Gamasutra is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Gamasutra: The Art & Business of Making Gamesspacer
View All     RSS
August 18, 2019
arrowPress Releases

If you enjoy reading this site, you might also want to check out these UBM Tech sites:

'Why hasn't story in games advanced?'  Amnesia 's designer has some opinions!

'Why hasn't story in games advanced?' Amnesia's designer has some opinions!

August 15, 2012 | By Simon Carless

August 15, 2012 | By Simon Carless
More: Indie, Design

In his incredibly animated talk at GDC Europe on Wednesday, Frictional Games co-founder Thomas Grip (Amnesia: The Dark Descent, Penumbra) discussed horror and storytelling in games, explaining his personal theory of what's vital in telling game stories.

His prime thesis is that in games, "story is not just the plot." In fact, regarding what's important in interactive storytelling, Grip postulated: "We want the player to play through the story, not just sit through it."

In a complex talk, Grip suggested that similar games separated by 20 years like Uncharted and Another World have, in the end, relatively similar types of gameplay and storytelling combined.

In that case, both titles have things like running, followed by jumping and cutscenes -- Grip argued: "This is weird why haven't we advanced?" He suggests: "The main culprit is how most of these games are designed."

Using his own games as examples, Grip expressed his thesis: "Tell stories where you play all the way through the games, not just the bits where the designers tell you to."

Overall, Grip is definitely an explicit game story minimalist -- he suggests that the key to success is to keep systems simple, and rely on the player's imagination. And multiple game design elements will enhance the story and coherence of the universe.

In particular, a couple of those game design elements include the concept of a consistent world ("what you do somewhere should work somewhere else"), and that of "agreeable outcome" (buttons doing perhaps not exactly what the player wanted to do, but doing something that feels right to them). Designers should also avoid failsafes -- "herding" players into particular didactic cutscenes and other forced explanations.

Grip concluded of his passions: "Don't try to beat the game, try to live the game" -- and said that Frictional Games is "trying to push this as far as we possibly can" with its next, as-yet-unannounced game.

Related Jobs

Wargaming Sydney
Wargaming Sydney — Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Lead Game Designer
Street Smarts VR
Street Smarts VR — San Antonio, Texas, United States

Senior Producer/Game Designer
The Walt Disney Company
The Walt Disney Company — Glendale, California, United States

Game Designer, Creative Development
Cold Iron Studios
Cold Iron Studios — San Jose, California, United States

Senior World Builder

Loading Comments

loader image