Stories in videogames often don’t match up with the content of the game itself, says Super Smash Bros. creator, Masahiro Sakurai, in a column for Famitsu magazine. This is something Sakurai finds irksome, he says.
"As a player, as someone who’s been playing games for a long time, the stories that get told in video games are honestly irksome to me pretty often," Sakurai writes in a column partially translated by Polygon.
"For example, games that take forever to get through the intro and won’t let you start playing, or games that go through the trouble of being fully voiced and wind up having their tempo all messed up as a result. I just want to enjoy the game and I think I’m just intolerant of aspects that block that enjoyment. I can enjoy a story in any other form of media; I just want the game to let me play it already."
Sakurai goes on to cite the example of characters in RPGs dying for story reasons, despite the fact that you’ve spent a good while raising them, as one offender of separating the game from the story. This is the reason that he ended up writing Kid Icarus: Uprising’s entire story himself, he says.
"I did it so I could write a story that jibed with the game, one that took advantage of the game’s advantages," Sakurai shares. "Every character, including the bosses, had their personalities shaped by their roles in the game, or the structure of the game itself. That let me develop the dialogue to firmly match the developments you encounter in the game. If I had had someone else write the story, I’d either have to keep explaining things to the writer whenever anything changed in-game, or I’d have to partition it away from the game and lose on that consistency."
In concluding, Sakurai writes that he feels game designers would benefit from thinking about how a game’s story should relate to the game itself. "A game’s story absolutely needs to match the content and the gameplay," he states. "In an ideal world, we could take advantage of this to provide new story developments that you’ll never be able to see in other media."