At a GDC panel today, Frictional Games’ creative director, Thomas Grip, discussed how developers can go about creating game narratives that fit together better with their mechanics.
Grip said that many developers consider narrative as an afterthought, laying it over the top of an established set of rules and challenges. This can make the two elements into a less cohesive whole, a problem Grip believed can be fixed by incrementally developing narrative and gameplay simultaneously.
Interactive storytelling needs to be about meaningful interaction, not just performing unrelated actions to progress to the next cutscene. There needs to be narrative motivation behind the player’s actions, or they’ll likely lose interest, Grip said.