Episodic narratives – Why not?

Before we start, please listen to this song: http://de.youtube.com/watch?v=5OueTGtbUyk

If you´ve done that, i have to ask you: What was the last game you played that had such a pull towards it, such an adventurous feeling? Personally, i can´t remember any such game at all. Of course, this is an opening song of a series and it´s supposed to hook the audience, but it reminds of something i´ve wanted for so long: Episodic stories.

Buy episodic stories i basically mean something like the Pokémon-anime…only times 1000 better. I´m talking about the structure. Modern games always focus on one main story, where anything that´s not part of that is a minor sidequest. Also, i hardly ever felt like taking part in one the adventures i´m playing. It´s always a very passive situation for me, the player. One game that did a great job in giving me the feeling of being part of the adventure was Baten Kaitos, where the player was directly talked to by ingame-characters.

I´d love to see this more advanced, though. I want that my fellow NPCs shout at me, not because of some mistake i made, but because they´re talking to or care about me. Like, i´m walking within the game world, and one of my party-members starts telling a little story or a joke. Or we´re in battle and i´m about to be attack from behind and a NPC-friend shouts “Watch out, behind you!”. Sure, some games to this, but it´s a very artifical way these games are doing that. I want it to feel more natural. I want…to CARE about the NPCs that are following me. I don´t need shallow zombies that do whatever i want them to do.

And i want all that to happen within a story that´s not so ultimately straight forward. Go there, do that, go there, do that, and each time giving me the feeling of having experienced a great little adventure. Not “go there, do that, go there, do that” and then saying “uh, finally i can proceed with the main quest”.

I don´t know if it´s just me who´d like something like that to happen, but i think i would combine both lenghty adventures AND appeal to gamers without much time, as those could finish many little adventures and not forget something, which could happen in one big adventure.

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