The Merits and Drawbacks of Traditional Storytelling in Videogames

hanselthecaretaker

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There's a story.
But if it's about Kratos sulking in woods for 100 years, and slowly coming to terms of what a monster he was(which i assume how it happened), then i don't know how much of a riveting gameplay you can make of that.

It would be fun if the other characters in the game were aware or became aware of what he’d done. Like Atreus, Freya, Thor, Odin, etc. Atreus would probably not quite know how to process it, so that would be delicate ground to tread.

However, the Norse pantheon should have reason to be shaking - or at least quivering - in their boots unless they’re flat out stupid. And for the love of God, I hope they don’t go the “capture son and use him for leverage” trope in order to enrage Kratos. It doesn’t get much more tired than that. I don’t think they will, at least to any significant degree; maybe a survival exercise for Atreus about what to do in a precarious situation, but not the focus or drive of the game. Just no.

Other little things like how did the urn with his visage on it get there, or who would’ve cared enough to make it? Fill in some gaps. Is Athena still really alive and kicking, like when she “visits” Kratos, or is it all in his head? Probably the former, but does she still pose a threat in some way? How has she adjusted to being left with a blank sheet of paper in Greekland?
 

MrCalavera

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It would be fun if the other characters in the game were aware or became aware of what he’d done. Like Atreus, Freya, Thor, Odin, etc. Atreus would probably not quite know how to process it, so that would be delicate ground to tread.
I'm talking about the period between GoW 3 a 4. Before Kratos got himself acquainted with Freya etc. Possibly before Atreus was even born.
 

Dalisclock

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Frankly all RPG franchises where you follow the same character have this problem. You either have to keep powering down the protagonist so the player can enjoy the act of leveling back up (which is one of the major components of an RPG experience for a lot of people), or you follow someone else's story in the same universe, where it makes sense for them to be at level 1.

I personally would like to see option 2 more often, as I enjoy legacy stories, but most people lose their shit if you even hint at not letting them play their favorite waifu/husbando protagonist from the previous installment. *shrugs* Just the nature of the beast.
I know, it's just kind of ham handed at times. The Witcher never really explains why you level down, though some games at least do something like you were critically injured and lost all your stuff. I found this an amusing take on the whole thing.
And in the case of MGSV, All your stuff got blowed up and Big Boss is off having fun with all his skills leaving you to live a delusion.

Prequels can be particularly awkward, since finishing RDR2 leaves John with $20K and no debt, as well as all of arthurs stuff and his dead-eye skills but he starts RDR broke and with a single crappy handgun. And he *STILL* hasn't gotten Uncle to leave.

Yeah, you heard me, one of the biggest questions neither Red Dead Game answers is why does anyone put up with uncle and his L U M B A G O for as long as they do?
 
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happyninja42

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I know, it's just kind of ham handed at times. The Witcher never really explains why you level down, though some games at least do something like you were critically injured and lost all your stuff. I found this an amusing take on the whole thing.
And in the case of MGSV, All your stuff got blowed up and Big Boss is off having fun with all his skills leaving you to live a delusion.

Prequels can be particularly awkward, since finishing RDR2 leaves John with $20K and no debt, as well as all of arthurs stuff and his dead-eye skills but he starts RDR broke and with a single crappy handgun. And he *STILL* hasn't gotten Uncle to leave.
Yeah some games at least try and justify it, but for franchises like GoW, it becomes something of a joke after what, 8 titles? Oh look Kratos died, and sent to Hades, and claws his way back out, and gets a new set of blades of *insert word for this game*. ME 2 at least justified it that you were literally rebuilt from death, so you were essentially back to factory default settings.
 
