In the land of sequels, reboots, and remakes it’s beginning to be difficult to see anything having a definitive and decisive ending. We stretch out experiences for as long as we can. At times it can enhance a story to build upon what’s already there. Or it can be at the detriment of an already solid experience. Video games are the perfect entertainment medium to keep coming back to for new missions and boss fights to face at any time. Games like Destiny, Overwatch, and Fortnite are wildly successful because they’re games that don’t have an “ending” in any traditional sense of the word. Instead, they’re video games that are great for short bursts of gaming with the occasional new maps, characters, or events to participate in every few months or so. But as huge and popular these games are, does this mean we’re beginning to move away from video games that are mostly singular and conclusive experiences?
The best stories told are the ones that manage to hold and keep your attention until the very end. All writers and lover of stories know this. It’s what separates a good story from a bad or mediocre one when it remains firmly imprinted in your mind for months or even years later. Playing video games with an emphasis on story and narrative is no different. You have to have a really strong plot and characters to keep players playing. What makes a story even better to play is when you have no idea what direction it’s headed in or it’s full of surprises you never see coming. Life is Strange is one recent example of a video game that manages to keep its players engaged and invested in the story and fates of their characters.
A key component in video games or any kind of media we enjoy to partake in begins with a writer and a story. The characters and the world they exist in wouldn’t be possible without one person or a team of people in the writer’s room brainstorming and building the kind of stories they wish to see. In order for a story to have life, you’ll need to know the history of the world you’re creating, the personal struggles and triumphs of your characters, or the current issues concerning their world. Playing video games tend to reveal most of what you need to know as you experience the game. The rest that isn’t central to the story often wind up in a game codex.