Another issue I see that seems to keep boiling over is this overly abundant cry of crappy storylines.
You see, the reason I bring this up as an issue is because many people have this ongoing idea that storylines have to vast, rich, and EXTREMELY in-depth. That’s ok; that’s just called having an expectation. I’m completely on board with having expectations. Speaking of expectations, you know what I expect out of a fighting game? Fighting.
There reaches a fine point of understanding that the story isn’t the dealbreaker in the game. There are many aspects to a game, that help define it, and make it distinctly different from other games. Or so we would think. The creativity gap is slowly closing, mostly because money is greater than exploration. Again, a separate discussion. The issue with the story complaint is that people walk into games with unrealistic ideas of what constitutes a ‘good story.’ What IS a good story?
I hear people say things like “Vanessa, the story in [game] is terrible. Therefore, the game is terrible.” Really? I’ll be honest people: I could careless what Forrest/Marshall Law’s backstory are. What they represent are as follows: the guy who has a fighting style I can work with. That’s what most people think when they play with Eddy, or Michelle, or Unknown-whoever. The same is probably true for characters in Soul Calibur…well, with the exception of my ex-fiance, who played Ivy strictly to look at her ass. The point being that again, story is not the ultimate game killer. Stop shooting down a game about their story-they’re tying there damndest, and you can show some respect at a well placed attempt-unless, you know, you think you can come up with something better.
Vanessa, that’s bullshit: Well, considering how many companies are focusing less on pre-production and stroy because a) media dictates that they make more money and b) gamers dictate that all games should be perfect on first release, it gets difficult to squeeze perfection in every time. Something has to give. Either we have to accept that we can get a constant stream of games that will be lacking in some aspect or another, but will satisfice, or we have to be patient enough to understand and accept that games will take an extensive period of time to make into the creation we love and adore. Story happens in the pre-production pipeline, and when you only have time to rehash a struggle for humankind story, your options on making it original start coming up a little short.
Why this is a retarded argument: Sure, the differences in story between Halo and Gears of War aren’t really that much different, but they’re still different enough that we can discern details that make them standout. Halo’s main protagonist is somewhat of a lone soldier with only one other reoccurring character, while GoW takes the exact same families every time through every game. They both struggle against some type of race to secure the well-being of their own. Halo is much more in-your-face killing spree than is GoW: if you aren’t taking cover in Gears you aren’t progressing so much as you are dying. I use GoW as an example because many people are complaining about the death of Dom, deeming it ‘unnecessary’, ‘a cop-out’, ‘stupid’ even, when at the end of the day that’s just your opinion. I can come up with three solid reasons on why Dom had to die. However, that’s still my opinion. The point of the matter is we won’t know the true ‘intention’ without having written it. So who are we to judge whether or not this was a good or bad idea? We don’t even know what’s going on with the DLC, we don’t know if he’s dead for good, and we don’t know what’s next. If it ends, it ends. If not, what’s going to happen? Oh, you don’t know? Then sounds to me like you need to channel that energy somewhere else. You didn’t write it, so you have no idea what the hell is supposed to be going on next. Even if it is the end, you take that point as it is, and you decide the next important part-did you enjoy your game? If yes, then why is this story argument remotely relevant? Did Mario ever have a story outside of ‘Bowser kidnapped someone I liked, I have to save her’? The only thing I get from Metroid to this day is Samus, a bounty hunter, has to fuck up some Metroids. Just because you don’t like the outcome doesn’t mean the story is bad-it just didn’t go the way you expected, and really, what fun is a predictable story?
Now, admittedly: There are some exceptions to the rule. I don’t think Bayonetta had a story. There was something about gods, Greek anthology, boobs, guns, and a kids, but I’m still pretty convinced it had no story. Fighting genre games should probably avoid trying to have story-a little blurb of text saying ‘Hey, here’s my style, this is who I like, and who I don’t’ should suffice. I’ve yet to see a successful attempt at interweaving everything together without it making little to no sense. I still don’t know why Eddy Gordo fell off the grid. Ryu’s backstory changes more frequently than my shoes. Not a single character in Dead or Alive is interesting, and no final boss has really had reason to be there. These are attempts at story that I will agree, legitimately suck (cough FFXIII cough hack). Then there are some, like World of Warcraft, that came from a foundation of amazing storytelling, that got flushed when the opportunity to maximize profit arose. Who’s really trying to follow the events of WoW? Dead Island is also guilty as charged-are we on a search and destroy or saving ourselves from zombies? However, saying that Arkham City was disappointing because ‘the ending wasn’t as riveting as I would have liked’ makes me want to slap people. That’s like going to a restaurant, ordering a dish that you have the full description of, eating 95% of it, and when your waiter asks ‘How was it?’ you go ‘Well, it was delicious, but it left a kind of weird residue in my mouth at the end,’ then tipping 5%. Arkham City’s story wasn’t bad, you just disagreed with something. Whereas Bayonetta, overall just had poor story development. Both of these games bring a different idea of fun to the table, regardless-and the story wasn’t enough to make the game unsuccessful. As a matter of fact, both these games are widely successful. Ok, so you think Dom shouldn’t have died. TOO BAD. But ask yourself-without removing Dom and Adam Fenix, how else was Epic suppose to provoke a burst of strong emotion from a protagonist who’s main stance has been “I’ve been through worse, so I’ll get through this?” I’m not saying that was their intentions, but it helps to look at the scope through multiple lenses, rather than immediately assume that the developers just got lazy. I would only use this critique if the story was so unclear or so riddled with loopholes that it couldn’t be swallowed. Even then, by loopholes, I mean readily evident actions and plot are not explained, not the nitpicky stuff-is explaining why Lighting of FFXIII can jump up really high worth explaining? Because if you can explain that, I’m all ears for what the shit actually happened in XIII. And no, I’m not spending another $60 to have an explanation handed to me-that’s a case where the story should’ve been told in the first place.