Oblivion Designer: Games Aren't Good at Telling Complex Stories Yet


Although many gamers and developers alike are declaring that games need to be telling more open-ended, complex stories, Ken Rolston and Bob Bates figure that's exactly what they shouldn't be doing. Not because it's a bad idea, but because there just isn't a good enough way to do it at the moment.

Speaking at GCDC, Rolston, lead designer for Oblivion, and Bates, author of Game Design: The Art and Business of Creating Games, discussed the difficulties in creating games with complex storylines that gave the player a variety of options. Part of the problem, as Rolston sees it, is designers' "inability to pay off on all the choices that there should be available. It's so difficult to make a genuinely complex dramatic choice."

Bates agreed, pointing out that providing the necessary content to support each and every possible decision the player might make is a "logistical nightmare."

It sounds like game narratives are in an uncanny valley of their own. What we get in games looks an awful lot like genuine open-ended storytelling, but is just off enough to not be truly satisfying.

Source: GamesIndustry & Game|Life

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