• 140 results
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
#1 Edited by Jeust (10815 posts) -

Who is, to you, the best?

Let's start the discussion!

#2 Edited by ILikePopCans (767 posts) -
Black Box

EDIT I think you guys are taking this way to serious by saying naughty dog. Obviously my answer is the best.

#3 Edited by Flappy (2328 posts) -

Namco Bandai. Every time I fire up one of the Tales games, I'm KO'd within an hour.

#4 Edited by csl316 (9241 posts) -

Volition?

#5 Edited by TheManWithNoPlan (5900 posts) -

I'd say Naughty Dog. With the qualification that I don't necessarily think they write the best stories overall, but tell them in a pretty great way.

Also, I really hope this doesn't devolve into people arguing about why video game stories are bad or not. Let's keep this civil and fun, talking about the merits video game stories have and how unique they can be compared to other mediums.

Edit: I'm not entirely sure, but my own interpretation of this threads meaning is which developer is best at story telling and not best story overall.

#6 Edited by Darji (5294 posts) -

As for Storytelling I would say Naughty Dog and after that a long while nothing else. They maybe have not original ideas or stories but the way they present these and their characters is just brilliant.

#7 Edited by HatKing (6059 posts) -

Naughty Dog puts together a cast like nobody else. From the characters to the acting everything about the people in their games is typically great. But I guess that's not really what's being asked here.

RockStar can usually put together a solid narrative, but they have their share of missteps too.

I'd say Irrational, but frankly I think they're better world builders than storytellers. They do have moments of great story telling. But they tend to drown those moments under other less well told bits. As great as BioShock's reveal was, that ending could not have felt more tacked on if a separate team had wrote it.

I want to consider Remedy, but I'm not sure if I'm just a sucker for their version of gritty action or if their stories are actually good.

#8 Posted by RonGalaxy (3262 posts) -

The Naughty Gods at Naughty Dog. I cannot wait to see what they do with ps4.

#9 Posted by SlashDance (1839 posts) -

If we're just talking about who is good at making good stories, there are too many for me to pick just one. The most recent example for me is Nier which I finished a few weeks ago. Amazing story.

If the question is who is good at making interactive storytelling, now that's a shorter list. I think Telltale is one, I think Team ICO is another, I think Kojima has its moments, Irrational is also good (especially in System Shock 2 and Bioshock), so is Valve, and a few more that I can't think of right now.

#10 Posted by SunBroZak (1272 posts) -

Personal preference goes to Team Ico, but I'd probably say Rockstar Games.

#11 Posted by Canteu (2821 posts) -

For me, probably Namco Bandai.

#12 Posted by TheManWithNoPlan (5900 posts) -

I'll also throw in a mention for Rocksteady. Those batman games are fantastic all around.

#13 Edited by BabyChooChoo (4735 posts) -

COME AT ME, BRO
#14 Posted by MonkeyKing1969 (2954 posts) -

The best story teller is about technique., not stories. It not the stories they tell, but HOW they use the tools of gaming to tell the story. For that, I say Bioware. They tell linear stories, i.e. they have a start, middle conclusion that is planned; but where possible they allow for player interaction and input through dialogue choices and even what missions you attempt and what missions you skip.

You don't have to LIKE the Mass Effect stories or Dragon Age stories to say they TELL the best stories. It is rather remarkable that Bioware can allow the player so much input on gender, look, attitude, actions of the players character yet still tell very tight very cogent stories that 'works'.

#15 Posted by Klei (1768 posts) -

I'd say Remedy are pretty good. Rockstar too. Naughty Dog are onto something with Last of Us, but we'll see if it's beginner's luck with that franchise. Not speaking of Uncharted, because those stories seem to have been written by a bunch of teenagers.

#16 Posted by TobbRobb (4816 posts) -

@monkeyking1969: Now if only the characters were ever well executed, you would be right. It's impressive making the mess of choices work together into something that resembles a story. But it has never been executed to the standard I would personally like. So no, I do not think they are the best story tellers.

