"Plot is Highly overrated" according to developers

  • 94 results
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

This topic is locked from further discussion.

Avatar image for The_Last_Ride
#1 Posted by The_Last_Ride (76371 posts) -

They point to research conducted by Microsoft, indicating “that players really hardly remember the plots of the games that they play. When they were asked, ‘tell me the plot of your favorite movie,’ they did it at length, and very accurately. When they were asked, ‘tell me the plot of your favorite TV show,’ they did it at length, and very accurately. ‘Tell me the plot of your favorite game.’ Not so much at length, not so accurate.”

The data does indicate, however, that characters are different: “game characters were consistently remembered, but not necessarily for their role in the plot,” the men said, citing Microsoft’s research.

“So the question is,” he later continued, “how much does the third act pay off, that you’re putting so much work into, as you’re trying to structure your plot, intricately. How much does that matter, when the fact is that a majority of your players are never even going to see it?”

So what are your thoughts? I highly disagree myself and think a story in a game is really important in the singleplayer

Link

Avatar image for Couth_
#2 Edited by Couth_ (10369 posts) -

I agree. I forget many major details about even some of my favorite games plots

Avatar image for jg4xchamp
#3 Posted by jg4xchamp (61470 posts) -

To a game being good? sure. It certainly doesn't carry as much weight as gameplay and game design overall. It's an interactive medium, and if that part sucks, the game sucks.

That example though speaks more to the fact that videogame stories are dog shit when compared to better story telling mediums.

Avatar image for Heil68
#4 Edited by Heil68 (57960 posts) -

They point to research conducted by Microsoft,..

Must of been done around 2009 when MS decided to drop core and go upwards of 65% casual with Kinect(lol).

Avatar image for topgunmv
#5 Posted by topgunmv (10754 posts) -

Microsoft's market research is always right on the nose, just look how well the xbox one was received when it was announced.

/sarcasm.

Avatar image for Magescrew
#6 Posted by Magescrew (541 posts) -

I can recount the story of my favorite games like Kotor I/II front to back and side to side. Same with Mass Effect and Dragon Age and Halo and Fallout 3 and New Vegas. Did they poll two year olds?

Avatar image for wolverine4262
#7 Edited by wolverine4262 (20831 posts) -

Titanfall is an awesome game and its completely devoid of story. A good story is just a bonus imo. There are some games like Spec Ops: The Line, where the story alone can carry you through, but those are few.

Avatar image for Celtic_34
#8 Edited by Celtic_34 (1903 posts) -

It's because these developers can't write. So now story is overrated. These developers never cease to amaze me the stuff they come up with. Tell these developers to come up with a great story and then tell me it's overrated. The thing is they can't. the ones who can don't think it's overrated.

Avatar image for uninspiredcup
#9 Posted by uninspiredcup (26462 posts) -

@wolverine4262 said:

Titanfall is an awesome game and its completely devoid of story. A good story is just a bonus imo. There are some games like Spec Ops: The Line, where the story alone can carry you through, but those are few.

Titanfall has a fucking terrible 2 hour SP with characters nobody gives a shit about and shit happening nobody gives a shit about.

Portal 2 on the other hand delivered both a multiplayer experience (that has a story and is well written) and a single player vastly (VASTLY) superior to any shit Respawn will do.

Avatar image for fend_oblivion
#10 Posted by fend_oblivion (6732 posts) -

The "research" of this kind must be why the Xbox One had such "amazing" press.

Story is an important element. Stories can make games that are by the numbers into something special (like Spec Ops : The Line and Binary Domain).

Avatar image for hitmanactual
#11 Posted by HitmanActual (941 posts) -

Ya plot means **** all to me, if I want a story I read a book. I skip most cut scenes if the game lets me, the only downside being once the cutscene is skipped and the game continues I am often left wondering what the **** am I supposed to do now. 0_o

Avatar image for darkspineslayer
#12 Posted by darkspineslayer (22399 posts) -

Well, when most video games have a totally shit plot, it's not exactly surprising. I can't exactly rattle off the arching story of Assassin's Creed, but could give you a rundown of 999 or maybe a handful of the Metal Gear games.

Avatar image for finalfantasy94
#13 Posted by finalfantasy94 (27404 posts) -

Cant agree. Plot and characters are what keep me going sometimes.

Avatar image for finalfantasy94
#14 Edited by finalfantasy94 (27404 posts) -

@jg4xchamp said:

To a game being good? sure. It certainly doesn't carry as much weight as gameplay and game design overall. It's an interactive medium, and if that part sucks, the game sucks.

