In this article Twisted Metal designer David Jaffe discussed that efforts to tell a meaningful story in games have been misguided, and a huge waste of the industry’s time and resources. According to the article, Jaffe argued vociferously against “games that have been intentionally made from the ground up with the intent and purpose of telling a story or expressing a philosophy or giving a designer’s narrative.” Because no matter how hard we want to fight it, Jaffe said, games just aren’t meant for this kind of storytelling.
Regarding this, my take on this is quite simple: it depends upon the kind of game.
I clearly understand what Jaffe says, with the success of casual games like Angry Birds and Plants vs. Zombies, it is possible to make a great game with almost no story at all, but games like that get boring fast for me. No meaningful story in my games? No thanks. I’m personally I’m more of a story motivated gamer and for me gameplay comes second.
For me, a meaningful story is what keeps me glued to a game. I played Legend of Mana multiple times just to see how each time a story would end if I allied with this character against another character. I played Persona 2, 3 and 4 simply because they had a very meaningful story. What got me into playing Starcraft was the story. I strongly think that diversity in games is a must. Not everyone plays only shooting games or fighting games.
In my observation, this has been a longstanding issue among gamers. Story or Gameplay? It totally depends upon the game. Games like Twisted Metal and fighting games thrive more on gameplay and the story is a mere afterthought, while in RPG’s, an RPG without a good story is a worthless RPG. There are games like Twisted Metal and Chocobo Racing that have great gameplay but have very little story and I enjoyed playing them though at my core, a game with a great and meaningful story always get me playing on the console.
I’m curious about you dear reader, what do you value more in console games, Gameplay or Story?