I might have to jump on the Naughty Dog train from an execution standpoint. Even if they generally aren't my favorite stories, The Dogs know how to tell one.

#17 Posted by HH (617 posts) -

COME AT ME, BRO

i'm gonna second this, because they developed the weirdness of gameplay behavior into a fascinatingly detailed undead curse in an intriguing world, with me as the star and not some nolan whatever the fuck.

#18 Edited by ArtisanBreads (3963 posts) -

Storytelling is different from plot in dialogue and all that for me... here I'm taking it to mean how the story is delivered to you in games. The presentation... almost like the direction for a movie. This might not be the distinction but that's how I'm taking it. Otherwise it'd be a bigger discussion (with devs like Bioware, CD Projekt involved).

I personally think it's only recently really coming into its own (not that there was none before... just the interactivity is starting to matter more to story delivery and that's what's special about games).

I'd say Valve has done the best work overall in this sense. I think Portal 1/2 really display that in a cool way... there's no business having story in a puzzle game. It was so cool being totally taken by surprise by Portal. The start to Half Life 2 is still amazing and I wrote a 10 page paper on it for school... really made me appreciate all the detail. Even Left 4 Dead, which has no business having story (and doesn't really in a traditional sense at all) they manage to add storytelling into. And for legacy, lets not forget how huge Half Life 1 was.

I think Rockstar are pretty great at this (in addition to plot and dialogue, I think they're top notch), Naughty Dog is really strong (the storytelling of their games carry them past plots that are pretty straightforward and at moments kind of bad, they also use great acting), and Remedy I think deserves a special mention for their crazy blending of styles. Max Payne 2's story is my favorite in games so there's that too. The way it goes back and forth between the graphic novels, the in game TV shows, the dream sequences.... pretty crazy mix to form into a cohesive whole, but they do it.

#19 Posted by Xeiphyer (5608 posts) -

Squaresoft comes to mind. Possibly Bioware.

Not sure I can say Naughty Dog yet, need to see how their next game goes. Its also a little too close to this discussion to consider without being somewhat blinded by how recent it was.

#20 Posted by ArtisanBreads (3963 posts) -

@hh said:

@babychoochoo said:

COME AT ME, BRO

i'm gonna second this, because they developed the weirdness of gameplay behavior into a fascinatingly detailed undead curse in an intriguing world, with me as the star and not some nolan whatever the fuck.

I have no idea what this comment means but "nolan whatever the fuck" is hilarious.

#21 Edited by TowerSixteen (544 posts) -

I liked the Last of Us, though not as much as some. But Uncharted never did nothin' for me. I liked The Walking Dead, a lot, though episode 4 kinda sucked (Whit-taaaa!!*shakes fist*). Wolf Among Us seems cool, from what I've seen. Bioware's been kinda down recently. I can't think of a Japanese developer who's been super consistent. All in all, I don't think I can answer this question now- definitely some people to watch, but no one yet. Maybe if CD Projekt Red's cyberpunk game turns out to be awesome.

#22 Edited by Animasta (14718 posts) -

Obsidian.

#23 Posted by mosespippy (4366 posts) -

Did any of the people saying Naughty Dog even play Uncharted 3? The spiders and mind control stuff never gets explained. Drake just stumbles into what he's searching for in both Yemen and the desert. I heard that for Uncharted 2 they built levels and strung them together with a story. Uncharted 3 feels like they did that but didn't have enough story to connect the levels. There is also the fact that they keep pretending to kill off characters. In Uncharted 1 they killed Sully but then it turns out he had the journal in his pocket save the bullet. Then in Uncharted 2 Elena gets hit with that grenade blast and shortly after you are at a funeral but it's just the funeral for the Nazi guy and Elena is just fine. Then in Uncharted 3 they kill Sully again but it turns you you're just hallucinating. It's like their only dramatic tool. I haven't played The Last of Us but I think I heard it happens in that game as well. I feel like I don't need to play another Naughty Dog game because I've played it already.

