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Story; a key to good game development

Stories have the chance to up a games level of quality quite well. Yet many developers overlook it quite easily or if they get it right, they get other aspects of the game wrong thus making the greatly crafted story something many people gloss over. When thinking of our current gen games with great stories there are six that come right to mind. The problem however, all but one have drawbacks and thus their stories have been disappointingly overlooked by many.

Lost Odyssey - A truly epic adventure story. Engaging and catchy dialogue present themselves in this game literature gem. The addition of short "Dream" stories are a very exciting factor for any game story lover's dreams. The problem, specifically with these dream stories is that they are written text you must read on your screen. Not really the interactive feel that a video game should be portraying. As far as the actual game, it is a tradition JRPG for the most part, which turns many people off. Thus missing many people who may care about a good gripping story.

Mass Effect - A space-opera with an excellent story. Its intriguing, inspires wonder and adventure as well as engulfing you with in-game "movie-like" presentation of the dialogue scenes. As far as stories go, BioWare (no shock here really) crafted a masterpiece. Yet technical flaws weigh it down. Texture popping, lack of auto-saves, horrible vehicle controls, and 10 second elevator rides in your own ship certainly are not appealing. These drawbacks turned back many people who were on the fence. They may love a great story but don't want to go through technical hiccups, which is a recognizable argument.

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed - This was a game that could have reinvigerated Star Wars games. It had such potential, and the writing certainly paid off. It offers a Star Wars story that is worthy of being an actual Star Wars story. It however was plauged with dissapointing gameplay and combat choices. What should have been a Star Wars game that everyone got engrossed into the story, was instead overlooked and nailed as a dissapointment.

Fallout 3 - An incredible game in many ways, the main story is a sinker. But the writing and story throughout the missions, thus being the "short stories" was very well done. A type of humor that may not be for everyone, the writing was at least well done and one can recognize that. But by being plauged by a main quest that goes down, and other gameplay issues such as not being able to continue in the world after you have completed the game, plague what could have been a great outlet for a great story in a well done universe.

Grand Theft Auto IV - For the first half of this very well done game, you think they have gotten the story right. Its engaging, gripping and gritty. What someone would call in a book review as a "page turner." This unfortuneatley doesn't hold up through the entire experience and is an example of another sinker. They crafted an incredible world, and did write a decent story in the end, but when the first half is just SO much better than the second half.. its a story that just can't hold up. The potential was there, but yet again problems persist and the story is missed and/or deteriorated.

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare - Perhaps the one example of a game in the current generation that just got it right. The story is compelling and very well done. InfinityWard wrote a story that you really end up actually caring about the characters, and coming from a first person shooter that really is saying a lot. There are heart wrenching moments, moments of anger, as well as feelings of "awesomeness" that were conveyed during the gameplay that could not have been done if the story was not in place how it was. Arguably one of the best shooters of the current generation, the story here is inredible. Because it is a piece in an overall very well done puzzle, it reached the audiences that a good story in a game really should. Unlike the others who wrote a good story yet didn't match up in other areas, Modern Warfare proved that a good story is a crucial component in making a good game.

So what is attempting to be said here? Story is an aspect that many people overlook. Many would say perhaps that it is because "many people just do not care about the story in a video game." This couldn't be farther the truth. Everyone likes an engaging story (perhaps not every type of story, but a good story nonetheless) and what is failing to be done is to put a great story into the medium of video games in a way that would be accessible for all those who play games. A great story can't necessarily make or break a game. As there are examples of very popular games that do not have a good story. On the flip side, there are the games that have a story worthy of recognition that are not well done on the other fronts, and thus are bad games. So even though a great story is not the end all be all, it is the key in making a game just that much better. Therefore stories in games need to improve to really hit that level of greatness that we all want our games to hit.