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Old 06-24-2016, 06:56 PM   #1
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Sports Gaming And the Art of Storytelling

Video games didn't begin as a medium for narratives. Within the last decade, you would be hard pressed to find games without a story or character arc.

Even sports games, which long neglected story telling before the likes of Fight Night, have come around. NBA 2K16 boasted one of the most discussed narratives in all of video games just last year. So it shouldn't come as a surprise that EA is testing the waters with its most popular franchise, FIFA.

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Old 06-24-2016, 08:14 PM   #2
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Re: Sports Gaming And the Art of Storytelling

Choice.

2K hired Spike Lee, and he gave us a highly-predictable story where the only choice we had was what college to go to and what team to sign with after the team is forced to release you after you refuse to keep your friend from going down a very bad road.

What do they do from there? Roland Emmerich?

Or...just let us be a blank slate, like in MLB The Show, and let the PLAYER write their story.

That's what we do in the Dynasty forums, isn't it?
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Old 06-25-2016, 12:51 AM   #3
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If one of these non sports games that are being used as an example was to make a game that was so predictable and ridden with cliche as Spike Lee's NBA2k story it wouldn't do very well.
I love 2k and appreciate the effort but it was IMO the weakest part of an otherwise exceptional game.
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Old 06-25-2016, 02:48 AM   #4
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Career modes shouldn't be turned into "Story mode". I think those 2 should be completely separate modes. Look at 2K16 for example. It's hands down the worst version of MyCareer in the entire 2K series! I want to decide how MY career plays out, not play out someone else's life. NBA 2K's career mode definitely needs to go back to the 2K11 MyPlayer format. It had post game press conferences, endorsements, shoe deals, etc.with ZERO story elements. MLB The Show RTTS is another prime example of a career mode done right!
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Old 06-25-2016, 08:46 AM   #5
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I think there's a disconnect between what players and developers see as stories. You can create storytelling naturally through gameplay, i.e you overthrow that pass on a crucial game winning drive, you leave a pitch hanging over the plate in the bottom of the 9th of a tied ballgame, you miss a free throw to tie a game as time expires, or you miss/concede a penalty in the last minute of the FA Cup Final. The develops seem to want to put you in moments that artificially create those storytelling beats, rather than letting them come naturally.

I would love to see in Madden, that if your kicker misses a FG at the end of the game that would have turned a 20-21 loss into a 23-21 win, that it's mentioned in commentary the following week, or used in a news item at the end of the season about whether the team is going to renew his contract, or have it mentioned if at the start of preseason (or in the draft) they bring in a second kicker. That's where I would like to see storytelling in sports games go, putting it in the background as well as the foreground.

That I suspect is some time off, especially if you actually look at the quality of storytelling in games based on the scripted WWE.

That being said I'm looking forward to seeing more of what FIFA have on offer this year, game has felt anaemic to me for a few years, have hardly played 16 since getting it at launch, this might get me back into it.
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Old 06-25-2016, 09:40 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pjburrage
I think there's a disconnect between what players and developers see as stories. You can create storytelling naturally through gameplay, i.e you overthrow that pass on a crucial game winning drive, you leave a pitch hanging over the plate in the bottom of the 9th of a tied ballgame, you miss a free throw to tie a game as time expires, or you miss/concede a penalty in the last minute of the FA Cup Final. The develops seem to want to put you in moments that artificially create those storytelling beats, rather than letting them come naturally.

I would love to see in Madden, that if your kicker misses a FG at the end of the game that would have turned a 20-21 loss into a 23-21 win, that it's mentioned in commentary the following week, or used in a news item at the end of the season about whether the team is going to renew his contract, or have it mentioned if at the start of preseason (or in the draft) they bring in a second kicker. That's where I would like to see storytelling in sports games go, putting it in the background as well as the foreground.

That I suspect is some time off, especially if you actually look at the quality of storytelling in games based on the scripted WWE.

That being said I'm looking forward to seeing more of what FIFA have on offer this year, game has felt anaemic to me for a few years, have hardly played 16 since getting it at launch, this might get me back into it.
Agree with the first part of your statement. But for the most part I do not like story driven modes in sports titles. They are not immersive enough, and are too linear.
NBA 2k16 is perfect example. It was a great idea to bring on Spike Lee, but I believe it was poorly executed.
IMO, all immersion factors were lost once I realized that I was a ball player from NY named Fleek. .
Good article.

Final point is this, in a sports career story driven mode the user should be given the option to control an entire team during gameplay. and the outcome of the story and career path should be driven by those results. if a player drops 50 but takes 60 shots to get those numbers his decision should should be reflected in the game. it could be positive or negative......based on teh circumstances. ..
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Old 06-26-2016, 12:12 AM   #7
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I love the story element in sports games as long that it primarily is all choice based. Kinda like answering questions during a post game press conference on 2K or playing one of the Telltale Narratives. But the story modes shouldn't just bring you to certain story lines. i think the story modes should be immersive and adaptive in the sense of your play on the court/field and your actions off the court change your experiences and ultimately your story. Therefore you're making your own story while not being forced to be in certain situations like being friends with a black mailing upcoming rapper named Bo$$ Key Yacht$.
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Old 06-26-2016, 10:20 PM   #8
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I'm all for them as long as they don't replace the original career modes but stay separate just like 2k had with 24/7 mode. I still believe one's career is written as they play, not written for them. At least give us the choice if we want to have the story elements incorporated into the mode when we're beginning the mode. Hell, let us pick if we want to start as part of a draft or undrafted. MLB The Show does this well, and NBA 2k used to do this well. These story modes, as they are right now, are cheesy anyways.

I think the real innovation should come with the game being able to recognize moments in your career that are critical, such as perhaps not having won a championship yet despite a long time or multiple Finals runs, missing a winning shot to close out a series, consecutive postseason early exits despite expectations, etc. and have them shown on headlines like the NBA.com headlines in 2k, the radio show in MLB, PES/FIFA headlines, and even the virtual twitter stuff. Make them feel more aware and living. This story stuff just stifles actual innovation in the career modes. For FIFA, what are they going to do story-wise for FIFA 18? This feels like a one-off thing.
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