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
December 9, 2019
arrowPress Releases







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


Feature: The Death Of Linearity?

Feature: The Death Of Linearity?

October 7, 2010 | By Staff

October 7, 2010 | By Staff
Comments
    6 comments
More: Console/PC



Tale of Tales' Michael Samyn (The Path) describes how narrative linearity got tangled up in the game medium, and suggests how leaving it behind will allow a true art form to emerge.

Calling "the joys of linearity... beyond dispute", Samyn says that it's no surprise linear storytelling became a function of games early in the medium.

"We love the tension that comes with a carefully constructed story arc. From Greek theater through medieval fairy tales and printed novels to stereoscopic high definition cinema, humankind has enjoyed storytelling for thousands of years," he observes.

"As we perfected the presentation of our creations, the backbone of our designs shifted from the linearity of competitive gameplay to the linearity of the narrative arc. Our characters and worlds simply demanded this," writes Samyn.

This has lead games to paint themselves into a corner, he warns. "On the one hand, we are stuck with stories about conflict and heroism that grew out of our juvenile gaming fantasies. And on the other, we are stuck with interactive designs that require victory, which actively prevent our audience from experiencing the immense virtual worlds and sophisticated characters we build -- the production of which becomes ever more demanding in terms of effort, skill and money."

However, games are a real-time medium, one in which players can explore and interact, he argues, and in which these constraints chafe. "We are designing for interactivity; we are not purely designing rule sets anymore. We are creating situations in which people can have experiences," he writes.

"Some people don't like the cutscenes. We allow them to be skipped. Other people don't like the gameplay bits. It's only fair that we allow those to be skipped as well," he playfully suggests, pointing to how the linear nature of contemporary games restricts play.

To learn more of Samyn's observations about the nature of interactivity, linearity, and game design, be sure to read the entire feature, The Contradiction Of Linearity.


Related Jobs

Square Enix Co., Ltd.
Square Enix Co., Ltd. — Tokyo, Japan
[12.08.19]

Experienced Game Developer
Counterplay Games Inc.
Counterplay Games Inc. — Emeryville, California, United States
[12.08.19]

Next-Gen Platform Engineer
Counterplay Games Inc.
Counterplay Games Inc. — Emeryville, California, United States
[12.08.19]

Senior Gameplay Programmer
Disbelief
Disbelief — Chicago, Illinois, United States
[12.06.19]

Senior Programmer, Chicago









Loading Comments

loader image