Main Characters- our obsession with them has stifled game stories

test is long, but also shortened due to the limitation of red color. It is a complicated version of what I wrote earlier in this subsection, but it contains stronger arguments, much more detail and, I hope, clarity. Poorly summarized in TLDR :

I think character-driven plots abuse the medium and are in extreme contradiction to what games are about. Rather than talking about them, this essay also attempts to establish a framework and language for describing ideal game stories.


In February 2013,

at the top of the D.I.C.E., and corresponded extensively. They talked about cross-platform storytelling, specifically what games can learn from movies and what movies can learn from games. Today we’re telling stories about games with strong, moving and important characters. The characters are an integral part of the story. We focus on the relationships between the characters, on their deep and personal journeys. We also pursue the elusive end goal of the most realistic and natural characters, so that the audience can mistake them for reality.

It also brought us some of the most important questions the industry has ever tried to answer: If there can be games designed for the stand of the game and games designed for the story, what do viewers want from our stories, why do less than half of viewers finish the main story of our games? And why are viewers rejecting our best and most ambitious efforts in this story?

All this happened in the context of an investigation into the fundamental question What is a game? However, we were distracted by the nature of the stories the games tell. By borrowing so many things from cinema, we’ve gone down a strange artistic path. The path I want to explore here.

We are not going to talk about the methods, mechanisms and systems of the game story today. In other words: This essay is not about.

and related principles. While this is important, I think the most important thing is to address the different types of stories we tell.

Two types of modern playing fields

Whenever new games are released, people are often hesitant, aggressive and dismissive of certain games. It’s a movie game, Walking Simulator, and I want to play my games, not watch them. In general, there are vile and tangible replicas like Pink Tinted Glasses and Stop Living on Nostalgia. Silent comments like this are annoying, but overall I have no reason to believe that there aren’t people who really don’t care about these games. Some may think this is a classic front door cleaning, but that’s not a pleasant way to think about it either.

Basically, we can observe stories in which the protagonist (or the viewer) is the core of the whole story. Likewise, we see games that do the opposite, protagonists who, despite their importance, form a kind of background in the story. It has to do with that character’s role in the story. There are two other major categories for how the character represents the audience: Planned (client specific) both as general warehouse character So we have what this character means to the story and what he means to the audience. I mention this because I don’t want to embarrass people – as an industry we have already put a lot of effort into the second issue. This essay will focus on the role of the character in the story and what the story tells the audience. In other words, it’s the difference between a character-centered story and a world-centered story.

I would like to quote J.J. Abrams in the video referenced in the introduction.

If you don’t care about the characters, nothing matters.

He explained that when it comes to film, the top priority for writers, directors and actors is to make sure the audience is invested in the characters. A movie is still a movie to watch, but what story can an artist tell in a movie if the audience refuses to care about the characters? With that in mind, let’s start with a simple question: If we remove the character(s) from the game, is there still a story to explore?

Half-Life is a series that isn’t afraid to take lessons from cinema. There’s a reason Gabe shared the stage with J.J. Abrams in 2013. So with all the inspiration from the film, you could expect the same snide remarks about Half-Life games that were made about, say, The Last of Us. But it’s not, and it can’t just be bigotry for Gabe or Valve.

The Metal Gear Solid series is also known for its cinematic inspirations, with Hideo Kojima being a big fan of Western movies. MGS 2 has about 71 minutes of cutscenes, and MGS 3 almost 5 hours. Given its focus on cinematics and characters, MGS should receive the same criticism, but it doesn’t.

What happens to The Last of Us when you take away Joel and Ellie? Why not remove Vander from Shadow of the Colossus? In both examples, the characters are an integral part of the game’s plot. But without Joel and Ellie, there is no literary conflict in the world. Everything in The Last of Us exists to make us care about Joel and Ellie. However, we don’t have to worry about Wander to experience the conflicts and details of the world of Shadow of the Colossus.