That example though speaks more to the fact that videogame stories are dog shit when compared to better story telling mediums.

I say its not fair to compare to lets say books. Games have more things to focuse on besides plot and characters. Books just need to focuse on a piece of paper and letters.

Avatar image for wolverine4262
#15 Posted by wolverine4262 (20831 posts) -

@uninspiredcup:

WTF are you talking about? Titanfall doesnt have any sp. The entire game is mp. If you are talking about the campaign, yeah its horrible. Thats pretty much what I said. I ACTUALLY played it. Also, its closer to 4 hours than two.

BTW, the gameplay in Titanfall is significantly more interesting than Portal.

Avatar image for kittennose
#16 Posted by KittenNose (2456 posts) -

It depends on the kind of gamer you ask. I can tell you the plot to final fantasy one, four, and six in extreme detail, despite the fact that I haven't touched any of those in like two decades. I can understand why folks who primarily play multiplayer shooters would have trouble remembering the plot, large amounts of them skip it, and in many cases the single player is only there so haters can't say: WTF $60 no campaign? Lol!"

Avatar image for Couth_
#17 Edited by Couth_ (10369 posts) -

@kittennose said:

It depends on the kind of gamer you ask. I can tell you the plot to final fantasy one, four, and six in extreme detail, despite the fact that I haven't touched any of those in like two decades. I can understand why folks who primarily play multiplayer shooters would have trouble remembering the plot, large amounts of them skip it, and in many cases the single player is only there so haters can't say: WTF $60 no campaign? Lol!"

It's just random for me. I can't for the lyfe of me remember the details of the plot in FFVII, IX or XII, but I remember VIII and X. I can remember MGS2, but not 1, 3 or 4. I don't remember exactly what's going on in Halo and I don't know anything about Uncharted except for the fact that Drake is looking for shit..

The only reason I even know anything about Dark Souls is because I watch the lore on youtube, and that's my favorite game(series) of the entire gen.. That's a great example of plot being overrated. That's one of the most beloved franchises right now and story telling is almost non existent.. The subtle tidbits of story are there but they don't even bother to tell it to you

Avatar image for foxhound_fox
#18 Edited by foxhound_fox (97101 posts) -

Indeed.

Dark Souls told more of a story through it's gameplay, item descriptions and scant few dialogues than even the best of the best games with 50+ hours of cutscenes.

Granted, there are exceptions to the rule like NIER.

Which I almost grabbed today on PS3, but I couldn't justify $20 for a game I already own on another platform. Had it been $10, I probably would have grabbed it.

Avatar image for treedoor
#19 Posted by treedoor (7648 posts) -

A game can succeed without any story at all.

With that said though, I could talk all day about Half Life, and I'd appreciate more games putting an emphasis on story, and story-telling (as long as the gameplay is still good).

Avatar image for foxhound_fox
#20 Posted by foxhound_fox (97101 posts) -

@Couth_ said:

That's one of the most beloved franchises right now and story telling is almost non existent.. The subtle tidbits of story are there but they don't even bother to tell it to you

A video game that tells a story through it's gameplay mechanics rather than overt cutscenes and dialogue is playing the part of a "video game" correctly. It's a medium that should be about letting the player discover the story for themselves. Super Metroid has a more telling story and atmosphere than Other M, which uses cutscenes and dialogue. Metroid Prime and Echoes especially nailed the method of story-telling well, with those hidden pieces of information that only the most devoted would find and reveal.

Telling us how it is is for film.

Avatar image for The_Last_Ride
#21 Posted by The_Last_Ride (76371 posts) -

@jg4xchamp said:

To a game being good? sure. It certainly doesn't carry as much weight as gameplay and game design overall. It's an interactive medium, and if that part sucks, the game sucks.

That example though speaks more to the fact that videogame stories are dog shit when compared to better story telling mediums.

You can still say games like Journey and Walking Dead don't have good gameplay mechanics but tell amazing stories

Avatar image for Chutebox
#22 Edited by Chutebox (43511 posts) -

Well what games were they even talking about? If it was some mindless shooter, no shit they're not going to remember. Personally, my favorite games all center around a good story/characters. I still like the mindless shooters, but much less than a game with good story. And yes, I can remember the stories.

Can't help but notice who the study was by and what market that company is aimed at too. Wish Sony didn't try and chase the same market.

