Narrative Legos with Ken Levine - GDC 2014

It's clear that narrative is an important part of video games and something that the audience deeply relates to. However, the strengths of interactive media are player participation, the ability to experience content in different ways on different playthroughs and the fact that the content is not static. It's time for narrative to deeply embrace these elements.

Discussion

18 comments
evil_m3nace
evil_m3nace

''Passion can't move on its own, the player has to do it'' But, it would be so cool to see a random orc start building a temple on the burned out remains of the elvish town that he just burned to the ground by himself because they KILLED BARBERA!

sinsationalsx
sinsationalsx

Levine's ideas are awesome but how the hell could they be implemented? Procedurally? How would accompanying voice acting be generated? I can't picture how it could be done with current technologies. 

Afinati
Afinati

Emergent narrative works wonderfully for an rts like Crusader Kings 2 or turn-based Civ and XCOM, because the nuances of narrative aren't expected; instead, they're inferred and invented wholesale at times by the player. The core structure has carefully placed trappings of characterization to facilitate this suspension of disbelief. In a traditional rpg, the player has more expectation of depth and complex interactions. In a fully voiced rpg, it's even more relevant that the branching narratives be meaningful and finite. .... I don't know, but the only way to conquer the negative correlation between narrative depth and structured modifiers is to work really smart and minimalist. But the only way Levine is gonna make any waves here is to go big by creating a gargantuan web that dwarfs Bioware's architecture ... or by selling an x factor that proves these emergences have quality. Maybe I'm too cynical and/or unimaginative.

LordCrash88
LordCrash88

Oh dear, Ken "I am the greatest" Levine again...

Perhaps he should stop making FPS first before telling others about strong narrative.

jupsto
jupsto

Well it personally reminded me of mount and blade, but alot of games have faction bar but none try to make a dynamic cinematic story out of them AFAIK, most are non narrative sandboxes.


also game of thrones spoiler from book 4, vague tho.

MrGaines
MrGaines

All I was thinking the whole video was, "Has nobody in this room played World of Warcraft?" It pretty much has already done exactly what Levine is talking about with reputation bars. WoW solved the problems that they are talking about by having this scattered non-thematic narrative underlying the large thematic narrative. For example there are multiple quests where you are simply hunting wolves or collecting flowers. While the player can enjoy these mini stories and tasks, they know all the while that the Lich King is the Archenemy of this game world. 

55584623
55584623

great video, very exciting and inspiring.

i've been very dissapointed at how games have becomed more and more constrained and linear.

Levine's idea is really promising but also very hard to execute, but i do believe they can pull it of.


donutking7
donutking7

is it me or did he just spoil a part of GoT for ppl that just watch the series? haha good times

ignore78
ignore78

i think he is a genius!  i wonder what game he will do next!          its strange,  i relly loved  bioshock infinite,  and hated it.   

the world has so much magic to it, and the writing is so great!  i hated that the worderful world in bioshock  totaly changed after the begining.

TehUndeadHorror
TehUndeadHorror

Reminds me of the faction system in Fallout New Vegas. Would love to see more in depth systems like this.

youre_a_sheep
youre_a_sheep

I definitely need to hear all of this later, I missed the first 50 minutes.  Just yesterday I was lamenting the blatant nature of good vs evil decisions in games like Infamous.  When the industry commits to writing full, branching stories, the phrase "interactive movie" will go away and the medium will take its next leap forward.

Choosing a path when they all lead to the same end is lame, as is being forced down a lone path that only branches right at the end to create the illusion that my "choices" mattered.  I want to feel like I'm writing the story as I go like in real life.

NTM23
NTM23

Oh, darn. I'd like to watch this from the start. Perhaps later. I just want to see Ken stare at a dude that asks a question, slowing pick his nose, and then eat a booger. Sorry, I was just thinking about that, it looked funny in my imagination. 

PS4andXoneGamer
PS4andXoneGamer

@ 52:21, if looks could kill that guy in the crowd would be a dead man

gelatkins
gelatkins

@MrGaines  WoW has nothing like the complex webs of passions that he describes.  Did you even watch past 5 minutes?

sinsationalsx
sinsationalsx

@s_h_a_d_o  I own lots of LEGOS and play with LEGOS often. I'm thinking of taking my LEGOS with me when I see The LEGOS movie.


LEGOS.