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Smash Bros. Creator: Storytelling in Games Still Has Far To Go

| 14 Feb 2013 13:52
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Lengthy introductions that make players wait before playing are just one of the annoyances Masahiro Sakurai has with storytelling in games.

Masahiro Sakurai, creator of Kid Icarus: Uprising and the Super Smash Bros. series, says that videogame stories are too often more annoying than they are moving. "As a player, as someone who's been playing games for a long time, the stories that get told in videogames are honestly irksome to me pretty often," he wrote. "For example, games that take forever to get through the intro and won't let you start playing, or games that go through the trouble of being fully voiced and wind up having their tempo all messed up as a result. I just want to enjoy the game and I think I'm just intolerant of aspects that block that enjoyment. I can enjoy a story in any other form of media; I just want the game to let me play it already."

Sakurai feels that the reason this happens is because developers don't often match the story to the content of the game. For Kid Icarus: Uprising, which he wrote himself, he explains "I did it [wrote the game myself] so I could write a story that jibed with the game, one that took advantage of the game's advantages. Every character, including the bosses, had their personalities shaped by their roles in the game, or the structure of the game itself." He feels that the story and game were very intertwined, and that story writers and game designers could seriously benefit from taking the time to think about how the story relates to the game, and vice-versa.

Sakurai also talks about how games that put a heavy focus on the story over the gameplay can actually be quite frustrating to players. For an example, he wrote "Let's talk about how, in RPGs and things, a character that you spent the game raising dies or leaves your party for the sake of the story. From a gamer standpoint, that's dreadful; it's totally unreasonable. In games where you're fighting against enemies, you're playing from the perspective of the hero, and you're being asked to basically win every time. If players wind up in a predicament because of what the story calls for, that's like penalizing them even though they made no mistake. As gameplay, it's lacking."

Source: Famitsu via Polygon

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