Avatar image for R3FURBISHED
#23 Posted by R3FURBISHED (12402 posts) -

This is a video game universe where we, as gamers, care more about fast pacing and instant gratification than meaningful journey through a wonderfully crafted world.

Avatar image for JangoWuzHere
#24 Edited by JangoWuzHere (19032 posts) -
@R3FURBISHED said:

This is a video game universe where we, as gamers, care more about fast pacing and instant gratification than meaningful journey through a wonderfully crafted world.

Yup, cause everyone loved the story and plot in Modern Warfare 2, but hated the journey through the universe in Mass Effect =/

Avatar image for jg4xchamp
#25 Edited by jg4xchamp (61470 posts) -

@The_Last_Ride said:

@jg4xchamp said:

To a game being good? sure. It certainly doesn't carry as much weight as gameplay and game design overall. It's an interactive medium, and if that part sucks, the game sucks.

That example though speaks more to the fact that videogame stories are dog shit when compared to better story telling mediums.

You can still say games like Journey and Walking Dead don't have good gameplay mechanics but tell amazing stories

Ignoring the notion that those plots are "amazing"(I disagree), but I think the fact that they have to drop or borderline drop the gameplay just to tell a story speaks volumes about gaming as a story telling medium doesn't it?

For the record I think Journey is delightful, and is a better counter argument than The Walking Dead is.

Avatar image for BattleSpectre
#26 Edited by BattleSpectre (7989 posts) -

Do you think it's because we play our games in bursts? As in we might do other things in-between playing games, so by the time we start playing again we've already forgotten some things we did last. And by the end it's easier to forget? I dunno.

Avatar image for kittennose
#27 Edited by KittenNose (2456 posts) -
@The_Last_Ride said:

You can still say games like Journey and Walking Dead don't have good gameplay mechanics but tell amazing stories

And people debate if game is even the right thing to call such works.

I do very much wish that the industry would distinguish between interactive visual novels and games. I am not going to claim that such works do not belong on a computer, but I can also see justifiable anger in someone purchasing The Stanley Parable and expecting more interactivity then pushing the forward key. I like that works like TSP exist, but watching it on youtube is better then playing it, and that should be the definition of bad gameplay.

Avatar image for jg4xchamp
#28 Posted by jg4xchamp (61470 posts) -

@kittennose said:
@The_Last_Ride said:

You can still say games like Journey and Walking Dead don't have good gameplay mechanics but tell amazing stories

And people debate if game is even the right thing to call such works.

I do very much wish that the industry would distinguish between interactive visual novels and games. I am not going to claim that such works do not belong on a computer, but I can also see justifiable anger in someone purchasing The Stanley Parable and expecting more interactivity then pushing the forward key. I like that works like TSP exist, but watching it on youtube is better then playing it, and that should be the definition of bad gameplay.

I don't necessarily think they need to be called something other than games necessarily. So long as some kind of game is being played, and more or less it allows people to actually experiment with the idea of what exactly is a videogame.

It's not like there is no fail safe to Journey(you have to go out of your way to get it), but it works. Everything that makes it effective requires a controller in your hand. The Walking Dead not nearly as much. Stanly Parable is a different beast entirely. A lot of it is commentary on game design, difficulty of game design, and players, and it's witty about it which makes it endearing. It's something that only makes sense within this medium. But at the same time I get what you mean in terms of what interacting with that game is actually like. Especially given the pricetag, and comparison of the type of games you can get at that pricetag-Hotline Miami or Mark of the Ninja for instance which are games in the truest and purest sense.

Avatar image for j_assassin
#29 Posted by j_assassin (1010 posts) -

does that mean microsoft won't bother with single player exclusives anymore? more online fps coming to x1

Avatar image for getyeryayasout
#30 Posted by getyeryayasout (11630 posts) -

100% agree.

Avatar image for Spartan070
#32 Edited by Spartan070 (16402 posts) -

Thank goodness for Bioware...

Avatar image for Salt_The_Fries
#33 Edited by Salt_The_Fries (12480 posts) -

I wholeheartedly agree with the idea. I also can't remember and keep up with certain ones as I play them! All in all, even the best plots go downhill at some point and if it wasn't ULTIMATELY for gameplay, I probably wouldn't finish them.

Avatar image for StrifeDelivery
#34 Posted by StrifeDelivery (1901 posts) -

http://www.gamespot.com/articles/plot-is-highly-overrated-league-of-legends-designer-says/1100-6418368/

Read this story here at gamespot, the LoL designer used to work on Halo back in the day and cites "internal and external sources".

