Game Career Guide has been a constant help throughout my continual development and I have found yet another little gem.
One of their features has Gideon Shbeeb, a student at The Guildhall at SMU, pick apart the narrative structure of Bioware’s original Mass Effect depicting why it succeeds as an interactive story.I am going to take notes from the article to enable my development.
One of the key reasons it is an interactive story is the main character, Commander Shepherd is a typical protagonist from Bioware, but the thing that grabs the player is the immediate customisation. Not only are they allowed to customised the visual aspects they have to choose class specifications. This allows the player to customise the gameplay; this level of control influences the narrative, are you playing a good character or not? The narrative needs to fit around the protagonist, so if the game allows for multiple options of gameplay these need to reflect in the story.
Shbeeb states that the strongest elements of the games narrative come from the player character relationship, the most effective of which is the players attachments and emotional believability to the story and its characters. This means that to create a good narrative you need to have an understanding of what makes players attached to a game.
The least successful element is the exploration, some areas within the game are accessable but these are unnecessary. They ability to explore them hinders the narrative flow, as it allows the player to get distracted. I think this is a very hard thing to manage, especially when trying to do an RPG game, especially with the ever-increasing demand for longer levels. Within RPG games players seek a sense of a free-roam world, but to make a successful narrative that is enjoyable you need to give it some sort of structure. A good example of this can be seen in Bethesda’s Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, the games structure of narrative is entirely down to the player but the world creation has given it a sense of stability. All the main towns are joined through set obvious paths, they mainly all feature the same set of cobble texture that notifies the player that this is a main road.
Shbeeb’s article: HERE