I've really enjoyed everything I've played by the Persona studio. Persona 2: IS is probably the high point. Even P4A is really good. It's good enough that I think any side project or spin off has potential to be great. I've heard P2: EP isn't great in the story department but I haven't played it.

#24 Posted by SomberOwl (709 posts) -

Bioware. The Mass Effect Trilogy is my favourite series of games ever.

#25 Edited by TurboMan (7687 posts) -

Naughty Dog is currently killing it right now.

#26 Edited by The_Nubster (2318 posts) -
@animasta said:

Obsidian.

It was on the tip of my tongue. My vote goes to Obsidian, as well.

#27 Posted by coaxmetal (1647 posts) -

Most of the AAA developers aren't good with writing. Bioware is one that is cited as being good, and yet their writing is at best like a trashy check-out lane paperback (especially the way the write women). Naughty Dog is very good at telling a story, the stories they tell aren't bad but also aren't outstanding, though their strength is the characters more than the overall story anyway. They are just outstanding for game stories, which are generally quite poor. Still, the last of us was great, a step up from the uncharted storytelling for sure (but uncharted was probably just meant to be a rollercoaster anyway). So, at story telling, sure, they are one of the best. Probably even at writing.

#28 Posted by development (2565 posts) -

@hh said:

@babychoochoo said:

COME AT ME, BRO

i'm gonna second this, because they developed the weirdness of gameplay behavior into a fascinatingly detailed undead curse in an intriguing world, with me as the star and not some nolan whatever the fuck.

Except the part where you read the developer interview and Miyazaki and Co. pretty much say multiple times that most of the lore was derived from the art. In other words: they drew a dude; he looked cool; they made up a backstory to why he looked the way he did, and kept it ambiguous. Interesting? Definitely. Amazing story telling? No.

I'm sure I won't catch flack for this comment.

#29 Posted by themangalist (1742 posts) -

Telling a good story is one thing, telling a good interactive story is another. There are many indie games which I loved for the innovative ways they produce immersion, but I don't think those developers had more than one game released as of now.

#30 Posted by Guesty_01 (382 posts) -

Storytelling? Naughty Dog tells a story, and presents it to the player like nobody else in the business right now. Irrational probably a distant second place, Rockstar trailing somewhere in the horizon. Team ICO are a personal favorite of mine.

Now if you were to ask who writes the best story's, that to me is a totally different question, and one I don't feel qualified to answer.

#31 Posted by Jeust (10815 posts) -

My vote goes to Remedy, for the wacky game Alan Wake was aswell as it DLC and American Nightmare. The stories were great, the universe was great, and the storytelling was superb.

#32 Edited by Darji (5294 posts) -

Did any of the people saying Naughty Dog even play Uncharted 3? The spiders and mind control stuff never gets explained. Drake just stumbles into what he's searching for in both Yemen and the desert. I heard that for Uncharted 2 they built levels and strung them together with a story. Uncharted 3 feels like they did that but didn't have enough story to connect the levels. There is also the fact that they keep pretending to kill off characters. In Uncharted 1 they killed Sully but then it turns out he had the journal in his pocket save the bullet. Then in Uncharted 2 Elena gets hit with that grenade blast and shortly after you are at a funeral but it's just the funeral for the Nazi guy and Elena is just fine. Then in Uncharted 3 they kill Sully again but it turns you you're just hallucinating. It's like their only dramatic tool. I haven't played The Last of Us but I think I heard it happens in that game as well. I feel like I don't need to play another Naughty Dog game because I've played it already.

I've really enjoyed everything I've played by the Persona studio. Persona 2: IS is probably the high point. Even P4A is really good. It's good enough that I think any side project or spin off has potential to be great. I've heard P2: EP isn't great in the story department but I haven't played it.