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hanselthecaretaker

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I'm talking about the period between GoW 3 a 4. Before Kratos got himself acquainted with Freya etc. Possibly before Atreus was even born.
Yeah it deserves and needs to be bridged to some extent. It could help give context and weight to what’s happening now.
 

happyninja42

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Yeah it deserves and needs to be bridged to some extent. It could help give context and weight to what’s happening now.
It really doesn't need it. Just like we don't need a minute by minute breakdown of what Yoda did between Revenge of the Sith, and when Luke shows up on Dagobah in Empire Strikes Back. The character went into a state of wandering/self isolation. He's a god, they do that kind of shit in mythology. Eventually, over a century later, he encountered a woman who sparked an interest in him to take part in stuff to some degree. Cue the part that's actually worth making a video game about. I mean are you guys incapable of just filling in the blanks of a story transition that summarizes things as "he basically didn't really do much other than mope and wander and feel bad about what he did, until the part we're actually focusing the story on" ? Do you need to see every Fortnite match that Thor took part in, during the time between Infinity War and Endgame? Do you need to see every counseling session that Captain America went to? Do you need to see every date and sexual encounter that Tony and Pepper had that led to the having a daughter? No, because it's not important to the immediate story.


Plus, seriously guys, the game CLEARLY indicates that there is going to be some time travel looping stuff going on, what with Atreus holding Kratos' dead body as he is giving birth to the world serpent (which already happened, so thus the past), which means we will be playing in the time period you want to have explained. Or at least some of it. So it seems they already planned to at least give us a highlight reel of the past, at least where Kratos and his wife are concerned. That's my theory anyway.
 
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Adam Jensen

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Just like we don't need a minute by minute breakdown of what Yoda did between Revenge of the Sith, and when Luke shows up on Dagobah in Empire Strikes Back.
Yoda is not the protagonist, though. And I really never, ever understood the fascination with him as a character. Just an old and wrinkly green little shithead.
 

Gethsemani

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Yoda is not the protagonist, though. And I really never, ever understood the fascination with him as a character. Just an old and wrinkly green little shithead.
Yoda's first appearance was pretty iconic at the time. His whole mischievous trickster act to see if Luke could see beyond appearances coupled with how very much he didn't look like a mentor type character yet harbored surprising depth in his teachings was what sold the character. His return in TLJ is also memorable for the fact that he didn't forgive Luke nor imparted more wisdom, but basically told Luke that he had to get his shit together if he wanted to win.

Then everyone missed that the clever part about Yoda was how he was a subversion of the standard mentor archetype (and Luke the same thing for the apprentice/trainee archetype) and just viewed him as a badass with massive force powers, yo. Yoda is one of those characters that is interesting in ESB and TLJ because less is more and the mystery surrounding him makes it seem as if the character has depth, but the more you explore the character the less interesting it becomes.
 

happyninja42

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Yoda is not the protagonist, though. And I really never, ever understood the fascination with him as a character. Just an old and wrinkly green little shithead.
He's the wizened, trickster mentor trope. Pretty common in storytelling. YMMV on enjoying that type of trope, I certainly have tropes that annoy the shit out of me regardless of how they are utilized.

And sure, Yoda isn't the protagonist, that was ONE example of several I gave, that all had a transition of time that is skipped over, and the rest were very much protagonists. But ok, what about all the time between Empire and Return? Do you demand a daily log of what Luke was doing? I mean he just shows up being all dark robes and spooky in Jaba's palace, but hey, we don't see everything he did that led up to that. And fuck any books/comics that tried to retcon that shit, I'm talking about the actual installments of the franchise that people give a shit about. Same with GoW.

Then everyone missed that the clever part about Yoda was how he was a subversion of the standard mentor archetype (and Luke the same thing for the apprentice/trainee archetype) and just viewed him as a badass with massive force powers, yo. Yoda is one of those characters that is interesting in ESB and TLJ because less is more and the mystery surrounding him makes it seem as if the character has depth, but the more you explore the character the less interesting it becomes.
I wouldn't say he's a subversion, so much as just a different archetype. He's the "trickster mentor" the Rafiki from Lion King. The Monkey King, Coyote Old Man, basically take your pick of a plethora of characters that used deception and trickery to teach a protagonist a lesson. Yoda is that.
 