Think about it: If you take Gordon Freeman or Snake out of their respective games, does everything else in the game fall apart? Will there be an interesting story that viewers can relate to? Outside the sphere of influence of the character, there is a bigger picture. The Last of Us (1 and 2) is a long character study centered around Joel and Ellie. If they were removed, there would be nothing left for viewers to discover. There is no conflict.

We see this in games like Horizon Zero Dawn, Hellblade: The Sacrifice of Senua, God of War (2018), Detroit: Becoming a human being, going out, leaving home and living a strange life, among many others. Gamers tend to overlook these games, even though they are among our most ambitious efforts at storytelling in games.

Presentation of the games

If we no longer care about the main characters in the game, is there still a story and narrative to derive from the experience? This is what we can call the author’s presentation. What do some media outlets want or expect from their viewers? What is presented to us in the story that demands our affection?

Some games force us to care about the main characters. If we don’t, there is no story. The world feels empty and there is nothing to keep us interested in the game. Most other games care less about keeping us interested in the characters, and if they don’t, it’s not a bad thing, because there’s always so much to discover in the world that keeps us interested.

Interestingly, it shows us that games can ignore narrative and still have a rich narrative experience for the audience. Surely there’s always a game you can play without a story, and there are games that exist as single player states, like Tetris or Counter-Strike. It should be noted, however, that the characterizations in J.J. Arams’ presentation do not translate easily into game action.

Presentation of games other than video games

People may intuitively agree that we watch sports to see the outcome of a game. My town versus your town. My country against your country. There is a minority of viewers who are interested in a particular athlete, but for the majority it’s about the history of the region the team represents. At the Olympics, it’s not uncommon for an athlete to have a mini-bio detailing everything they’ve endured to get to where they are today. These are our heroes and their journeys. But we’re still here. When a player is traded or joins a new team during the regular season, the press conference talks about the legacy of the team and what it means to play in front of the fans and be with the other players on the team. We listen to each other and invest in something much bigger than a single hero.

This is not a pattern we only see in modern sports or digital games. Board games are not character-specific. There is no narrative value of the chits in Monopoly. The paper and pencil game focuses on a living world that players can explore. Characters are supposed to die, and there’s nothing wrong with someone having to create a new character. It’s about building the big picture, the big story.

Geography, cultures and attractions change over time. Just as in the stories we tell about characters and character traits, we can point to characteristics in stories about geography. The actual narrative content of the representation of an artwork can then give us a content related to the character or, in particular, a narrative about the character and a narrative about the world or a narrative about the world. It is a language we will learn more about.

Characteristics of geographic narrative

We will use the word geography and geographical to refer to the following: Cultures, landscapes, landmarks, biomes, structures and other geographical spaces.

Geographical narratives are the reasons why geography changes and people adapt to these changes, manipulate them or fight them. Geographical narratives do not always start from the same narrative premise, but they often fit into one structure. These stories are based on cultures, geography, cities, ceremonies and legends. Although we can never be sure that the heroes and characters of old stories ever existed, geography has a habit of persisting and leaving traces for many thousands of years, even if the stories associated with it are often stranger than the facts suggest.

The games are filled with geographical elements that evolve over time and tell a story. But ancient cultures also tell similar stories. Some mythological geographies, such as Olympus, Yggdrasil and Asgard, or Camelot, are known by name only. Others are fictional or described as real places, such as El Dorado and Atlantis, but it is true that they are as fictional as their cultural counterparts. But the story of real life and real places doesn’t stop there: Stonehenge, Easter Island, Uluru and the Great Pyramids, just to name a few.

The structure of geographical narratives can be described in 6 phases, divided into 3 parts. The sketches are presented in the form of a line drawing with a beginning, but the audience can be confronted with these stories at any time. There are many models of geographical narratives, but the linear form as presented is most common in educational and scientific documentaries. It is a basic framework that artists can use to rearrange and tell different stories.

rooms Steps Action point
I. Meaning: 1. Possible Ceremony / Boone / Wells / Shrine
2. Evaluation Wealth / Greed / Exploitation
II. Wrestling 3. Conflict Missing part / War / Balance / Alignment
4. Construction Training / Construction / Restoration / Reconstruction
III. Operation 5. Usage . Cultivation / Ritual / Fertility / Protection / Intimidation
6. Does not take into account Visits / Desecration / Abuse / Sabotage


Meaning is often the first part presented to an audience, and that is the moment we discover something or judge its value. The first possible step is to investigate what an object may have been used for – for example, ceremonial, cultural or conservation purposes. The second stage is to understand its value and determine if it is overlooked and if it can be useful to the characters in the story.

