Thursday, July 8, 2010

3rd person story telling

Just had an interesting thought about game storytelling ...

First person story telling never seems to work very well, this is because you are in control and you can't be directed to play your part in someone else's story.
The more control someone tries to assert over you, the less freedom you have.

When you watch a movie, you sympathize with the characters you're seeing on the screen.
When you play a traditional first person game, you don't sympathize with yourself in the same way, because even though you control your character, you are never truly him or her.
You don't share that made up history with the character, you are just you put in the shoes of someone else and everybody pretending that you are that other person.

The first person games that have the best stories always have their stories revolve *around* the player, always trying to put the player into the center of the story in a somewhat fake way.
Half life does this the best because it lets most of it's story be told by other characters, and acted out by other characters.

So I was thinking, perhaps the story shouldn't centered around the player, but around other characters, and the player is simply there to, sort of, witness it.
Certainly the player would participate in the puzzles and obstacles, but when it comes to the story, the player wouldn't actually be the focal point.
The player wouldn't be the main character.

This would allow much more interesting characters in the story, or maybe even switching between multiple characters, like they do in series.
You would simply be the faceless guy/girl who goes along for the ride, so to speak.

Which explains why freeman never speaking in half life works so well.