Video Games Are Terrible For Telling Stories, Says Jonathan Blow
The creator of Braid and the upcoming The Witness doesn’t think much of the medium’s storytelling potential.
Jonathan Blow’s Braid may have been praised for its subtle, passive storytelling (in addition to its stellar mechanics, of course), but the creator of the upcoming PlayStation 4 exclusive The Witness doesn’t seem to think much of the potential for storytelling in video games as a medium.
“I think videogames are pretty terrible for telling stories,” Blow told Play Magazine UK. He pointed out that most videogames tend to break gameplay and mechanics with non interactive cutscenes, and that ‘pretty much sucks.’
I think he has a point, as storytelling in this medium has so far largely been an uneasy truce with other mediums, adapting the kind of storytelling that characterizes, say, movies, or TV. Very few video games have thus far been able to tell a story in such a way that it could not be replicated into other media. Some come to mind – Shadow of the Colossus, Metroid Prime, The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, Persona, and Bloodborne, for instance – but on the whole, the biggest AAA games that focus on storytelling are the ones that ignore the strengths of video games to tell stories uniquely. Even titles praised for their storytelling such as The Last of Us have this issue.
Jonathan Blow’s The Witness will release exclusively on PS4 and on PC some time later this year. We anticipate seeing more of the game at E3 this year. Stay tuned to GamingBolt for more coverage.