Jump to content
  • Advertisement
Sign in to follow this  
Chef Smallfry

are characters or story more important?

This topic is 3823 days old which is more than the 365 day threshold we allow for new replies. Please post a new topic.

If you intended to correct an error in the post then please contact us.

Recommended Posts

One last bit... I have a mid-sized cast of (what I assume to be) very interesting and original characters, and an essentially boring and cliche storyline. I'm trying to use the character development to make the storyline a little more interesting, but thus far the story is still the worst part. My question is- What is more important to a game? Good storyline with lots of plot twists and a nice progression, or good characters with personality and development?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Advertisement
If you had to choose between the two, from my analysis of current plot-focused games I would pick characters over story.

For example, nearly all RPGs, action-adventures and (fewer but still many) graphical adventure games tend to have at their core the most ridiculous and trite plots you can get. The ones that I see get lauded for their storylines are the ones with the well fleshed out characters that they care about. Admittedly you need to have some good scenes to flesh out those characters, but this can be done in the framework a cliche storyline.

Secondly, if you do not care too much about the overarching storyline, you can wrap it around whatever gameplay you wish.

Thridly, if the game is to be played over multiple sessions (which applies to nearly every story based game) then players may not remember the latest intrices of a convoluted plotline anyway. They will be more focused on the characters in their control.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I second the vote: I definitely believe that characters are more important than stories.

Some games, like Katamari Damacy, do not have a very believeable story. But the characters (particularly the King of the Cosmos) are quite enjoyable.

The same can be said for numerous fighting games. I know a lot of fighting game fans who could care less that there is even some semblence of a story in the game, but are highly defensive of the characters they choose.

So even if your story doesn't stand out too well, if you have interesting character development, I think you can pull it off.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Why are you willing to settle with "an essentially boring and cliche storyline"? You have some interesting characters, take what makes them interesting and write a story that accentuates those traits that are interesting.

Which one is more important? Neither... if one of them is bad it will hurt the image of the other. Bad characters will kill a good story, and good characters in a generic setting have no room to show their quality.

Remember, a good story doesn't have to be full of "lots of plot twists". That's only one type of storytelling, and truthfully it is overdone in games. Stories can be subtle, if you have beaten Shadow of the Colossus you will see some brilliant but extremely subtle storytelling. Combine a low-key storyline like that with some great characters and you can have something really amazing.

--

Edit: Reworded the last paragraph to make more sense.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
To be honest you can't have one without the other.

Plot is What happens.
Setting is where it happens.
Characters are who it happens to.
And the story is in the details.

Your characters are only as interesting as the interactions that occur between them and the world arounding that happen during the story. Even if you create the most interesting charactes of all time how will anyone know if the story doesn't reflect that?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It is easier to make a fun game with characters but no story, than the other way around. I think usually, your characters don't even need to be developed. People like Mario just because he is cute and he moves and interacts in interesting ways.



What matters is not the components but the overall presentation. Overused components can be put together and form something interesting.

If this thread is related to the other thread on Bounty Hunters:

"There's a "tough guy" bounty hunter who secretly donates his bounties to an orphanage. He hears about the player's party, defying some evil empire and doing good across the land. Naturally, he goes for the bounty on the player's head. The players fight him at several points throughout the story, until the final encounter when he finally loses once and for all."

I would like to comment that when I read this, the concept did not interest me at all. On the other hand, if you had drew an attractive character, the drawing alone might be much more interesting than the description.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Characters or Story? Stories are about the characters. I would say if you have too many characters to fully flesh them all out, then find a way to remove some from the story, since the story isn't about them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If you're finding that your plot is failing even though you have interesting characters, then it's probably because your characters really aren't that interesting or developed. In almost any well-made narrative of any kind, interesting plots flow from interesting actions, and interesting actions flow from well developed characters. If this isn't happening, it's probably a good idea to re-evaluate your characters.

And since any sort of storytelling relies on a connection between the audience and the subject matter, characters are just as important in games as they are in all other types of communication. So don't sacrifice your story just because you believe your characters are interesting enough. Give these great creations a world just as interesting and well developed as they are; they deserve it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by JBourrieRemember, a good story doesn't have to be full of "lots of plot twists". That's only one type of storytelling, and truthfully it is overdone in games. Stories can be subtle, if you have beaten Shadow of the Colossus you will see some brilliant but extremely subtle storytelling. Combine a low-key storyline like that with some great characters and you can have something really amazing.


Well said.


The most important thing to watch out for is how the storyline interacts with the motivations of your characters. I'm sure you can think of a story where one character betrays another for no meaningful reason (such as the movie "Heist"), or something similar.

Story and character are intertwined. The best way to show off your characters is to provide them with interesting decision points in your story. The worst way to show off your characters is to provide them with decision points and then have them take a direction simply for the sake of the story.


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Advertisement
×

Important Information

By using GameDev.net, you agree to our community Guidelines, Terms of Use, and Privacy Policy.

We are the game development community.

Whether you are an indie, hobbyist, AAA developer, or just trying to learn, GameDev.net is the place for you to learn, share, and connect with the games industry. Learn more About Us or sign up!

Sign me up!