based on the Rockstar Advanced Game Engine (RAGE). Game engines are necessary to construct games for different platforms, such as PlayStation and PC.

It’s a little difficult to explain the beauty of storytelling in video games unless you’ve played through one. If our explanation didn’t capture your attention perhaps David Cage, creator of the role-playing game: Detroit: Become Human, can.

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