Video Games · Writing · Writing advice

Video game writing – interactive storytelling or grand world building design?

Originally from June 2014


I have never made it a secret that I am an avid (if not particularly good) video game player, and I have noticed that storytelling in video games has evolved and become a lot more ambitious in the last few years. It’s come a long way from a lengthy backstory written up in the forward of an instruction manual to character customisation, choosing your path and having multiple outcomes. Yet the writing in video games is something that is dismissed by people who would still laud the plots and characters of movies and novels.

While interactive storytelling can be much more complex than linear storytelling, the fundamentals are the same. You have structure, characterisation, 3-5 acts and a climax, but time can pass dependant on the player and his or her interactions within the game. The script has to take into account a third dimension that is controlled by the…

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2 thoughts on “Video game writing – interactive storytelling or grand world building design?

  1. This one is crazy interesting. As a writer myself I have to admit, I never really thought about who wrote the games I played. Totally agree. They do tend to execute the 3-5 act process well in the recent games. Great catch and great read. Subconsciously, when I take a moment of reflection now, I recognize that as I was taking in my games I was being inspired to challenge and raise my own storytelling skills.

    Again, wonderful share Stephen!


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Really interesting post here Stephen, I went on to read the original post over on the Storyslingers blog as I was so intrigued! I’m not much of a gamer, but I do like reading about the writing process behind them and it’s always interesting to me, so I enjoyed this post! My brother played The Last of Us and I definitely noticed and loved the story arc that played throughout, it definitely gave something to it and made it both very emotional and engrossing! I only write for fun myself but I appreciate this line of work as it can inspire all of us. – Tasha


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