For the early builders of Stonehenge, the main question was why they chose this place. It could have been anywhere, but the culture has determined that location is inextricably linked to purpose. Even when it was rediscovered as a natural wonder, we wanted to understand its meaning and know what it is. Meaning thus plays a role in creating something, which is then discovered by the audience trying to understand it.

The potential of geography can be ceremonial, as Stonehenge suggests, or offer benefits, as in mythology and fantasy. It can be a place of fertility, food and abundance, or a place that offers protection from the weather and predators. In the stories of El Dorado, the Spanish conquistadors valued gold, which the local cultures used in their ceremonies. Gold had no monetary value to the people, but the conquistadores also overlooked the region’s rare platinum, deeming it useless. This example of greed, corruption and misjudgment created the myth of El Dorado.


The second part deals with the conflicts between the positions. The third common level is conflict, where characters fight over goods or have difficulty gathering materials. Maybe it’s war, or maybe it takes a massive effort to gather resources to rebuild and understand. The fourth phase involves a construction in which the territory is formed by man, nature or God.

In fantasy, it is not uncommon to have a large but enclosed structure or altar. Conflict is what it takes to resolve it. Sometimes it involves balancing and aligning mystical or magical forces, or gathering the raw materials needed to build. For a more direct form of conflict, the geography or strategic importance of a major power often provides a theatre of war.


Finally, we dive into the daily operational use of the space. In the fifth phase, active use, we see agriculture. We have celebrations or death rituals. We see mystical or magical healing properties and remedies. We see cultures that are aware of this value, and we do what we can to protect it. But we also see moments when people forget the value of the land and it falls into deep oblivion, the sixth stage.

Many real places are forgotten until they eventually become protected relics of our history. In fantasy, it’s not uncommon for characters to find their meaning at this point, which often brings the story back to an evaluation, conflict, or construction.

Less than 50% of key completion indicators

One of the biggest flaws in the discourse on games is the idea that it makes sense to measure the overall experience of the audience by the speed at which certain linear hits or stylistic features are achieved. Yes, less than 50% of the audience finishes the main story in the games, but it’s a pointless and incomprehensible dimension. Intuitively, this means that the audience generally just wants to spend time in the created world. But just so we’re clear.

The 50% rate applies when taking into account people who only buy a game as part of a sale or bundle. It also takes into account people who own the game and play it for a short period of time and then find that the game does not perform to their satisfaction (in terms of FPS, controls or graphics, settings and bugs). If we consider the time commitment argument, we can also consider long-form content as a miniseries. We can show data that more people finish a season of the series than started. The factors are obvious, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that we wouldn’t gladly learn 50% or less to watch a miniseries or movie trilogy. I mean… Bing shows have become a thing for a reason. Are we going to pretend that people don’t have time to play? What people don’t have time or patience for is getting involved in a story that isn’t presented well.

Some art media are better suited to certain presentations. Emotions are an important factor in the presentation of music. Musicians want to connect with their audience and tell emotional stories. While music can be about or inspired by people (Hamilton) or places, it is intuitive that the author’s presentation is lost if the audience is not interested in the harmonies, sounds, melodies or rhythms. Similarly, the paintings use symbols, whether iconography, shapes, colors, and forms, in a way that appeals to the viewer. Talk to the artist. Ask questions about the symbols and discover the artist’s intent. If you ignore the characters, all you see are beautiful scenes, people and places without understanding the plot or meaning.

