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Smash Bros creator believes most video game stories are irritating

Why Sakurai wrote Kid Icarus Uprising himself

Smash Bros creator Masahiro Sakurai has used his Famitsu column to sound off about irritating stories in videogames. According to Sakurai, the stories told in games can interfere with the gameplay.

"As a player, as someone who's been playing games for a long time, the stories that get told in video games are honestly irksome to me pretty often," wrote Sakurai.

"For example, games that take forever to get through the intro and won't let you start playing, or games that go through the trouble of being fully voiced and wind up having their tempo all messed up as a result.

It seems Sakurai is a bit impatient when it comes to sitting through lengthy cutscenes. "I just want to enjoy the game and I think I'm just intolerant of aspects that block that enjoyment. I can enjoy a story in any other form of media; I just want the game to let me play it already."

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So irritated is Sakurai by storylines that he decided to show the world how it should be done by writing the story for Kid Icarus: Uprising by himself.

"I did it so I could write a story that jibed with the game, one that took advantage of the game's advantages," Sakurai added. "Every character, including the bosses, had their personalities shaped by their roles in the game, or the structure of the game itself. That let me develop the dialogue to firmly match the developments you encounter in the game.

"If I had had someone else write the story, I'd either have to keep explaining things to the writer whenever anything changed in-game, or I'd have to partition it away from the game and lose on that consistency."

Do you agree with Sakurai? Do stories in video games need to be improved? What are your favourite stories?

[ Source: Polygon ]

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  1. Slinkington Thursday 14th Feb 2013 at 10:27

    I agree 100%. I'll typically watch the story to a video game once, then if the game was actually good, I'll play it again numerous times, WITHOUT paying attention to the story.

  2. Commandervideo Thursday 14th Feb 2013 at 10:47

    I usually hate stories in games (apart from the layton series) that's why I play Mario XD

  3. vix_chan Thursday 14th Feb 2013 at 11:07

    It's nice that he has worked so closely with the game.

  4. LOZanges Thursday 14th Feb 2013 at 11:15

    A couple of weeks ago I had an idea for a very story based video game, (no cut scenes though, and all the story sequences are skippable!) here's the plot synopsis in around about 7 lines:

    You are an army veteran who had you're squad leader turn against you and became the leader of an evil alien organisation. You were a 20-year old then and now, about 10 years later, you're ex-squad leader has made a doomsday device. So you leave you're Mum to go save the world. But... You're team is assembled of rookies who don't even know how to fire a gun. So you'll have to train them, survive, steal alien's weapons and still save the day. You've got you're work cut out for you. You defeat your arch nemesis, although you're friends were shot and when you come back, you come back a hero. But.. you're Mum's got lung cancer. She dies in you're arms and of course you are terribly sad. You find a machine that could revive you're Mum (for one week, to say goodbye.), or it could revive you're friends (for the rest of their lives.). YOU make the decision.

    The game would be a hard-as-nails, FPS/Strategy game set in the year 2028.

  5. MartinIsAwesome Thursday 14th Feb 2013 at 11:32

    I'm a bit more varied in my tastes. There are plenty of games that I will play because of the characters and story, even if the gamplay isn't ground braking. Thinking of games like Ace Attorney or the Another Code/Kyle Hyde games in which it is the story that makes them so enjoyable that I don't really mind that there isn't a great deal of "playing" involved.
    That said, I equally love games (and they tend to be the older ones) where the story is vitually nonexistant, yet they feature brilliant action or puzzles.

  6. jack.whittingham Thursday 14th Feb 2013 at 11:37

    Bad stories in games are irritating, yes, but some stories are fantastic and make the game what it is. The best two series for this are:

    Professor Layton: has the best story line ever written.
    Pokemon: has some exciting stories to go with the great battling

  7. Fishman92 Thursday 14th Feb 2013 at 12:39

    LOZanges,

    stop using you're like that. You're is a shortened form of "you are". Use "your" for possesion. Like "your mum".

    Anyway, I actually like a good story in game. I like having some meaning behind what I'm doing in game.

  8. LOZanges Thursday 14th Feb 2013 at 13:46

    LOZanges,

    stop using you're like that. You're is a shortened form of "you are". Use "your" for possesion. Like "your mum".

    Yeah, I forget that sometimes. :P

  9. ThePsychicExtrem Thursday 14th Feb 2013 at 16:04

    He mentioned Kid Icarus: Uprising, That's A new one confirmed.

  10. KH81314 Thursday 14th Feb 2013 at 16:06

    I personally didn't enjoy the story for Kid Icarus that much. It was all over the place. At one point you had Medusa and then aliens.

  11. billywest Thursday 14th Feb 2013 at 18:30

    Xenoblade's story is one of the best when it comes to videogames! :D

  12. Spyrolad Tuesday 19th Feb 2013 at 12:09

    Kid Icarus is the perfect example of how to do a game right.
    How anyone thinks that Skywards Sword's start is acceptable is beyond me.

  13. SmashBro2712 Sunday 24th Feb 2013 at 18:45

    I agree and i dont at the same time. I agree that a story can just complicate things if it's to heavy-handed and forced at you and if it's not a particularly good one (Metroid: Other M anyone? I like that game but could be a bit messy) But when a game has a good story then you get absorbed into it more, games like Mass Effect in which storytelling is one of the main aspects of the game get praised highly for their stories. Xenoblade is a good example too; the story was great and the characters were fantastic and that made the game better. I think when people complain about games having more emphasis on storytelling is a bit stupid to be honest, it just seems to be something the older generation complain about since they grew up with not-so-great stories like Mario and the original Zelda on NES.
    All in all, a game having being more story-focused isn't always a good thing if it is shoddily written an just uninteresting and tedious. But nor is it a bad thing either, providing it is done right, the game becomes more involving, immersive and memorable. Like I said I feel that the point of view that story-focus is bad is outdated and gaming has moved on from when all that happened is girls being kidnapped. But i only want video-game stories to be good or not there, if they're bad, then the game becomes cringe-worthy and tedious.

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