The Walking Dead is a comic series that gained mainstream prominence with a successful television series currently in the midst of its sixth season. For gamers, however, it brings to mind a series of episodic adventure games from acclaimed developer Telltale Games. With a miniseries on fan-favorite character Michonne starting this past week and a third season scheduled for later this year, I thought I’d take a step back and look at some of the earlier episodes in this growing game series.
While Yo‑Kai Watch’s main story may fall short of its narrative potential, that doesn’t mean that the whole game is without merit. The developers’ choices in the mechanics of the combat system resonate more with the game’s themes than one might expect at first glance.
When Yo‑Kai Watch released mid-July 2013 in Japan it was met with only moderate success. It had strong first week sales, but sales dropped and the public moved on to the next game… or so you would think. An anime adaptation premiered six months later and became an instant hit with audiences. Fresh interest in the franchise propelled sales of the sequel past Pokémon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire by more than half a million units in 2014. A lucrative new franchise was born and expectations were high for the long-awaited North American localization released in November 2015. Did Western gamers get the “Pokémon Killer” they were promised?
How do you effectively challenge audience preconceptions? This is a question that many artists face when pushing the boundaries, but what if the audience preconception is to ignore your work entirely? This is the challenge faced by writers in the gaming industry.
Anyone that’s spent any amount of time in the gaming community is bound to come across some variation of the phrase “story doesn’t matter.” Video games are an interactive medium, so gameplay has to be the most important part, right? While this is true in many respects, it is the narrative that contextualizes that gameplay. For the first in this series about video game narrative, we’ll be looking at the 2009 PlayStation Network game, Flower.