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.

Posted By | On 03rd, Jun. 2015 Under News | Follow This Author @Pramath1605


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.

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  • Reilly Davis

    i think you need to play heavy rain or beyond two souls if you believe this or the hundreds of other titles that do storytelling well even witcher 3 does it well

  • Feegert

    Considering bees can tell stories by shaking their butts (some human females can to this too), saying that video games are “terrible” for telling stories speaks volumes about your mindset. Probably don’t wanna play a game this dude develops.

  • Some games may have a bad story but it doesn’t mean that they are bad games, some might even be your favorite and you don’t know it
    ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

  • Kfal Balli

    But I loved the story in Halo, The Last of Us, Ori and The Blind Forest, Mass Effect, Ninja Gaiden, Tomb Raider, Shenmue, Grandia, Kotor…

    Well it looks like I won’t be playing anymore games from him. Maybe he’s talking about his inability to create a compelling story for his game. Lame

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