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Matt Chat 62: Chris Avellone

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Matt Chat 62: Chris Avellone

Interview - posted by Jason on Tue 18 May 2010, 08:05:36

Tags: Chris Avellone; Matt Barton; Obsidian Entertainment

Chris Avellone joined Matt "Dungeons & Desktops" Barton for the latest episode of Matt Chat.

The game world, dungeons, people have to react in meaningful ways to those character choices and how your character is developing. I would even argue that having a strong storyline in an RPG is absolutely secondary or even tertiary to those things. It's the game system, it's allowing the players to develop, it's allowing the consequences that develop in the RPG. And then most RPG players will form a stronger narrative themselves based on actions that occur in the game that have nothing to do with the NPC they talked to or the big wow moment you threw at them.​
He continued this train of thought over at his Obsidian blog.

I think the concept of emergent narrative is stronger than any enforced narrative. I think a blend can work well (and it's what I prefer whenever possible), but I think the stories players create on their own from interesting system mechanics and AI behavior has more weight and meaning than anything a designer tries to do. My favorite example is that no enforced narrative can really trump the story of planting dynamite on victims in Fallout, superstimming people to death, or how a character's 3rd level dwarven fighter with 5 hit points trained 20 orcs into a narrow, funneled corridor and killed them all one by one with a ball-peen hammer, Oldboy-style. The player makes stories like that happen, and those are the stories I hear players talk about most in relation to games, computer game or pen-and-paper games, not necessarily their reaction to specific cued story events or anything the designer or GM tried to force on them.​
Thanks to Ben

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