Nonlinear Storytelling

Nonlinear narrative takes two forms, open world and branching (these are both pretty explanatory). As I have been focusing on this topic as a case study, to see whether I am interested in narrative overall I have found another good source of information on the web. The site focuses on how nonlinear narratives can be achieved for beginners. It outlines some key points that I think will be useful for my future development.

Narrative authors understand dependencies – they use tactics tat leak just enough information to keep the player interested with the story, but not too much to make them feel overloaded all at once. A common technique to achieve this is called layering, in which you add little subtle hints into the story to help the player understand what to do. For instance, the first piece of information may be a quest/problem etc, then the second will be an object and the third will be a hint as to where this item can be found. Within nonlinear stories, this poses a problem because the player could just walk off whilst the narrator is trying to tell them something important. A way to achieve it is to have mini quest that allow freedom, Fallout comes to mind. When you think of a quest in Fallout, you are given the initial briefing, then you go o a destination in which you have the freedom to find as much or as little information as you want. The player recognises key sources of back story like the terminals in Fallout and can choose whether to access them or not.

I also found this image:

They show a writers plans for a nonlinear story structure. The one on the left dictates a nonlinear narrative that has choices that all lead to the key plot points. Whereas the one on the right shows a free choice system that has multiple options, much like the system in Heavy Rain. When I look at these images I feel a lot more intimidated by the one on the right, but in all honesty it is the one that intrigues the most!


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