It all really depends on the game on which I will begin to feel more invested in the story. Not surprising that a LoL developer would say plot is overrated, since there isn't one in LoL (the nature of the game).

Will I care deeply about the plot in a game such as Lollipop Chainsaw or Shadows of the Damned? No, not really. Will I care more about the plot in say a game like DE, Bioshock, FF? Yeah.

Avatar image for spitfire-six
#35 Posted by Spitfire-Six (1378 posts) -

I think this is a early excuse being made to expect terrible games with no plot.

The Last of Us,

I haven't played the game I own an xbox but the story makes me want to get it.

/thread

Avatar image for harry_james_pot
#36 Posted by harry_james_pot (11399 posts) -

That is complete nonsense.

Avatar image for XenogearsMaster
#37 Edited by XenogearsMaster (3175 posts) -

Games like Gears of War and non-story driven games made gamers' abandon plots and stories which is sad.

Avatar image for kittennose
#38 Posted by KittenNose (2456 posts) -

@jg4xchamp said:

@kittennose said:

And people debate if game is even the right thing to call such works.

I do very much wish that the industry would distinguish between interactive visual novels and games. I am not going to claim that such works do not belong on a computer, but I can also see justifiable anger in someone purchasing The Stanley Parable and expecting more interactivity then pushing the forward key. I like that works like TSP exist, but watching it on youtube is better then playing it, and that should be the definition of bad gameplay.

I don't necessarily think they need to be called something other than games necessarily. So long as some kind of game is being played, and more or less it allows people to actually experiment with the idea of what exactly is a videogame.

It's not like there is no fail safe to Journey(you have to go out of your way to get it), but it works. Everything that makes it effective requires a controller in your hand. The Walking Dead not nearly as much. Stanly Parable is a different beast entirely. A lot of it is commentary on game design, difficulty of game design, and players, and it's witty about it which makes it endearing. It's something that only makes sense within this medium. But at the same time I get what you mean in terms of what interacting with that game is actually like. Especially given the pricetag, and comparison of the type of games you can get at that pricetag-Hotline Miami or Mark of the Ninja for instance which are games in the truest and purest sense.

I think it would be far better if story tellers experimented with what programs can do, rather then trying to shoe horn game play elements into any entertainment product that is enjoyed via a K+M or gamepad. I honestly do think most tell tale games would be better as visual novels without game play elements. I am pretty sure the shooting aspects of the Borderlands one will be the worst part of it.

While I don't know much about Journey, I know that the best way to experience it isn't by watching youtube. There is more interactivity then just pressing W until you find the next game over screen that rewards you with a bit of dialogue. I am not exaggerating either, That is how TSP works. You press W for 10% of the game, press A or D for 1% of the game each. and stand around listening to someone talk for the other 88%. Most of the 10% where you press W you are retracing a path you already walked down. Youtubing it erases that tedious stupidity.

I am very interested in virtual tourism. I am also very interested in visual novels that allow you to focus the story on aspects you consider interesting. You can only hold back these types of programs however by putting them into the box marked game. When people reach into that box expecting to find a game only to come up with tourism or a novel many of them are going to be very displeased and justifiably so. The only reason The Stanley Parable is mocked is because it is in the game box. Many people who might like it will refuse to experience it because “It is not a game.” To be fair there is merit to the argument, because the worst part of it is the run between respawning and walking to the next bit of exposition. That also happens to be is it's only game play element. The only one that isn't satirical anyway.

Avatar image for rilpas
#39 Posted by rilpas (8161 posts) -

@R3FURBISHED said:

This is a video game universe where we, as gamers, care more about fast pacing and instant gratification than meaningful journey through a wonderfully crafted world.

Games not having a plot does not equal instant gratification. I can think of many titles with no plot that require hours and hours of investment like Civilization, The Total Wars series, Minecraft, Harvest Moon and many more

Avatar image for widdowson91
#40 Edited by widdowson91 (1248 posts) -

I think a plot depends on which type of games you play. Do the Civilization, Sims or Mario games need to tell compelling stories? No, not at all. But a good story does help compliment some games, something like Final Fantasy VI springs to mind in this respect. But sometimes I feel devs focus too much on telling the plot. The Last of Us was so heavily story driven that I feel Naughty Dog dropped the ball in several key game play areas as a result.

So plot isn't overrated, it just depends on the type of game and nothing else.