Interactive spaces are ideal for presenting a story about geography. It also doesn’t mean that all games have to be about cataclysmic, world-changing events. They can be smaller in scale and focused on a very specific part of the world or culture. Shadow of the Colossus is smaller in scale than the big budget games, but it uses that space to tell the kind of world story that appeals to its audience.

In movies, we are used to seeing the world in the background. The characters are central and introduce the audience to the story. It is their actions, or the actions done to them, that precede the story and lead us from scene to scene. Think about it, what would Star Wars be without Tatooine or the Death Star? It’s always good to have strong and interesting settings, but the characters are the presentation of the film. Similarly, games need strong and interesting characters. I suggest reversing the foreground/background of the film and making the characters less important (less influential on the experience) than the areas we have to explore.

I mentioned in the introduction that I would avoid narrative systems in games, but I think it’s worth mentioning now. A game can be an overall story, but bring that story in a way that doesn’t fit the activity of the game. For example, if the game constantly interrupted our interactions to show us abbreviated scenes, it would be like interrupting a song to read out an excerpt from the game. When the film stops during climactic scenes and restricts itself to a still image, it is not what we intuitively expect from a film. Examples abound, but The Witcher games attract such criticism.

It’s not enough to tell the stories of the world in games, you also have to make sure you don’t deprive the player of interactivity. Avoid the classic cutscenes and QTEs that make for a confusing rhythm. There are many such systems that signal to the viewer that we are in a story about a character, even when we are not. It’s not uncommon to hear harsh criticism of games because the way the story is presented feels like a character story.

So if the game is actively fighting us and preventing us from exploring the world, it would make sense that people would immediately quit the game and never come back….. I never had that linear success. Others are just more fun to experience than the main characters. The completion of the story comes from the audience’s awareness of the rules that govern the world. Who’s fighting who? What does a particular geographic symbol mean? Less than 50% is not a bad value. This is not something we need to improve, because the fundamental flaw is the concept itself. Games are discoveries, not passive experiences. Quantifying linear production is not a good way to measure not only audience satisfaction, but also whether they understood and appreciated the world created by the author(s).

I want to talk about how we can apply these concepts in practice. Before doing so, however, it is necessary to review the terminology used above and provide a clear definition of each term.



Refers to the literary style – or the way the author tells the story.

The presentation is primarily about the artist and the variety of themes he wants to show the viewer. Similarly, we can think of a presentation as an audience’s expectation of a particular type of content. It also helps set the pace of the content and determine the audience’s primary interest in the story.

What is an artist or musician above all else? Is the artist drawn to music to make art that expresses that? Or do they start with making music and learn to be an artist, and then adapt the presentation later? There is a specific reason why we work in-house and/or choose a specific medium or platform. It is the presentation of the platform itself, the use and compliance with its rules, systems, methods and materials for self-presentation.

A presentation is a description of the types of stories, ideas and emotions that a particular platform expresses.

  • The music represents the pure emotion and philosophy behind the characters.
  • The film concentrates on the study of characters and the social, economic and political conflicts that accompany them.
  • Games (or interactive media) present worlds, whole cultures and their conflicts, and how this affects or is affected by the characters.

Histories and geographical arcs

In essence, it is a set of properties shared by globally oriented stories. While there are many more things that contribute to these arcs, here we describe a pattern of common stylistic figures for how geography (structures, cities, neighborhoods, land, etc.) prevails, changes over time, is influenced by events, and influences others.

Geographical narratives, in their cyclical nature, are like a pendulum swinging between two phases. In addition, viewers are more likely to be exposed to a story at a random point in the cycle (or at the beginning) than they are to often start at a fixed point. We already know about this thing, and they’re fixing it? Or we enter a period of peace and people have forgotten its importance. While linear storytelling is common in documentaries, we often jump around in some schemes to tell more interactive stories.

Character and world story

The character story and the world story are shorthand for their respective versions of representation in narrative practice. It’s about the content or experience that results from the audience’s perspective. Both types of stories can tell the same story with the same or similar plot, but what the audience experiences is primarily through the actions or the characters or the world. Presentation and these different forms of storytelling are how we transfer a story from one medium or platform to another.

