The HotSpot - Portal 2, Saints Row, Bastion - 3/9/2012

The writers of Portal 2, Saints Row: The Third, and Bastion talk to The HotSpot about creating stories true to a game's design and going about it in the right way.

Discussion

216 comments
RavenXavier
RavenXavier

Continued from below post: Now one game I can think of that clearly didn't have a story was Excitebike. The only thing you could even consider to be a story was that you were a bike racer who wanted to win, but any type of storyline connected to that was non-existent. Even the original Legend of Zelda, if you go by your questioning of why Mario was trying to save his princess, wouldn't have a story if you were to say those were just variations of the same. There was more "storyline" to read in the original Zelda than there was in the original Mario Bros, but the story was largely the same cliche over-all. Save the princess, kill the big bad guy, live happily ever after. Back in the day playing old school Mario, I never cared about my score. I cared about getting through the level and killing Bowser to save the princess. A plot that motivates a character IS a story especially in older games where filling in the gaps of a story was largely left to the players imagination.

RavenXavier
RavenXavier

@supertom221 : While I do agree with the thought process behind your reply, I still have to argue that Megaman and even Mario DO have a "Story" and/or a "Plot" as you put it. Willy's motivation was to take over the world, as was Bowser's which was why he kidnapped the princess. I do see and know the difference between plot and story. Granted for both those examples neither was very deep, but that was a sign of the earlier times. When those games came out and I bought them I was 8 or 9 years old and mowed lawns during the summer to earn money to buy games. Even then, when I bought a game I read the instruction booklets that came with the games and most often they covered the "story" outline or plot of the game. A story doesn't need to be a in depth narrative to further the plot of the game, nor does it say anywhere that it can't be cliche. Willy built his robots to take over the world of the future and Megaman was built to stop him, he didn't really "volunteer" exactly as doctor Light made him to fight the evil robots. That was the story and the plot of Megaman.

chicknfeet
chicknfeet moderator

@Magrino - great stage presence on this podcast. these guys need to come back for more banter

stomponyahead
stomponyahead

Only punk kids and elitist dont care, look at the devastation it had on Soul Caliibur 5.That game lacked so much it was terrible. Look at Gears of war 3 and look how well a story was put together in a third person shooter. Look at the wonders it did for Blazblue( A FIGHTING GAME). In this day and age, it is required to have both, especially if it is an AAA game. For folks who don't like stories, fine, stay on multiplayer, but those of us who want more bang for our buck, we aren't doing nothing wrong but demanding quality and substance.

BilkeLegenda
BilkeLegenda

@Marky360 I agree with you becuase you value gameplay over story but preferably would have both, great gameplay and great story.I still stand by what I said,when it comes to highly anticipated games,there is no excuse for either gameplay or story to suffer.The story must be at least descent if not better.

Marky360
Marky360

@BilkeLegenda I'm glad to hear that you agree. I just don't understand so many other ppl in this comments section that say that story is the most important aspect of a game and that if it doesn't have a good story it fails. I've seen some ppl go as far to say if the gameplay is bad but the story is good they'd still play the game and that gameplay doesn't matter as much as story. I just don't see how ppl can say these things when the whole purpose of playing a game in the first place is to be able to interact with story but if the interaction sux then why play u mind as well just watch. I have even had ppl thumb me down for this opinion.

BilkeLegenda
BilkeLegenda

@Marky360 I suppose that is a good point yes.I can agree with that.

hrothgar99
hrothgar99

for me kingdoms of amaluar (sp) had great gameplay but the story for me didnt hold up and one of the reasons it didnt do as well as it could have

mimsoo
mimsoo

Story not important? Let us ask our friends at Rockstar haha.

poppen695
poppen695

Ask Bioware how much gamers don't care about stories and endings, considering that ME3 is quickly earning them the title of "Most crap developer in the history of gaming".

Frosty192
Frosty192

Yeah this guy is right I don't play Skyrim, The Old Republic, Mass Effect, The Witcher, etc for the story. Argument is flawed. Idiot.

Marky360
Marky360

@BilkeLegenda See that IS what I am saying. Story does matter in a game just not as much as gameplay matters. you can still have a good game if the story is bad so long as the gameplay holds up but if it's the other way round and the story is good but the gameplay is bad chances are a game reviewer will still give the game a low score because the no.1 aspect of a game is gameplay if it doesn't get that right then it fails. I would say story is the no.2 aspect of a game. Now I would say that good story with good gameplay is definitely the best option.

noodlzethegreat
noodlzethegreat

has anyone ever read a book and become immerssed int he story and forgot they were reading.. same goes for video games.. ne one remember why we played.. we used to think we were mario.. or cecil saving the earth.. or wwf wrestlemania and being the intercontinental champ.. just a bunch of douchays laughing about how stupid we are n how much money they take from us

Fortysixter_UK
Fortysixter_UK

A nice provocative discussion to prompt forum rage over the weekend. This is a good way to get hits on the website. And for my part, STORY is the main point of a game.