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Gethsemani

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I wouldn't say he's a subversion, so much as just a different archetype. He's the "trickster mentor" the Rafiki from Lion King. The Monkey King, Coyote Old Man, basically take your pick of a plethora of characters that used deception and trickery to teach a protagonist a lesson. Yoda is that.
I wouldn't really call him that either. He starts out as a trickster to test Luke, but after he reveals his true nature he's not very tricky but rather incredibly straight forward in what he teaches. Which is why I see him as a subversion: He's not a trickster but he's not a downright old, wise man archetype either.
 

hanselthecaretaker

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It really doesn't need it. Just like we don't need a minute by minute breakdown of what Yoda did between Revenge of the Sith, and when Luke shows up on Dagobah in Empire Strikes Back. The character went into a state of wandering/self isolation. He's a god, they do that kind of shit in mythology. Eventually, over a century later, he encountered a woman who sparked an interest in him to take part in stuff to some degree. Cue the part that's actually worth making a video game about. I mean are you guys incapable of just filling in the blanks of a story transition that summarizes things as "he basically didn't really do much other than mope and wander and feel bad about what he did, until the part we're actually focusing the story on" ? Do you need to see every Fortnite match that Thor took part in, during the time between Infinity War and Endgame? Do you need to see every counseling session that Captain America went to? Do you need to see every date and sexual encounter that Tony and Pepper had that led to the having a daughter? No, because it's not important to the immediate story.


Plus, seriously guys, the game CLEARLY indicates that there is going to be some time travel looping stuff going on, what with Atreus holding Kratos' dead body as he is giving birth to the world serpent (which already happened, so thus the past), which means we will be playing in the time period you want to have explained. Or at least some of it. So it seems they already planned to at least give us a highlight reel of the past, at least where Kratos and his wife are concerned. That's my theory anyway.

So basically they are probably doing some of what you said doesn’t need to be done. Something is better than nothing. 150yrs is a lot of time for nothing to have happened, especially if stuff actually, well, did.
 

Adam Jensen

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He's the wizened, trickster mentor trope. Pretty common in storytelling. YMMV on enjoying that type of trope, I certainly have tropes that annoy the shit out of me regardless of how they are utilized.
It was a joke. I don't have anything against Yoda. I just don't really care about him either.

So basically they are probably doing some of what you said doesn’t need to be done. Something is better than nothing. 150yrs is a lot of time for nothing to have happened, especially if stuff actually, well, did.
Yeah. Sequels and prequels were built on less than that. And that is a long time for someone like Kratos to just do nothing. And we know that he didn't just sit idly.
 

happyninja42

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So basically they are probably doing some of what you said doesn’t need to be done. Something is better than nothing. 150yrs is a lot of time for nothing to have happened, especially if stuff actually, well, did.
Yes I agree they are very likely going to do some backfilling of what Kratos was doing, since it seems very heavily implied they will be traveling back in time. I personally don't think they NEED to bother telling us what he did leading up to that point, as it really is irrelevant to the story at hand. Or at least the parts that seem to be what people in this thread want to know. The whole "how did he get from greece to norseland" stuff. He traveled, he did random shit like eat, and sleep, and shit, and just avoid people and try and disengage to minimize his impact on the world. Until his wife met him and drew him back into the realm of the living. I mean, you don't NEED to see that, it's pretty obvious and stated in the narrative of GoW 4. Connecting with her, and having a son, is the thread that pulled him back into actually giving a shit, and it's pretty apparent that the life he had with her, was the only real event of note. Given how little he knows of what she was actually doing behind the scenes, and all the webweaving SHE was doing to set up events after her death, it's obvious Kratos wasn't actually part of that. He was just as surprised by all the reveals at the end as we were. So it's not like Kratos was running around with her doing stuff. It's likely they just lived a regular life, had sex, hunted, fell in love, had a kid, etc. We will see what SHE was doing in the past sequences, but if Kratos was there, and taking part back then, then he wouldn't be surprised in the present. So he wasn't involved. So, again, he wasn't doing anything of note. Except banging a scandinavian hotty out in the woods.

WANTING to see it, fine. But saying that not explaining it is bullshit and it's necessary to spoon feed you every single narrative detail or people will think it's stupid is...well...stupid.
 
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BrawlMan

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And then makes you do it again at the beginning of each game becomes somehow you forgot how to shoot stuff in the brief period between games.