Global storytelling is an experience where the audience’s attention and the pace of the story are determined by world events.

It is important to reiterate that the correct interpretation of the above terms is that the character and the world story cannot exist simultaneously. Characters and world events, while not aligned, can be used sequentially in the same content. A human being is not very good at concentrating simultaneously on two different and complex sets of stimuli. Until we master this, the characters or the world will hold the audience’s attention in an unusual way.

The world story in practice

The world of storytelling and audience building

When you write – imagine that your story has no main character in perspective. Will there be more big events? Will there be conflict and change without an audience? Once we have a basic framework of our world that evokes emotions, aspirations, and ideals, we proceed to conceptualize the character of the observer. We can distinguish two main groups for these characters, stock characters and programmed (custom) characters. I don’t want to spread the idea that audience characters should be generic and silly – we can absolutely have characters that are written with a story. However, if the story is not indifferent to this character, then the viewer’s experience becomes the subject of the analysis of the entire essay.

I would then categorize the four different roles these characters can play in the overall plot. Observer, Hero, Anti-Help and Architect (influences the action, but is not central). Interactive media allow us to easily move the audience from an antagonistic to a pro-tagonistic point of view. I don’t think playing with this fluidity is necessary for the story of the world. But no matter which side of the argument the author wants the audience to participate in, I think it’s important to keep the four roles in mind. It is inappropriate to create impressions when one of these roles is preferred or imposed on the audience. We should expect all four to be possible from a player’s first steps.

The main misconception here is that it forces us to create four or more written stories. But that would be to treat games like character stories. Instead, imagine planning an NBA season. They decide which teams will win and which will lose. They decide the rivalry and are frustrated. A spectator character is a player on the team, a manager, a coach or a spectator. In general, with the plans of the season, it is not difficult to plot all the paths to the final. Still, the creators have more work to do, but that’s because of the effort required to change the way our brains naturally view stories exclusively as characters. You write the history of the world, and the characters go with it.

What non-players say to the audience

– In terms of secondary and non-essential characters –

In general, NPCs should always give the player a hint to enter the world. They rarely need to know the player’s name, and almost never treat the character like a celebrity. We have to see that the NPCs are invested in their interests and probably don’t know everything. With these rules, you create parody and criticism of games – where NPCs treating the player like a celebrity is a joke, and analysis of plots in games. It is disturbing that these rules are being broken unintentionally. Because it leads to comedy, when comedy was not the intention of the writers.

When an NPC tells the audience everything they need to know, we clearly get the impression that we are in an entertainment experience with characters. This guy is bad. They did it, and they’re here. That’s what you have to do. Why does this character know so much? Is this a mission briefing or a convenient way to get information out of a character? On the other hand, when the audience learns that the NPCs care about the world they are in, it not only encourages us to explore that world, but also reinforces the idea that the world is bigger than the characters.

How players express their character

The interaction should always be based not only on the world changing what the NPCs say and do, but also on what the player can do. The dialogue tree system doesn’t give us the best opportunities to express our characters. This does not necessarily mean that there is a general 3 option approach, but that nothing is really expressed.

In an art space where the audience ignores the characters, it is strange to connect the expression of the audience with the interaction of the characters. This is especially strange because it is inefficient to communicate what each decision actually means. When launching a new game, viewers are expected to take the time to understand the game. Allowing the player to make changes in the world and see the results, no matter how small, is an extremely effective way to introduce the audience to the world. It is much easier to move from small changes with minor consequences to larger solutions with major consequences than to try to convey these changes through dialogue options.

The most effective way to allow players to express themselves is to create a plan around the idea of making changes to the environment. However, it is interesting to note that many of these state changes do not have to take place. These changes alone, fully planned, are enough to create a unique experience for a wide audience. That’s the advantage of planning branching stories that focus on how the environment affects the characters, not the characters. As creators, we can limit or expand the story as development resources change.

