A Guide on How to Write a Great Video Game Story

Writing a Good Video Game Story: Where to Start?

If you love video games because this is a great and innovative way to tell a story, then you must be wondering how people write them. Even beyond the difficulties connected with game developing, this medium looks pretty complicated.

However, writing a script is not that difficult, if you don’t have the ambition to write a 100+ hour game. Like any other narrative, a game script highly depends on the approach you take. In this post we will discuss the entire process and character building, so you will get some basic notion of game script writing.

What makes a good story in a game?

There is a number of features that make a good game – the interactivity, the universe, the mechanics. And what about the storytelling?

There is no specific formula for an effective narrative in any storytelling medium. It doesn’t depend on one audience’s preferences too much, because some gamers like the exploration and quests, while the others are found of combat. However, there is one common element for all types of games – the dynamic connected with a player-character.

The dynamic dictates that a character and a player are one and a character cannot do something that a player wouldn’t. This is why gamers prefer games over movies – they want to feel the control over the story.

This means that a player cannot experience the moment when he thinks, “There is no way my character can do this.” A good plot keeps the balance here. Of course, characters have some traits that are unlike the players, however, there is no chance that a character may speak or know about some unfamiliar things that took place in the past. By the way, this is the reason why so many games start with the character’s amnesia.

The other important feature is interactivity, which gives a player the right of choice. In some games, this is a choice between watching a TV or doing dishes, while the in the others this choice is connected with the entire world.

How to write a video game script?

  • Decide the main storyline and make an outline

If you have different ending ideas and want to include them in your story, you have to outline the main line first. Despite all the possible endings, a player has to go through the listing of them and make a decision.

Of course, if you are writing a story with a single ending, then the major line is much easier to create. In any case, an outline is absolutely crucial to compose.

  • What kind of game is it?

If you think that game’s mechanics is not something a writer should care about, then you are wrong. So you should decide what kind of game it is:

  • Role-playing
  • Action
  • Puzzles
  • First-person shooter

These are the basic types, of course. Don’t forget about the hybrids!

  • The universe development

In most cases, the universe of the game is even more important than a character. Don’t forget that a player will view the world more than a character, even if it is a third-person game. The game’s universe deeply depends on the way the player perceives the character development.

It means that the universe’s culture and lore depend on how much your character can explore.

  • Create the main characters

Once you have decided the main structure of the universe, you have to create the main character and the prominent ones, such as his companions and villains. Creating a video game character is similar to creating a character of any other story until you include the possibilities that may change character’s behavior.

  • The story’s flow

When you have your characters and the main line, you will have to create the deviations of the story as well as any changes that can emerge. Also, this includes developing any side quests that will complement the main flow.

Elements that may fill your story out

  • Non-playable characters

These are the characters a player can communicate with. Sometimes, they may tell jokes, give some hints or reveal information about the game’s world.

  • Side quests

Players usually love the side quests that sprinkle throughout the world. They don’t have to affect the main plot too much but can contribute to the mission’s success.

  • Items

In addition to some obvious things like armor and weapons, you may also add letters, notes and other small clues that may help your player to complete the quest. When it comes to the additional items, only the sky is a limit, so be creative!

Of course, there are other details in every game script, but these most common ones will give you a good start. So, tinker with them the way you want and most important – have fun!