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What Is Progressive Story Telling in Games?


Ever heard the one about the blind men and the elephant? Each touches a different part — the trunk, the leg, the tail — and comes away with a wildly different story. One thinks it’s a snake, another a tree, and the last a rope. Same elephant, different tales. Just like that elephant, stories have many sides. The same event can be a love story, a thriller, or a laugh-out-loud comedy. And we haven’t even arrived at the part that makes the story good or bad. To tell a good story is not easy, and when it comes to storytelling in video games, it’s an entirely different beast. Why? Because it’s even harder.

What Makes Video Game Story Telling Difficult

First, you’ve got the player running around doing their own thing. How do you get them to pay attention to your carefully crafted narrative? Cutscenes can feel disruptive, and long dialogue dumps might put them to sleep.

Then there’s the whole choice thing. You want players to feel like they have agency, but too many choices can dilute the story. It’s a balancing act, not to mention the fact that games are about action, puzzles, and exploration, not just sitting back and watching a story unfold. How do you integrate a good narrative into gameplay without making it feel forced?


And keep me from getting started on pacing. Games are long, and keeping the story engaging throughout is a challenge. You want players to remember what’s happening and maintain interest halfway through. Keeping the narrative fresh while giving players time to explore and experiment is a fine line.

Let’s remember that games are primarily visual experiences. How do you tell a story through visuals, sound, and gameplay without relying on endless exposition? How do you create characters that players connect with when they’re busy fighting dragons or solving puzzles? And with all that in mind, how do you include another perspective that adds a new layer of complexity?

Here Comes the Progressive Storytelling

Imagine playing a game that starts with a simple walk in a forest. But with each step, the world gets a little bigger, and the story gets deeper. That’s progressive storytelling, and it’s changing how we experience games.

It’s not throwing a big story at you. Instead, it’s carefully revealing pieces as you go, making you feel like you’re discovering things for yourself. It’s the difference between watching a movie and starring in one. Well.

It works in some games but could be more important in others. But it is crucial and almost an integral part of the gameplay for certain titles. Take slots with progressive jackpots. These games have jackpots that grow with each play until someone wins them. Central gameplay remains the same, but there’s an addition of something that is going on in the background, like a snowball rolling behind you and getting bigger.


The best thing about progressive storytelling is that it makes the game world feel more alive. From the developers’ perspective, it’s a versatile tool that can make a mediocre game an instant hit—a tangled web of scripts and event triggers. Of course, it’s harder to do than a linear storyline. Progressive storytelling demands big resources smaller studios don’t have. Scripting complex branches is time-consuming, and emergent narratives take time to balance. But despite the challenges, the payoff is huge.

Procedural Generation as a Cornerstone of Future Storytelling

Procedural generation, coupled with AI, could be the next big thing. These technologies are already entering a steady phase, so their introduction into the video game industry is not a novel concept. It’s probably something many big studios are already experimenting with. But it’s machine learning algorithms that are the unsung heroes here. They analyze player data, tailoring the narrative in real-time. The main questline, side quests, random encounters, and even the environment will adapt, creating a personalized saga for each player. And then we have the AI. We’ve already seen successful integration of ChatGPT with our beloved RPG title, which breathes a fresh wind in the future of NPC’s, and opens a whole new set of possibilities that will be something gamers never experienced before.