Multiplayer World Story

I’m going to focus specifically on MMOs because there’s a critical flaw in the narrative of MMOs. The obfuscation of an MMO’s story should be kept vague, but directly related to the desired end result. Players have the ability to save the kingdom for their own reasons, but they do not have the ability to not save the kingdom, even if it directly conflicts with their character.

That’s the stupidity of character narrative settings in multiplayer games. How can a player who actively participates in the world and walks around you be the most important and indispensable character? How can we justify to the players that every hero or god created knows the name of every player and thanks them directly and pays attention to their importance? How many times can NPC-1 thank Player-A (and Player-B… and Player-C…) for saving NPC-2 from the abyss he fell into, before it became an inherent competition in the created world?

The size and scope of the world is directly related to the size of the audience. As the importance increases, the quietness decreases. When the NPC King speaks directly to the player, calling him by name, knowing his face and all his accomplishments, the world shrinks to a microscopic size. When the player has nothing left to overcome, the story begins an endless and exhausting arms race to raise the stakes. These are players just starting out, whose NPC characters don’t yet know that the world is vast and limitless. But the goal is noble – to make the audience feel special or important……

However, there is nothing more unique and special than entering an active world of PvP battles, having other players by your side, causing you to emerge liberated, with the echo Oh Hell, J.Doe here….. They’re ridiculously strong! We’ll win for sure. This, without the slightest hesitation, has more impact and meaning than what the leader/hero NPC says: I believe in you, bride. Whether it’s Thrall or Y’shtola, the way other players react to you makes her special.

For me, the viewer’s character should be a foot soldier. A simple adventurer. Or a humble craftsman. A player’s sense of worth is derived from his interactions with other players. Thus, the stories made about the world will give players the impression that there is still much to see and do. The world will be bigger and longer. Yes, a creeping narrative sense of need to raise the stakes will likely happen at some point, and it will happen randomly. But with care, precision and planning, players should be able to enjoy a decade or more of global storytelling without feeling like they’ve outgrown the world.

There is no better test for world stories than an MMO. Because again, it would be a crucial fallacy to say that the world needs millions of independent, well-written stories. Instead, players tell their character’s story as they see fit, responding to the geographical experience shared with other players. An event can only be seen by one million players, and that’s all the authors have control over. So why worry about controlling the final experience afterwards?

Linear histories and characteristics

So far I’ve talked about the stories we tell as artists, but mostly with examples of adventure epics, role-playing and non-linear narratives. Another misconception, however, is that world stories should be non-linear, and that then we don’t get to see deep, intimate or emotional characters and their stories. It is important to remember that we are who we are, often because of where we live. The more the audience connects with the geography, the easier it is to connect with the characters.

There are emotions that are inextricably linked to the places we’ve been and the things we’ve experienced. Nostalgia, security, opportunity and family. How important is it for you to live where you are? What if you live where you want to be? What does this place tell us about you? Can you explain why you want to be somewhere so the audience can understand you better? Interactive stories use the world to tell us more about our characters than deep dialogue trees ever could.

Why is the Street Fighter character scene important to them? What does this scene tell us about the character? With a little thought, we can add even more substance to it and let the world tell the story instead of theming it just for that character. What does it mean for one of these characters to fight another character in a certain place? Whether it’s a personal story, an adventure, a role-playing game or a fighting game, the story of the world is everywhere.

In mythology, we sometimes assign symbols or personifications to geographies such as caves, gardens, forests, mountains, lakes, swamps, oceans and cities. The lake is soothing. The garden is full of life and creativity. A volcano is violent, angry or passionate. The mountain is hard, intrusive, and full of unknown resources. Painting, literature, theatre, music, film – all hundreds and thousands of years of artistic expression have built on each other, adding to the pile of symbolism and beauty. There are many ways to build interactive systems that complement this stack and help tell powerful, important and emotional stories.

How can you tell your story in an interactive environment where each of the viewers can feel what it’s like to be somewhere, to give that place and form their thoughts? Do the players have a favorite character? Yeah, well… but you know what else you can find in the players? Those who have favorite places. While Abrams’ quote helps to outline the story of the characters in the films, it is important for the audience to take an interest in finding out where they are in order for the artists to be most effective.

