Game narratives still have "a long way to go," says Wolfenstein dev

Jerk Gustafsson says, "This is where I believe we shine."

According to Wolfenstein: The New Order producer Jerk Gustafsson, game narratives still have "a long way to go." In a post on the PlayStation Blog about his new game, Gustafsson said The New Order delivers the kind of tense combat you'd expect from a Wolfenstein game, while also focusing on story.

"It's a totally story-driven game experience that has a range of environments and characters and gameplay styles that you don't normally see in standard first-person shooters. Drama, humor, and even love are carefully layered into the experience," Gustafsson said.

"This is where we can break ground, where gaming still has a long way to go--the narrative--this is where I believe we shine, where I believe we will continue to shine," he added. "Great stories combined with exciting and truly fun combat experiences. This is what I believe is the future of gaming."

Storytelling in games has been a much-discussed topic of late. At GDC 2014 in March, Riot Games designer Tom Abernathy, who also worked on Halo: Reach, said "plot is highly overrated." Also at the industry event, BioShock creator Ken Levine gave an extended talk about how he approaches storytelling for interactive media.

Wolfenstein: The New Order launched yesterday for Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and PC. For more, check out GameSpot's review and what other critics are saying.

What was the last example of strong storytelling in games that you can think of? Let us know in the comments below!

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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Discussion

114 comments
blackothh
blackothh

I find that a simple story is usually better then a deep crafted one, it usually turns out way too cliche to be memorable.

I have not played the new wolfenstein yet. I eventually want to, but I was never drawn to it because of story potential.

isshiah
isshiah

I'm a story heavy RPG fan, so i may be a tad biased. However, I feel like a story or a reason of some kind is required for me to continue in a game. Some people can take a game like Minecraft and carve their own adventure out of it. I can't't. I need answers and characters and locations and events.

XNEXUS666X
XNEXUS666X

Most of the time I feel like stories get in the way, especially in the case of FPS shooters, all I wanna do is shoot some stuff and then there's some corny story I have to sit though, most of the time it goes through one ear and out the other. FPS shooters will always feel too tacky for a story anyway, they try to make it all serious and then you get thrust into this cheesy perspective with a pair of lifeless hands and a big whacky gun waving around, which always turns out to be the solution to this overly complicated scenario haha.

YukoAsho
YukoAsho

"Great stories combined with exciting and truly fun combat experiences. This is what I believe is the future of gaming."

About time someone addressed one of my pet peeves in "story-driven" games today.  Too many developers act as though story and gameplay must forever be devorced from one another, when in reality, the only way for games to succeed as a narrative medium is for them to be combined.  I'm tired of seeing "games" like LA Noire or Heavy Rain being given all the praise in the world because the story's great, even though you don't do much in it.  We need to be pushing game developers to integrate the two, not to have them separated by cutscene/gameplay segments, or worse, having the whole game be a cutscene.  I've faith that this medium can do better, and it needs to do better.


Now to pick up Wolfenstein and see if it walks this guy's talk.

PodXCOM
PodXCOM

Wolfenstein: The New Order story sucked.

Stiler
Stiler

Games, just like movies, can go either way. 


You can have ZERO story/little to no plot and the game itself is fun and what drives people to play it (IE moba games, Dark Souls, most Fighting games, sports games, racing games, etc). 


On the flipside you can have an extremely important and well told storyline and that is what drives people to play the game. 


See: Most good adventure games (Monkey island, Gabriel Knight, Tex Murphy, Syberia, Longest Journey, etc) and rpgs (Baldur's gate, fallout, The Witcher, dragon age, kotor).


It's the same with movies, some movies have a storyline that grips you (Schindler's list, Godfather, One flew over the cuckoo's nest) whereas other movies you watch not because the storyline is something great/oscar worthy, but because they are just fun to watch. Movies like Dumb & Dumber (can't wait for the sequel), Commando,  Iron man, Avengers, etc. 


I'm tired of either side saying "look, this IS how games should be." Games can go either way, it depends on the game itself, neither way is "right" nor "wrong."

PlatinumPaladin
PlatinumPaladin

I WAS just going to brush over this article as yet another developer trying to plug their game by pushing the boundaries of definition.

But love?! In a Wolfenstein?! Now you've got my attention.

cboye18
cboye18

I don't get it, why do developers think that story is so important? The Last of Us had a decent/good story, but the gameplay wasn't that special and I played the game for 30 hours, while Smash Bros Melee ( a game with no story whatsoever) I still play to this day. Care to explain that?

sebbysebbseb
sebbysebbseb

Lifeless Planet is a good example for good story telling. Mostly told by the atmosphere of the game. Even though it's just in beta.

santinegrete
santinegrete

This is the direction I want for my games. I admit not all games can have it, but I can still respect them, I'm too old to flame anything that doesn't go along my tastes, except bland opinions, grrr.


I can't forget about Spec Ops the Line special story after all this time, if I cite an example.

enoughofthis
enoughofthis

I LIKED MGS PEACE WALKER STORY SO SHUT UP WOFLENSTIEN...

