How do you develop a good story?

Some game developers seem to develop their games almost till the end to then realize "oh wait we need a story".
And then there is the telltalegames, Lee and Clementine anyone?

How do you develop the stories for them to be captivating, easy to remember and true to each franchise?



  • Yeah, when they developed "Doom" for example, they really just wanted to make a shoot-everything game, then realized they probably needed a reason why this guy was shooting everything, so they came up with a story for it, but it's not a meaningful story, and you can ignore it if you just want to shoot everything.

    Telltale games are based on stories at their core, though, not so much shooting and car racing, though there's a little bit in there for fun. Those have to follow the rules of what makes anything an interesting story. You typically have a protagonist/hero, some interesting story he doesn't know much about in the beginning but learns more as the story progresses, some unexpected twists, possibly making things seem hopeless, and an ending that leaves the player believing it was worth the effort to play. If it's a funny game, you just make the twists funny, but if it's a "devastate the player" game, well....

  • edited December 2021

    That's a description of what you get, not how to create it.

  • I don't think there is any "How To" beyond imagination and creativity. Can you imagine something that the average player will relate to and spark an emotional reaction?

  • I disagree in part. Those stories are meticulously planned out. There is definitely a plan, if not even an algorithm in that. There are likely a lot of flipcharts with many post it notes that led to this.
    My assumption:
    1. Brainstorming
    2. Structure elements
    3. Insert into given framework
    4. Add twists

    Most of it seems really well engineered, like script writers for series. Some character reappears that you have already forgotten about, but it makes sense that he does.

    WarpSpeed posted: »

    I don't think there is any "How To" beyond imagination and creativity. Can you imagine something that the average player will relate to and spark an emotional reaction?

  • I think how to develop a good story is one must have a passion to tell a story. For example, one of my favorite computer games is called, 'Quest for Glory' by Sierra company. (now owned by Blizzard Entertainment) The story is that the main character wants to be a hero. He starts as a rookie and goes through training and quests to become know. But things aren't as easy since along the way he meets other established heroes who are are either noble, or sneaky, and now he has to decide what kind of hero he wants to be. Out of the five games your choices effect what kind of hero he can become by what his honor points and class is. I think that is a good story as any. Hope that helps.

  • Right said. But I think a good story needs passion, a lot of knowledge, and some curiosity for readers. There are many other elements that can be helpful to develop a good story. You can see here for more.

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