Places can tell stories about a character’s psychology and emotions. Do we really know what the Easter Islanders were thinking and feeling? What were their conflicts and difficulties? It is not necessary for the audience to understand it after the play, but having the freedom to be able to understand it is.

World map with stories

  • The conflict never fully focuses on the player’s character.
  • The story is indifferent to the main character(s) in perspective. The character’s story is a product of this main story.
  • Let the player be exposed to the conflict and intervene in the events.
  • Remember, the plan: The role of the hero, the anti-hero, the observer and the architect.
  • NPCs will likely talk about the world, events, and history. This is not a show release or a quest log.
  • The world is what affects the characters. The easier it is for a player character to influence the world, the smaller that world is.
  • Players feel important through this experience – secondary characters don’t have to appease players.
  • The story of the world is the same whether the game is non-linear, open world or emergent.
  • Geographical history counts, fights and trades.
  • Geography is symbolic and has a history and a personality.

The end of this story

There is a misconception that the fact that movies and video games exist simultaneously and with the same or similar technology means that they have the same maturity. That’s not the case. At this point in film history, most groundbreaking innovations are more than 20 years old. The film knew what it was, while we’re still debating whether games can be art, whether they should just be a thing to play without a story, and whether VR is a meme or a game in its purest form… And chasing academics trying to apply academic theory to understand games.

It’s natural for us to think of ourselves as heroes. We are the protagonists of our own story. So it’s just as natural to build our stories through the prism of the characters and their interactions. But even if we’re not there one day, the world will be. At least for some time – and our stories will stay in the world. We are much more interested in constructing our stories from the point of view of this world than from ourselves. I hesitate to compare the playing public to archaeologists, because that distorts any possible history we can draw from the games. If it’s easier to understand, I won’t back down.

It’s not enough that the games have a great atmosphere and world building, the world itself has to be the story. We also need to be able to distinguish between characters and world stories, and understand why the presentation of the game is not up to par. That’s what makes Final Fantasy VII Remake (out 2021) so frustrating. I’m not going to say FF7r isn’t fun, nor am I going to go into detail about it. While most people agree that it is a good game, many fans felt that the game was missing something.

It’s not just that parts of the story have changed – the plot changes are welcome to keep things fresh. But the original FF7 was undoubtedly a world-beater by 1997 standards. The only character who cared who Cloud was was Tifa. Tifa and Cloud are both incorporeal to the world. The cloud is a… a small figure in the great scheme of things. Sephiroth and Shinra will do what they want to do, no matter what Cloud does. For the world and antagonists, Aerith is the most important character – and she dies fairly early in the game. The story doesn’t care much for Cloud and his group, so the world feels big and imposing.

Compare this to the full execution of Midgar in FF7r. Cloud has become the main character, and Midgar itself is merely a stage for Cloud and Sephiroth. Given that the main characters are elevated to hero status, it’s likely that Aerith won’t die this time around, but that’s all fans are speculating about for now. Not only does the game focus on Midgar, but the size and scope of the city seem to have diminished in comparison to the importance given to our protagonists.

Final Fantasy VII has always had short cutscenes and interactions between characters, but when you become a narrative character, that’s all that’s left. I’m not going to say that the original FF7 was an excellent example of world storytelling. He didn’t accomplish all the goals, but that’s normal for 1997. I mean, here we have an example of what happens when we lose a point and show a game. Is FF7r a good game? Sure, there’s… there’s still something to play with, but the loss of world identity the experience has become an empty fanservice of Tif vs Aerith’s internet wars. The development of the world’s story began long before FF7’s original, and instead of developing the idea further, they resorted to simply copying the film’s presentation.

2020 will satisfy both classic and modern players. To be on the list, the game must be confirmed for 2020, or there must be a compelling reason for it to be released that year. Upcoming games that are only announced and do not have a major release date are therefore not eligible.

By 2020, there will be a ton of… in the world of video games. Here are fifteen games to look forward to in the first half of 2020.

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