Deck 13 on how to craft a story-driven game

As regular readers will know, we like to ask the developers we chat with about videogame stories, especially as many of us are RPG fans and like to see games tackle interesting narrative. Naturally, with Venetica having quite an interesting premise, I asked creative directer Jan Klose how important story is, not only to his game, but videogames in general.

“Gameplay and plot go hand in hand,” said Klose of Venetica. “here is one linear main story but there are also dozens of side quests plus a very open level architecture that lets you explore lots of secrets along your way. If you only go for the main story, you are led straight through the game, but if you are more of an explorer, you will find literally hundreds of secrets to unveil.”

And on a broader scale, how important is story to the average videogame?: “I think that strongly depends on the experience you intend to create. Games can go well without any story, but many games strongly profit from unique and interesting writing. With RPGs we have a perfect basis for great storytelling, and we should not miss that. To finally turn games into a piece of culture, story is one major aspect. For a story-intensive game, it is absolutely essential to create gameplay and story at the same time, because they depend on each other. None of them can be ‘added’ later.”

Venetica is currently available in its home country of Germany but so far has no Western release. Deck 13 is sure a release announcement will come “soon,” so until then we’ll have to learn German or wait patiently. In the meantime, I hope you enjoyed our coverage of Venetica and will check it out when it finally hits the rest of the world.

Jim Sterling