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Film Script writing VS Game Narrative writing

עודכן: 6 בינו׳ 2023

I’ve been accused of being a control freak before. Maybe that’s why being a writer-director suited me when I worked in the film industry - I loved having control over the narrative, the cast, the crew and the footage in the editing bay. Ultimately, filmmakers are trying to control the audience. We use every trick of the trade to get our point across, even if that point is ambiguous or our ending open-ended. If journalism is a direct line to an audience, film communicates in subtext.

So you can imagine my surprise when I became a narrative designer at Oligame, and the first lesson I learned was that I must give control to the player. We’re making an open-world game, they said. We’re not giving fake choices or railroading the player, they said. My personal point of view, my careful structuring of a journey, suddenly must be hidden. Is that fair?

Consider how much we’re asking the player to invest. We’re not talking about spending two minutes watching a TikTok, or even spending two hours watching a movie. A game demands time, patience, effort, creativity and commitment. Asking someone to take on this load requires more than beautiful art, cool mechanics or a riveting story (all things you should expect out of a decent movie). But as an experiential medium, a game demands a clear invitation to participate. If you commit to my game, I’ll give you power. If you immerse yourself in the experience I’ve created, I’ll hand over the controller (literally).

My most important guideline when differentiating narrative design from script writing is this: I’m not creating a story so much as I’m creating a space for a story to take place. As any good Dungeon Master will tell you, the more choices and agency you gift to the player, the more engaging your game is. So kill your ego, and put the player experience first.




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