The Buried Story: The Art of Supplemental Storytelling

Ever since the days of Resident Evil on the original PlayStation, I’ve been a sucker for a video game’s ability to tell stories beyond the narrative right in front of you. Many mediums, such as movies, comics or even traditional literature, have the theoretical ability to sneak in tales about people or locations that aren’t relevant to the main narrative, but video games have a decisive advantage in the extent to which this can be done. Continue reading

Choose Your Own Adventure: Player-Influenced Narratives

With the exponential evolution of narration and story development in video games since the turn of the millennium, the gaming community has grown more sophisticated and demanding in terms of storytelling. Arguably, the most severe criticism hits games where there’s more than one possible way the game can play out – in other words, games that feature some sort of choice available to the player. Continue reading

House of Troubles: Is Bethesda’s “Free Pass” Justified?

Since the turn of the millennium, Bethesda Softworks and their development branch Bethesda Game Studios have gone from an eccentric yet ambitious company, with their own unique visions and goals, to a massive player in the western video game industry, whose name is recognized on the same level as the best of them; everyone invested in the scene knows what they’re about, and especially as a developer they’ve achieved huge popularity and renown. Their development résumé consists essentially of two franchises: The Elder Scrolls, created by Bethesda themselves, and Fallout, acquired from Interplay. Both of these franchises are among the most popular video game series in existence, generating quite a bit of buzz with every new title that’s launched or announced. Continue reading

Agoraphobia: The Decline of Open World Games

Over the past decade or so, the Open World format has steadily increased its penetration of the video game scene; starting with role-playing games whose nature included such vastness and openness in the game world like The Elder Scrolls series, eventually the number of new games with Open World sensibilities increased noticeably, and existing series began to adopt those features as well.

More linear games like Metal GearFar Cry and the Arkham series of Batman games developed from being fairly straightforward, guided experiences into what we saw in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom PainFar Cry 3 and 4, and Batman: Arkham City and Arkham Knight. The reason should hardly surprise anyone – it’s the supply to the audience’s demand. My argument, however, is that the tide is well on its way to turning around, changing the landscape of Triple-A games in the next few years. Continue reading

The Forgotten Game of the Year: Pillars of Eternity

As the end of the year draws nigh, the discussion about the best game of 2015 is becoming more relevant by the minute. The gaming community now has a pretty good feel on what the year has to offer, ranging from spectacles such as Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain to apparent disappointments like The Order: 1886. It’s curious, though, that the favor of the general audience appears to lean a bit towards games released late in the year – as if their memory can’t quite reach as far back as last spring. Continue reading

Center of the Universe: The “Chosen One” Concept

I consider myself an enthusiast of role-playing games, particularly classic, dense, story-heavy western ones. I regard Baldur’s Gate one of the most defining games of the western RPG genre, and The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind is one of my favorite games of all time. Being exposed to the genre quite strongly, I would say I have a pretty decent understanding of the composition of a typical game of this kind. But even with lesser experience, one can probably distinguish some of the common elements in role-playing games with ease. Continue reading