June-GS
June-GS

"According to Wolfenstein: The New Order producer Jerk Gustafsson..." -- Is that a typo, @Mr.Makuch, or is he really a Jerk?

rexpowercolt
rexpowercolt

Mass Effect is how you do a great story. 

rexpowercolt
rexpowercolt

This game as SERIOUS audio issues. You cannot hear NPC's even on a damn 5.1 or 7.1 sound system like I have, the bass cuts out during gameplay and then BLASTS your ears off during cutscenes and then goes back to quiet mode and the ambient sounds are so muffled its like playing in a damn rubber room. 

PeterDuck
PeterDuck

One of the things I love about the game is that you aren't just a pair of arms floating around, you actually have inner thoughts and character. (ahem Rage,,, ahem)


Having said that, I still wish I could still see my goddamn legs.

GOGOHeadray
GOGOHeadray

The story in wolfenstein is far from good lls; the player character is so cheesy and tries so hard I had a few lol moments. Story is more important to some genres than others though. In FPS the story only really serves as motavation to go from one shooting gallery to the next. In RPG's and some action games the story takes center place and needs to be more than filler

onixevil
onixevil

See you in the next 5 years 

onixevil
onixevil

If story don't matter for some peoples then what's the reason for buying the next COD?

gogoplexiorayo2
gogoplexiorayo2

you should give your attention to the gameplay not the story. This is a fps game. We want games like F.E.A.R again!

alschwayz
alschwayz

Before i wrote this, i scrolled down to read some of the comments about this issue. To give a direct answer... Last Of Us, Walking Dead (telltales), Red Dead Redemption, A Wolf Among Us, among others. If you think a game only shines if its focused on multiplayer competing with "flesh and blood humans" then it sounds like (origkillmachine) really needs to get off the couch, get his life together by going out and taking one of those "flesh and blood humans" on a date so he can finally get laid. People need to remember that great games come in many packages. And i for one can really appreciate a great story that is playable. 

nyran125tk
nyran125tk

@Stiler  theres a place for both things good gameplay or story. But why should they be exclusive from each other?  if you can do BOTH gameplay and a great story in 1 game, it is better. For me anyway. 


its not really the story im that interested in games i dont think, the universe of the game itself is more interesting to me. The overall universe of it.


Like Mass effect, it wasnt mass effects characters so much(although they certainly were detailed as far as games go and made the experience much better) but it was the overall universe of the whole game that was interesting to me.

santinegrete
santinegrete

@cboye18  A great story doesn't mean the gameplay has to be highly sacrificed, but most examples of great stories in games simply are not that strong in gameplay aspect simply by casuality more than causality. You could say that all financial resources went to gameplay design, but with something so tied to creativity in inherent talent of the writer, it can hardly be the case. After all, there's games with great stories and great gameplay. I can think of one or two MGS, and on the other Devil May Cry 3 and Half Life 2 not for having great, complex and deep stories, but because how well they told their simple tale.

A simple story well told is more valuable than one pretending depth and complexity but failing to hook the audience or narrate itself (like Darksiders).

dariusthanerd
dariusthanerd

@cboye18  You make a good point, but honestly I think story in video games all comes down to consumer preference. Some people (Including me) see story as sort of an experience. I do feel like most games just either focus on either gameplay or story instead of finding a balance, like Last of Us, that story was good, but the gameplay was sorta meh, like you said. It's hard to explain because in the end a game like the latest Need for Speed (Gameplay focused) can sell just as well as The Last of Us (Story driven).

blackothh
blackothh

@rexpowercolt mass effects story started on a pinicle, and went down hill every minute you played after that.

mrmatt954
mrmatt954

@rexpowercolt  that sucks, was the game good other then that? i was thinking about getting it

rexpowercolt
rexpowercolt

@PeterDuck  Too bad you CAN"T HEAR BJ inner thoughts no thanks to the farked up sound issues. 

santinegrete
santinegrete

@GOGOHeadray  nah, it always depends of the focus of the RPG/action game it has on the story. I've seen shooters with better stories than RPGs myself, but I don't think the best shooter story can par up with the best RPG story, except for, arguably, Spec Ops The Line.

santinegrete
santinegrete

@alschwayz  simply put, the game that focus on story has more artistic ambition than an MP game with shoebox maps. 

arlaon
arlaon

The ending was great. u justed didnt like it.

rexpowercolt
rexpowercolt

@mrmatt954 @rexpowercolt  I'm still pending my feelings on it, the sound issues REALLY take away the immersion factor. Dunno what the fark the 5 gig patch was for as it didn't fix shiat

santinegrete
santinegrete

@arlaon have you seen the count of likes he got? where you've been after ME 3 release?

dariusthanerd
dariusthanerd

@rexpowercolt @mrmatt954  I'm glad I'm not the only one that noticed the sound issues. I play with headphones on usually, and the sound either seem to cut in and out, ore BJ always sounds like he's whispering. I'm really enjoying it overall though, sound problems haven't occurred as much for me.

santinegrete
santinegrete

@gogoplexiorayo2 @santinegrete @onixevil  I hear you man, how I miss the time when Monolith did great stuff with FPS. Some ex monolith did a game called Betrayer, it's on Steam, but I'm not sure if it is what are you searching for.