Granted, this is also a problem with the Witcher series as well.
Devil May Cry, God of War, and Bayonetta suffer from this too. It's worse in some ways for DMC, because certain upgrades that were already default moves in past games, suddenly had to be upgrades for no reason. Enemy Step has been a non-purchasable move since the first game, but you had to buy it in 4 (as Nero only, if I remember correctly), DmC (DmC!Dante gets the double jump by default but Enemy Step is an upgrade), and DMC5 (all playable characters have to purchase Enemy Step individually). Ironically, No More Heroes 2 and Ninja Gaiden 2 suffer from this the least. Travis and Ryu kept a decent amount of their upgrades from the previous game. NG3 is a special case depending on the version you're playing. We'll just go with Razor's Edge as Vanilla!NG3 was an incomplete game sold a $60.
 

hanselthecaretaker

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Yes I agree they are very likely going to do some backfilling of what Kratos was doing, since it seems very heavily implied they will be traveling back in time. I personally don't think they NEED to bother telling us what he did leading up to that point, as it really is irrelevant to the story at hand. Or at least the parts that seem to be what people in this thread want to know. The whole "how did he get from greece to norseland" stuff. He traveled, he did random shit like eat, and sleep, and shit, and just avoid people and try and disengage to minimize his impact on the world. Until his wife met him and drew him back into the realm of the living. I mean, you don't NEED to see that, it's pretty obvious and stated in the narrative of GoW 4. Connecting with her, and having a son, is the thread that pulled him back into actually giving a shit, and it's pretty apparent that the life he had with her, was the only real event of note. Given how little he knows of what she was actually doing behind the scenes, and all the webweaving SHE was doing to set up events after her death, it's obvious Kratos wasn't actually part of that. He was just as surprised by all the reveals at the end as we were. So it's not like Kratos was running around with her doing stuff. It's likely they just lived a regular life, had sex, hunted, fell in love, had a kid, etc. We will see what SHE was doing in the past sequences, but if Kratos was there, and taking part back then, then he wouldn't be surprised in the present. So he wasn't involved. So, again, he wasn't doing anything of note. Except banging a scandinavian hotty out in the woods.

WANTING to see it, fine. But saying that not explaining it is bullshit and it's necessary to spoon feed you every single narrative detail or people will think it's stupid is...well...stupid.
You’re assuming to know a lot of what is planned, and panning a large portion of time as being irrelevant simply because the first game ignored it. For all we know the time between Kratos leaving Greece and the reboot might hold major plot revelations for the upcoming sequel. By your logic, Ghost of Sparta should’ve never been a game, because wtf would’ve Kratos done between God of War and God of War II anyways? He killed Ares, then he sits on his throne a while until the sequel starts.

What is this Deimos bullshit?
King Midas? Go fuck yourself!
Kratos’s mother? GTFO!

For the love of god, there’s nothing to see here people!!
 

happyninja42

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You’re assuming to know a lot of what is planned, and panning a large portion of time as being irrelevant simply because the first game ignored it. For all we know the time between Kratos leaving Greece and the reboot might hold major plot revelations for the upcoming sequel. By your logic, Ghost of Sparta should’ve never been a game, because wtf would’ve Kratos done between God of War and God of War II anyways? He killed Ares, then he sits on his throne a while until the sequel starts.

What is this Deimos bullshit?
King Midas? Go fuck yourself!
Kratos’s mother? GTFO!

For the love of god, there’s nothing to see here people!!
The fact that they manufactured more content in a franchise doesn't mean it's necessary. You know how I know this? Because I didn't play ghost of sparta, and it had ZERO impact on my enjoyment of GoW 2. Because again, they TOLD us what he was doing, he was being the freaking god of WAR. The opening shot of him, is him overseeing the spartans attacking some other city. You don't need a freaking prequel to know that.

Besides, the obsessive demand to know all the backfill story, is how we ended up with the prequel trilogies in star wars, which don't actually make ANYTHING better in the franchise. They just shut up decades worth of fanboys who just MUST KNOW how Vader became scarred, and other shit that just really doesn't actually improve the story they are informing.

And yes, I am assuming a lot, because none of it's out. I even said it's my theory. But I can also read narrative intent from what is presented to us. And unless they completely change tracks mid-devlopment (which I acknowledge could totally happen, this is the gaming industry after all), it's pretty clear what the broad strokes of the narrative will be in at least the next game.
 

