There’s a popular theory that — for videogames to evolve — they should become more cinematic and/or novelistic, with emotionally realistic characters undertaking a classical hero’s journey in the context of shooting aliens or stealing cars. That describes a wide mass of games: Red Dead Redemption, Portal 2, Gears of War, Arkham City. But there’s another theory — a counterargument, really — that videogame storytelling should embrace the medium’s unique offer of exploration, and create a whole new kind of narrative. Players should invent their own characters from the ground up; the “story” should be a series of personal decisions. That’s the experience of playing Skyrim, or Fallout, or Star Wars: The Old Republic.
The eccentric genius of the Mass Effect series is how seamlessly those two apparently divergent strands of narrative DNA are woven together. READ FULL STORY »