I’ve just received the February 2003 issue of Game Developer magazine. The soapbox article is called “Narrative Games: Finding Another Side to the Story”, and it’s written by Heather Kelley, who works on Thief 3 at Ion Storm Austin. It argues that narrative games are important (compared to non-narrative games), and lists a number of things we need to do in order to improve our current dismal record in realizing the potential of narrative in interactive entertainment:
* Introduce more variety in the subject matter of our games.
* Pay more attention to characters.
* Develop interfaces fitting to interpersonal interactions.
* Make the players care.
* Give the players more freedom to express themselves.
* Change our development processes to make innovation in narrative games possible.
These are good points and Kelley makes them well. However, it’s a pity that she needs to do so. Many of these points should be painfully obvious and have been said before, yet progress is painfully slow.