To create a great game, one does not need to create a great storyline. Plenty of today’s top games do well without a storyline. Some can even be said to be better because of its absence.
Even if the game has a story, and it is a terrible one, the game can become a success, if the gameplay is good. But a game with terrible gameplay, even if it has the greatest storyline, may not achieve success.
But storylines are crucial elements for games belonging to certain genres. For instance, a large reason why games in the RPG genre have ardent followers is because of the interesting narratives these games usually have.
Storylines, however, are now becoming common in other genres as well. Casual games, a genre of games where storylines are non-existent, are popping up with interesting storylines.
Because storylines, can enhance the gameplay experience. When blended with the right gameplay elements, they can take games to a better level. The key is to prioritize gameplay, and then blend it with the storyline in a seamless way.
Creating a game in this manner, however, is no easy task. It requires a careful process.
Below we are outlining a 6-step process you can follow to create the storyline for your game:
1. Outline the Main Plot Points
The game’s story outline must contain all the major plot points the game’s narrative contains. The beginning, the middle, the end, all must be carefully plotted during this stage.
The storytelling can either be linear or non-linear. If required, the game can also have multiple endings, which change according to the decisions made in-game by each player.
Outlining the major points in this way helps game writers get a direction as to where the whole story should lead. Without doing a major outline, the storyline may end up in a haphazard way. And the developers may only realize it, when it’s too late.
2. The Type of Game
The second step is to define what genre the game will belong to. Because the same plot points can be created in multiple genres. So, it is paramount that the genre of the game, be decided prior hand. Deciding the genre prior hand will also allow developers to find the game’s target audience.
The game need not adhere to the conventions of a single genre. Instead, it can be a combination of multiple genres. For instance, if you think your storyline would fit better with a first-person shooter with RPG elements in it, then by all means, go for it.
During this stage, writers can work better when they work alongside designers. The genre can help the designers come up with the right game mechanics to combine with the game’s narrative.
A game’s setting is as important as the main plot itself. Without the right setting, the player won’t be immersed in the game’s storyline, and in most instances, the gameplay as well.
The game’s setting must have its own unique feel to it, a good geography, lore, history, language, etc. All this will make the place feel real to the player when they are playing the game.
The setting will also largely be based on the game’s genre. For an RPG game, the ideal setting is usually a fantasy world. This world will be full of myths, prophecies, creatures, and powerful beings.
4. The Main Characters
A great game’s storyline will contain the right number of important characters.
Chief among them is the protagonist/ protagonists. This main character/ characters must be well fleshed out. They must have unique character traits.
Then comes the antagonist/ antagonists. The antagonist/ antagonists like the protagonists, should be well fleshed out. Many make the mistake of making them one dimensional. Instead, developers can benefit from creating well-fleshed out antagonists.
Other characters that will be part of the main storyline include characters like major NPCs. Usually these are companions of either the protagonists or antagonists.
5. Write the Main Story
The main story will be the expansion on the outline that the writer has initially prepared. It will expand upon all the major plot points mentioned there. This will be expanded into scenes, gameplay moments, dialogues, and cut scenes, to create an overall great narrative.
The setting and characters will also be incorporated into this. The two of them are crucial elements in the game’s overall storyline.
6. Additional Details
Most games supplement the main storyline, with additional quests. These will give the players more chance to enjoy the game they have fallen in love with.
These additional quests however must be carefully created. If improperly created, they can subtract from the game experience rather than add to it.
Another additional detail that you can add are minor NPCs.
A good story can be a great addition to the right game. It can make the game more immersive and hence enjoyable. And to certain players for whom narrative is important, the right game with the right story is the magical combination.
The key to create a storyline that users will love is by following a careful and detailed process like the one above.
The best way to do this, however, is with a team of good game designers and writers. A good team will be able to create storylines that blend seamlessly with the gameplay. They will also create interesting plot points, unforgettable characters, and immersive setting, which will enthrall anyone who loves story-driven games.