But this has nothing to do with Storytelling. Storytelling is a about the techniques and how they present a story.

@monkeyking1969 and with DA2 they bbasically have thrown everything out of the window^^

#33 Posted by yinstarrunner (1232 posts) -

@animasta said:

Obsidian.

This man knows what he's talking about. I'm deeply alarmed that it took this long for someone to say it.

Naughty Dog is good, sure, but not as good as one Mr. Chris Avellone.

#34 Posted by TowerSixteen (544 posts) -

@darji said:

@mosespippy said:

Did any of the people saying Naughty Dog even play Uncharted 3? The spiders and mind control stuff never gets explained. Drake just stumbles into what he's searching for in both Yemen and the desert. I heard that for Uncharted 2 they built levels and strung them together with a story. Uncharted 3 feels like they did that but didn't have enough story to connect the levels. There is also the fact that they keep pretending to kill off characters. In Uncharted 1 they killed Sully but then it turns out he had the journal in his pocket save the bullet. Then in Uncharted 2 Elena gets hit with that grenade blast and shortly after you are at a funeral but it's just the funeral for the Nazi guy and Elena is just fine. Then in Uncharted 3 they kill Sully again but it turns you you're just hallucinating. It's like their only dramatic tool. I haven't played The Last of Us but I think I heard it happens in that game as well. I feel like I don't need to play another Naughty Dog game because I've played it already.

I've really enjoyed everything I've played by the Persona studio. Persona 2: IS is probably the high point. Even P4A is really good. It's good enough that I think any side project or spin off has potential to be great. I've heard P2: EP isn't great in the story department but I haven't played it.

But this has nothing to do with Storytelling. Storytelling is a about the techniques and how they present a story.

@monkeyking1969 and with DA2 they bbasically have thrown everything out of the window^^

Ehhh...let's acknowledge that it's a fuzzy word that's going to mean different things to different people. It doesn't have a concrete definition in the context we're talking about. It's certainly not the capital-letter word your implying, I think, though I get what you mean.

#35 Posted by MonkeyKing1969 (2954 posts) -

@tobbrobb said:

@monkeyking1969: Now if only the characters were ever well executed, you would be right. It's impressive making the mess of choices work together into something that resembles a story. But it has never been executed to the standard I would personally like. So no, I do not think they are the best story tellers.

I might have to jump on the Naughty Dog train from an execution standpoint. Even if they generally aren't my favorite stories, The Dogs know how to tell one.

Oh, I don't know I think Shepard is pretty fucking remarkable give he/she can be straight, gay or transsexual and the story still works and everyone has the correct interactions with Shepard...again the story might not be to someone's taste...but the ability to tell that story when the player is whipsawing through choices like that is remarkable. It takes planning to do that sort of stuff, very careful construction. if you want tyour Shep to be likeable they are, if a hardass they are, etc. They make that one character pretty flexible without seeming totally flimsy.

As for the other characters, I love 1/5 of them (Mortin, Liara, Miranada, Zaeed, and Legion), see no huge issues with the balance of them and have only really found a few that just don't work for me - Jack & Joker never worked for me. The angry rage girl as a character type never worked for me, so Jack just turned me off totally. And, Joker was less fun for me since I hate frat-boy pricks...Joker mostly just acted like a prick in the first two games.

I do agree with you that Naughty Dog tells goo stories, they don't add the complexities Bioware does with player choice being non-existant, but all the same they construct their stories well. They tell them using the whole medium of the game (game play, cutscenes, findable objects, etc).

#36 Posted by TowerSixteen (544 posts) -

@monkeyking1969: I think I might agree more if the interactions with party members were a little more organic. The "go see people in designated standing locations after each mission for requisite allotment of characterization" part, rather than have things come out more naturally as in, say, the ME2 loyalty missions, is not great. I also wish they had put more work into how the characters animate and move during dialogue, and used less repeated generic animations, this is a visual medium and lack of attention to that takes something away even if the writing is good. Still do like ME though.