Avatar image for SolidGame_basic
#41 Posted by SolidGame_basic (22797 posts) -

I like a good story, but games are games above anything else. if the gameplay sucks, forget about it

Avatar image for LegatoSkyheart
#42 Posted by LegatoSkyheart (29703 posts) -

I can give you the plot of many games I have played.

Those who can't recall a plot line of their favorite game didn't play said game.

Avatar image for jdc6305
#43 Edited by jdc6305 (4843 posts) -

I don't care for plots or story in video games. If I wanted a strong plot or story I'd watch a movie.

Avatar image for Gue1
#44 Edited by Gue1 (12171 posts) -

I agree with this and it makes perfect sense. Game's are often 12 hours long but unlike a TV series they aren't forced to stay in a constant continuity in the sense where many scenes jump from one time to the other when it's necessary to advance a plot. But in games that continuity is forced to be longer by the game and that's just another element that makes telling good stories on video games an almost impossible task. You need to be constantly thinking on how you'll move the story in a way that you can balance it with the gameplay. Unless of course you want to pull off a David Cage and make most of the gameplay revolve around menial things in order to tell a story that it is about more than just guns, shootouts or sword fighting.

Avatar image for Sushiglutton
#45 Posted by Sushiglutton (6878 posts) -

I think he is correct and that people are missinterpreting a little bit what he is saying.

TLOU has a very simple plot. Joel is to escort Ellie to the firefly hospital. The focus of the story is on their relationship with eachother and other characters they meet along the way. This is in line with what this guy is suggesting.

Another example, Mass Effect 2. Plot is basically: Assemble a team to go fight something, something. The focus then is on the various characters of the team and their relationship to Shepard.

Both these game has a very simple base plot that is very easy for the player to remember. The focus is on the characters.

Avatar image for Lucianu
#46 Posted by Lucianu (10283 posts) -

@jg4xchamp said:

To a game being good? sure. It certainly doesn't carry as much weight as gameplay and game design overall. It's an interactive medium, and if that part sucks, the game sucks.

That example though speaks more to the fact that videogame stories are dog shit when compared to better story telling mediums.

That's true.. (except for the dog shit part) but, in a book, or a movie, you don't have any choice but to follow one path set in stone.

I may state the obvious here, but there's one strength to video game storytelling that is above the other mediums. In Planescape: Torment, for example, the way the story & storytelling is designed around player choice is a experience that couldn't possibly be transferred to the other two mediums.

Then there's Silent Hill 2, in which 80% of the entire story is told without a spec of dialogue or cutscene. But with pure interpretation of the exploration within the game world, in the enemy design, in the soundtrack, etc. There's a shit ton of detail to the story of this incredible game that's easily missable.

Problem is that to have a good plot in a game, you need good writing and a good way to design the game around the script, and not the other way around. Why is that a problem? There are a minuscule number of truly good writers in the video game industry.

Avatar image for lundy86_4
#47 Edited by lundy86_4 (49107 posts) -

I don't have the data, but personally, I tend to forget game components of game plots. I do remember characters pretty well.

Avatar image for Kuromino
#48 Posted by Kuromino (1594 posts) -

Agreed. The story in most games are usually uninteresting to me. I would prefer the developers focus on making the characters more memorable. The only instance where the story has kept me going is the Zero Escape series and The Walking Dead. Adventure games seem to be the exception.

Avatar image for edwardecl
#49 Posted by edwardecl (2240 posts) -

Plot doesn't matter for most games, but it does add to the experience. Some of the best games for example Silent Hill and Dark Souls do not have much of a plot, however they do have a story to tell indirectly and I kinda like that.

Avatar image for Magescrew
#50 Posted by Magescrew (541 posts) -
@foxhound_fox said:

@Couth_ said:

That's one of the most beloved franchises right now and story telling is almost non existent.. The subtle tidbits of story are there but they don't even bother to tell it to you

A video game that tells a story through it's gameplay mechanics rather than overt cutscenes and dialogue is playing the part of a "video game" correctly. It's a medium that should be about letting the player discover the story for themselves. Super Metroid has a more telling story and atmosphere than Other M, which uses cutscenes and dialogue. Metroid Prime and Echoes especially nailed the method of story-telling well, with those hidden pieces of information that only the most devoted would find and reveal.

Telling us how it is is for film.

I never plan on playing Dark Souls, but one game I adore that does this well is Mount and Blade Warband. I'm really into the story, which is basically just you trying to make it in the world, and there are no cut scenes and it's all text based interactions with characters. But the gameplay makes it so epic.