In narrative driven video games, there tend to be two major schools of thought. On one side you have the “old-school” style of thinking in which stories are presented linearly, much like a book or a movie would be. More recently though, we’ve seen many games from western developers featuring non-linear stories. What this means is that the player can have a significant impact on when and how certain events play out in the game.
The most notable example of this style of story telling is BioWare’s Mass Effect series. In those games, players create a character (male or female), choose their appearance, and embark out into a rich sci-fi universe. Not only do players choose the appearance of their character, but they also choose how their character behaves. Every time you interact with another character in Mass Effect, you choose what the character you made will say, and what you say can and will have a profound impact on the game. Players who choose their words carefully can avoid certain conflicts altogether, while a more aggressive style might earn a few more enemies than other players. Sometimes, your actions can even determine whether or not major characters will die.
|An example of the dialogue system in Mass Effect.|