#37 Edited by Vextroid (1425 posts) -

Chalk up another vote for Obsidian.

#38 Edited by alwaysbebombing (1627 posts) -

Personally, I really love the insane world building that CyberConnect2 has built. I imported three, 300 page books about the Little Tail Bronx series from Japan. The depth that was written for everything imaginable almost makes it like the texts of a lost civilization.

#39 Posted by Brodehouse (10106 posts) -

I can't believe it took so long for someone to say Obsidian.

Rockstar and Irrational are good at building settings, not at telling stories.

BioWare is good at writing characters and snappy dialogue, not plot.

Naughty Dog's main talent might not strike people easily; it's pacing. They have some of the best paced games I've played. From Bastion and the 18 minutes of Transistor I've seen, I'd say that's Supergiant's best quality too. Bastion especially has great, organic pacing.

But the answer is Obsidian. Plot, character, setting, dialogue, pacing, interactivity, even the pure quality of their English use is unparalleled. They're one of few developers who I can feel their intelligence coming through in their writing.

#40 Posted by Oldirtybearon (4867 posts) -

@brodehouse: Dungeon Siege 3 is the Citizen Kane of our medium.

#41 Posted by Jimbo (9931 posts) -

Tight between Obsidian and CD Projekt Red for me; they're both leagues ahead of Bioware. Daniel Vavra (the main man behind the Mafia games) is also excellent.

Rockstar storytelling usually amounts to "I might (but probably won't) help you with X if you do totally unrelated thing Y for me!" x20, then with a sad ending tacked on to wrap it up. Usually entertaining enough by game standards, but I think they're massively overrated when it comes to storytelling. I would say they're the best in the business at world building though.

I haven't played The Last of Us, but Naughty Dog must have improved beyond recognition since Uncharted 1 & 2 if they're now considered the best storytellers around.

#42 Edited by VoshiNova (1732 posts) -

Dude. Everyone saying Naughty Dog is being reaaaaally short sighted. They had The Last of Us and Uncharted 2. Both recent games, and one of them is lighthearted fun.

I'd say Irrational or Bioware.

But seriously...Naughty Dog?! The Last of Us is great, but nah man.

Edit: Holy shit look at me. Forgetting Obsidian!

#43 Posted by TobbRobb (4816 posts) -

Holy shit Obsidian. I totally forgot about them for a second, and they are pretty hit and miss. But fuck If I don't think they make some good stories.

#44 Edited by TowerSixteen (544 posts) -

Erm, to all the people saying Obsidian now- what games, recently, are you talking about? I get that they were Black Isle, but they've been Obsidian since early 2000's, and according to Wikipedia, this is their entire list:

YearTitlePlatform(s)
LinuxMacPS3WinXboxX360
2004Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II – The Sith LordsNoNoNoYesYesNo
2006Neverwinter Nights 2NoYesNoYesNoNo
2007Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the BetrayerNoNoNoYesNoNo
2008Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of ZehirNoNoNoYesNoNo
2010Alpha ProtocolNoNoYesYesNoYes
2010Fallout: New VegasNoNoYesYesNoYes
2011Dungeon Siege IIINoNoYesYesNoYes
2014South Park: The Stick of TruthNoNoYesYesNoYes
2014Pillars of EternityYesYesNoYesNoNo
TBAThe Wheel of Time[17]NoNoYesYesNoYes

Kotor 2 wasn't finished and it's story was broken as a result, NWN2 was okay, MOTB was awesome but had a fucking rushed and anticlimactic third act, Alpha Protocol was admittedly sweet, New Vegas was good but not great. I've never played Dungeon Siege, I admit. What there warrants such high praise? I mean, Planescape was phenomenal but that was a long time ago.