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Ya know they have done multi-shot games before? The general consensus was that it was bad because it messed with your controls.
True, I know Nier does that.

There's a story.
But if it's about Kratos sulking in woods for 100 years, and slowly coming to terms of what a monster he was(which i assume how it happened), then i don't know how much of a riveting gameplay you can make of that.
Video games need to get away from combat as like the only form of riveting gameplay.

I think it’s a big part of why I never bothered with ME, and have yet to bother finishing TW3. It’s enjoyable enough when playing, but regardless of the side quest quality it’s still quite a slog.

Also, so many map icons...so limited time to see them all.
At least ME2&3 (I watched a ME1 movie as that was an Xbox exclusive when I played the series) are almost certainly the most streamlined AAA RPGs out there, there's like no bloat whatsoever in the games (no open world, barely any pointless quests; it's basically just story quests and character quests). Also in ME3, you start out with a ton of skill points to allocate.

You either have to keep powering down the protagonist so the player can enjoy the act of leveling back up (which is one of the major components of an RPG experience for a lot of people)
That's not even an integral part of an RPG. There's tons of pen and paper RPGs that are one-shots. My Pathfinder group just played a one-shot of the new Alien RPG and it was awesome. And once you know an RPG's systems and whatnot, you can start a campaign with high level characters. Video game RPGs are addicted to standard RPG systems and not the reasons why those systems are even there.

On Disco Elysium,

"I want this game to be the example that people bring up to argue that the term Role-Playing Game, in the context of video games, should not anymore refer to progression systems and XP-bars shoehorned into genres that have nothing to do with the origin of the word."
 

Gethsemani

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On Disco Elysium,

"I want this game to be the example that people bring up to argue that the term Role-Playing Game, in the context of video games, should not anymore refer to progression systems and XP-bars shoehorned into genres that have nothing to do with the origin of the word."
I think the term RPG is too rooted in gamer vernacular at this point for it to suddenly change, an RPG mechanic is anything that has to do with leveling, inventory management or stat distribution, no matter how little that has to do with what an RPG is outside of computer/console gaming. As for Disco Elysium, I think it should be held up as the epitome of a storytelling game. It isn't just a story told at you, it is a story you get to tell with every action you make, even those that don't traditionally directly impact the story, like stat distribution. The fact that Disco Elysium lets your skills take over and decide what kind of Cop you are is awesome but it goes far beyond RPG convention unless your idea of RPG is really experimental stuff like Fiasco.
 

hanselthecaretaker

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The fact that they manufactured more content in a franchise doesn't mean it's necessary. You know how I know this? Because I didn't play ghost of sparta, and it had ZERO impact on my enjoyment of GoW 2. Because again, they TOLD us what he was doing, he was being the freaking god of WAR. The opening shot of him, is him overseeing the spartans attacking some other city. You don't need a freaking prequel to know that.

Besides, the obsessive demand to know all the backfill story, is how we ended up with the prequel trilogies in star wars, which don't actually make ANYTHING better in the franchise. They just shut up decades worth of fanboys who just MUST KNOW how Vader became scarred, and other shit that just really doesn't actually improve the story they are informing.

And yes, I am assuming a lot, because none of it's out. I even said it's my theory. But I can also read narrative intent from what is presented to us. And unless they completely change tracks mid-devlopment (which I acknowledge could totally happen, this is the gaming industry after all), it's pretty clear what the broad strokes of the narrative will be in at least the next game.
Look, I can’t help but want to know more about at least some of the aftermath. Leave me alone! lol

Maybe the time travel stuff will satiate my curiosity, but I just find the mythology jump kinda fascinating. So while I can appreciate leaving some things to mystery, some stuff like Athena’s ethereal presence, Kratos and Faye, just how much the Norse realm knows about him and his past, etc. deserves to be explored somewhat.

And G. Lucas should’ve never started Empire as Episode IV if he wasn’t planning on there being any prequels. I couldn’t care less about Star Wars, but I’ll readily admit that’s just a pompous dick move.