Is a Story Important in Video Games?

Video games have evolved in terms of story writing; the medium has crafted a variety of memorable stories over the years. Developers such as Naughty Dog, Bungie, Rockstar, and Sony Santa Monica Studios are at the forefront of narrative stories. Games are no longer just about the total points earned at the end. Award-winning writers have been tasked to pen original stories that video games can only pull off. But do games need lore? Some games are story oriented, but a game can suffer if it isn’t good enough. There have been several games in the past that have excellent game mechanics and are fun to play, yet cannot tell a story or has an interesting premise that is barely fleshed out. Bungie’s Destiny suffers from this unique problem.

The player-base is rabid for both content and stories to play in the game universe, however, Bungie has struggled to deliver on both. It is a far cry from their very successful Halo series. Halo featured impactful characters, an engrossing story, and varied, fun gameplay, while Destiny tries to combine this experience with friends in an online multiplayer setting. Gearbox’s Borderlands series is similar to Destiny in a variety of ways; it is an online shooter with the ability to join up with friends to complete missions, tons of loot to collect and the ability that combines lore with gameplay. The difference between the two is that Borderlands blends its story and missions together in a way that is understandable to the player. It is important to keep a player engaged in a story if that is the major draw of the game.

To make sure a game has a decent story along with their gameplay I would suggest developers create the game around the story instead of the other way around. For example, in League of Legends, characters are developed to fit their theme and story. This means that everything about each individual character in the game makes you feel like you understand their personality. In the larger scope of a full-scale game, the gameplay should reflect the tone of the story. The games I have mentioned above try to play in the same style as how their story is set up. And that is how it should be. Games that do not do this fall very short of the mark they aim for. But I want to know what you think about this. Should video games feature more stories? Or should games focus purely on gameplay? Sound off in the comments below.

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