#45 Edited by Dixavd (1367 posts) -

Are we talking about implied stories or literally told stories? Because I generally don't like literally told stories but find the implied ones affect me in a way that gives me joy in having experienced it. Maybe it's the same reason why I hate most movies and TV shows, but I tend to find most characters badly written in any form, and even successfully delivered ones seem annoying, unbelievable or formulaic. The closest I have ever got from a western studio was probably Bioshock Infinite's portrayal of Booker, Comstock and Elizabeth - but again, I found almost everything else in it held it back in a way that made me find more characters in the story took me out of the experience than brought me in to it.

If we're talking about implied stories then I think Team ICO are probably the masters at this.

I'll probably get a lot of flack for this (but I don't care what people think about it any more), but I will say the closest any story has ever got to feeling real to me was Final Fantasy X. But again, it was pulled through because we actually see very little about anyone other than Tidus, Jecht, Yuna and Auron; and most of the interesting parts are implied and not shown. So I think the story you actually see isn't very good, but the one that it is only a tiny part of is easily one of the most truly represented and yet solemnly shown stories in gaming. Though I think what pulls it through for me is the music and environmental design that implies much more than is ever shown. The musical creators aimed to not just make music that fit the story moments, nor just music that fit the art assets they were shown for areas, but instead they wanted to convey a description of the world of Spira itself through the music and the history that it had clearly had. It's telling that Masashi Hamauzu said his work on it is both the one he is most proud of, and the one he's always been slightly disappointed by (I wonder if he feels like he was able to 'fix' it in the re-release.

Nevertheless, as someone who has found it difficult to find any stories anything but a distant idea, maybe I'm not a good person to ask.

#46 Posted by Brodehouse (10106 posts) -

@oldirtybearon: Hey I played DS3 and story was not that game's issue. I wouldn't expect much better from anyone else handcuffed to the Dungeon Siege lore and having about 18 dollars to make the game on.

Man, I bought Shadows of the Damned and Dungeon Siege 3 on the same launch day. For 60 dollars. Christ.

#47 Edited by HH (617 posts) -

@development said:

@hh said:

@babychoochoo said:

COME AT ME, BRO

i'm gonna second this, because they developed the weirdness of gameplay behavior into a fascinatingly detailed undead curse in an intriguing world, with me as the star and not some nolan whatever the fuck.

Except the part where you read the developer interview and Miyazaki and Co. pretty much say multiple times that most of the lore was derived from the art. In other words: they drew a dude; he looked cool; they made up a backstory to why he looked the way he did, and kept it ambiguous. Interesting? Definitely. Amazing story telling? No.

I'm sure I won't catch flack for this comment.

I don't know, i think most storytelling comes from random little things that are then furnished with characterization and plot. an exception would be something like the core idea of The Last of Us, which is truly inspired (and a one-off, not likely to be repeated), but in execution it's a very big ask to overlook how many people you kill during the unfolding of that story, whereas the souls games deal with that issue with true panache, equally inspired.

it's the end result that matters, i'm sure shakespeare doesn't have noble origins for half his stories, and half the time they came from things someone shouted in a pub.

#48 Posted by HurricaneIvan29 (672 posts) -

@klei: Naughty Dog beginner's luck? What?! haha They've been around, so I don't know what you're talking about.

#49 Edited by Brodehouse (10106 posts) -

@towersixteen: KOTOR 2, even in a broken state, is a more surprising, involving and clever story than the majority of other games. Kreia is one of the best written characters out there and it's how she is connected to you that does it. Fallout New Vegas is the best Fallout game since 2, and when you actually take some time to look at the breadth and scope of the cultural, historical and scientific references, it might amaze you. Alpha Protocol, despite all the problems with its gameplay, has a story with more interactivity than any of their competitors. I haven't played a game that gave the player more agency without going to procedural or Skyrim-style open-world.

#50 Edited by alwaysbebombing (1627 posts) -