Storytelling in video games has a rich history. To this day, games are proving themselves in the world of narrative, standing alongside the media giants of television and movies.
A recent personal standout is Elden Ring. The player experience begins with an intro cinematic that presents some of the lore of the game. Grandiose and mystifying, the cinematic tells of the shattered Elden Ring, slain gods, and introduces a group of powerful Tarnished characters, the player being the last of them. It sets the whole game narrative in motion brilliantly.
Once the gameplay begins, the player slowly reveals more of the story. Bits of lore are discovered through item descriptions and dialogue. As the player moves through the game, they push the story forward as well, as defeating bosses has an impact on the world and progression. This adds to the beautiful sense of wonder established by the cinematic, and only seems to grow.
I want to give props to another smaller game, too. The storytelling in Journey is also beautiful and engaging. This game has no dialogue or text, which leaves the worldbuilding much more up to the imagination. In this game, you play as a humanoid creature set to wander around a desert and various other environments. The beauty in this game’s worldbuilding is in its openness to interpretation. The player sees a few different cutscenes in the game when moving between areas. These are wordlessly shown in animated scenes reminiscent of cave paintings or something similar. A sense of the ancient world that was there before the player emerges through the game experience. Wonder and beauty are what pique the interest in this game’s story.