Wavory
Wavory

In my opinion we should make these question to specific genres. RPG's just cant have a bad story but driving games such NFS Hot Pursuit dont need to have a good story just good gameplay.

Wavory
Wavory

I think in the video they don't mean that we dont care they mean that we care more for mp than sp.

TenraiSenshi
TenraiSenshi

Gamers do care about stories. To say otherwise would contrast starkly with how gaming has evolved as a media. If the stories of games weren't important to gamers, then why have stories in games become increasingly more prominent over the years? Why have developers become increasingly focused on stories, to the point where they have actually become part of the gameplay experience? (Games like Mass Effect and The Witcher allow you to shape the story with your own choices, which, in my opinion, was a big drawing card for both games). In saying that, I do agree that stories for games must be incorporated properly and sensibly, and must suit the game at hand. If the story feels out of place, then it's ultimately pointless. I also agree that some games don't need stories to be successful. It all depends on whether the story is tied to the gameplay experience in a deep and meaningful way (Choices in Mass Effect, Movie-like cutscenes in Metal Gear Solid, a sense of purpose in Final Fantasy, etc).

Caldrin
Caldrin

The story is the main part of a single player game for me, a game without a story tends to get boring fast... Now of course MP games dont really need a story.

p055ible
p055ible

Story is important in a game but only on a conditional basis. The story is the aspect of the game which puts the gameplay together. It creates the goal and make the player fall into the plot and experience the both fun and emotional aspect of the game. However there are many games that do not require a story and are just gameplay based but those are a different category. I believe that a sensible story along with a proper gameplay which does not fly too far from the story plot will make a great game but then again this depends on which category the game needs to fall into.

DarkBloodPrince
DarkBloodPrince

Just because Call of Duty sold billions of copies doesn't mean gamers don't care about stories.

Dreizel
Dreizel

Really? Gamers dont give a damn about stories? Then i guess i'm not a gamer since to me the most important thing in a game is the story. Don't get me wrong i still like games that have just good gameplay like supermario , etc, but when devs do that it's just a gamble, on the other hand if a game has a wonderfull story, it can have the crapiest gameplay and i'll still love the game, one good example is To the Moon, i've loved that game, and the only good thing that this game has is story, Heavy Rain is another example, the games that are most memorable to me and that have impacted my life were because of their wonderfull stories.

Ariefb4
Ariefb4

If the story is not important so what does the trailer is done then, when we see any trailer we see the story, what is all about, it also shows the gameplay BUT we will consider the story first and then the gameplay comes second (Just my opinion)

BilkeLegenda
BilkeLegenda

@Marky360 While I do understand your point,I think it would be more appropriate to say that in your opinion story does not matter as much as gameplay.But I think you will find that every time a very anticipated game is reviewed, the story is always being analyzed as much as the gameplay.Today,great gameplay and great story is expected in every game.A game that has great gameplay,is not much fun if there is no goal,force,or something else driving the main plot to some kind of resolution or ending.Unless ofcourse you are talking about the MP such as TDM,capture the flag,etc...in which case the only thing required is great gamplay,no story.

Marky360
Marky360

@BilkeLegenda Thats not actually true Story doesn't matter as much as gameplay I also bought Lost Planet 2 and while it's story is completely throw away the gameplay is rather good and I enjoy it very much so I decided to keep it now had it been the other way round and the story was amazingly well written and acted out both in game and through cutscenes very well but the gameplay was awful and broken there'd be no way I'd continue to play it just to see the story. So I gotta say while story is an important part of a game it's not as important as gameplay.

BilkeLegenda
BilkeLegenda

Story is as important as gameplay.Lost Planet for instance had good gameplay but the story was so bad that i took the game back 2 days later.Alan Wake was weak in gameplay and story.The story defines the game and what it is about,which is obviously very important just like gameplay.

AkhilAnilkumar
AkhilAnilkumar

Story is important but so is gameplay, graphics. enemy AI, re playability and good voice acting.

craxterz
craxterz

Gameplay then story. I couldnt even play Alan Wake for more then 3 hours due to the unbelievably simple and narrow gameplay. Its nice for a game to have an engaging story but if this causes the gameplay to be terrible or simple then its a miss for me.

SiLenTWarrior29
SiLenTWarrior29

If you don't give a damn then I don't give a f*#@!!! ....about what you say cause you wrong... Dead wrong

speedfreak48t5p
speedfreak48t5p

The idea of gamers not caring about stories is insanely false. However, passing on a game just because it lacks a good story does yourself a massive disservice. A lot of 2d platformers like Mario and Super Meat Boy have little story. Battlefield and Gears of War and many other games provide an incredible multiplayer experience. Racing games like Burnout provide thrills and excitement and pure fun. Strategy games like Simcity provide a ton of satisfaction and pride in your accomplishments. Story is important in a lot of games, but games that don't rely on story shouldn't be passed by and deserve to be played.

