“Even if you’re not putting story at the heart of your game, players are still looking for stories.”
That was the observation from Rhianna Pratchett during her recent DICE talk on narrative in games, which saw the award-winning Rise of the Tomb Raider author argue for a greater consideration of games writing. (Thanks, Polygon.)
“We are narrative creatures,” she explained during her speech From Overlords to Tomb Raiders: A Career in the Narrative Trenches. “Stories engage the heart and make players care about your game.”
One key mistake made by many developers is neglecting the presence of a writer until the last minute, Pratchett advised, when a title’s script should be created alongside – rather than after – core gameplay.
“Writers are often brought in too late,” she said. “They are asked to wrap a narrative around a game that has already been designed.
“It’s a really frustrating way of working. We are like narrative paramedics.
“Writers need to be engaged with the whole team and not left on the outside. When writers are on the outside, so is your story. Story is not just words. It flows through everything in the game.”