TheLoneMortal
TheLoneMortal

I certainly give a damn about the story in video games. It gives me a deeper sense of involvement with the game's setting and characters and motivates me to progress through to the end credits. Great gameplay can carry a game fairly well for me, but a game's narrative is an integral aspect for me personally.

xGamePlayerx19
xGamePlayerx19

story very much matters to me; biggest thing that usually gets me ina game. its probably the most important thing to me, reasons of loving the assassins creed, uncharted, and mass effect series

moremoneythanu
moremoneythanu

i usually buy games for story. idgaf about if the gameplay is fun

ztg360
ztg360

@Mark07041971 I agree with the whole idea that the story was amazing but for once I found a legitimate western that gave me good solid gameplay along with the real western feel to it (the freedom aspect) both drove me on and I absolutely adored the cast.

andchrist
andchrist

Really? Who gives a damn about stories in games? What about Max Payne 1 & 2 then?

Jimi_13
Jimi_13

I'd say it's half and half we have the action players.. and the novel players

jinseinoseikou
jinseinoseikou

Before I say any more, let me mention that Assassins Creed, all of the games past and present and future, would not be any bit as popular as they are without their story driven design. Gamer's fell in love with Ezio Auditore in all his dark and dangerous glory and it saddened many to see his series come to an end. If it wasn't for that story, I wouldn't enjoy the games even remotely as much. Story based games are what originally made consumer sold games a possibility (consoles, not arcades, though I bet some of those had/have stories). I still mainly play role-playing games in order to always see what game(s) have a new and intriguing story. Oh yes, and the Half-Life's have good characters and story as well, as does Crysis, Bioshock and many others.

mled
mled

It's true... Gamers Don't Give a Damn About Stories. Now... True Gamers? They care about Stories.

Vaanelo99
Vaanelo99

And here I thought that the future prospective graduates of my generation and time who become game developers would be the saviours of an age of saturated, recycled war and shooting games.

Serraph105
Serraph105

Story isn't the most important thing to me (Heck it's not even required considering how much I love Mario), but I probably wouldn't care that much about MGS if it wasn't for the amazing story.

Mark07041971
Mark07041971

For me, I prefer to have both gameplay and story--but if I have to choose one over the other, I have to go with story. Great story makes crap gameplay bearable, for me, because a great story motivates me to get to its conclusion; conversely, a crap story KILLS a game for me, regardless of how good the gameplay is. An example of the former would be Red Dead Redemption, and the latter point is best exemplified by FFXIII. RDR's gameplay, for the most part, was terrible (press Y, steer horse through barren wasteland for 20-30 minutes, press Y, walk around town, occasionally interact with an NPC, press Y, steer horse through barren wasteland for 20-30 minutes, repeat), but the story was PHENOMENAL--and that kept me fully engaged with the game when the gameplay failed to do so. FFXIII, on the other hand, had really good combat, with a definite (but not overbearingly steep) learning curve that rewarded me for my efforts--but I couldn't assemble a team of monkeys dumb enough to replicate either FFXIII's fractured, nonsensical story or the ponderous, stilted gibberish that passed for dialogue, and I ended up giving the game away after about 10 hours because I just DID NOT CARE.

Marky360
Marky360

@OmegaGear What u say is true but for me at least I didn't like Heavy Rain BECAUSE of it's gameplay or better yet lack there of so no matter how good the story was in that game it just couldn't save it from how meager it's gameplay was for me at least. And I say with most games in general so longs as the gameplay is good enough it won't matter how awful the story is most ppl will just ignore the the story in order to experience the supurb gameplay but this wouldn't work the other way around because no matter how supurb the story is no one is gonna want to have to go through awful or broken gameplay just to experience the story.

NeilCardiff
NeilCardiff

Out of touch game designers looking for excuses to inflate profits and alienate customers.

EXODYS
EXODYS

No. 1 thing for me in a game: Story

aetius_
aetius_

It's not true. the gameplay and the story is what counts the most. then graphics.

ashes48
ashes48

i care about a good story in games, that woulld be like a movie with no story or even this video with no one talking about anything lol

ILuvAnju
ILuvAnju

@cjimrun Agreed. Gameplay and story are most important.

cjimrun
cjimrun

Video games have completely supplanted television and movies as my go-to source of visual entertainment, so I definitely expect a good story. If a game has incredible game-play but I'm not interested in the story or characters...I'm not interested in the game.

OmegaGear
OmegaGear

@Marky360 I think you're right, unless the story is just so abysmal in the sense where the player ends up hating every character and wants them all to die in a fiery pit. Games are interactive entertainment, and while I love a good story, because of interactivity being the primary mechanic in most cases, the story is more of a hook or device. There are exceptions, like Heavy Rain though. If that game's plot and story were bad, the game would have gone down with it.