A good movie must balance the action and storytelling so that it keeps the pace without boring the audience with too much story.

Now the questions is how should the action and story be balanced in a video game?

Should there be more story or more action?

I would like to see some research papers about this topic if they exist.

  • \$\begingroup\$ get play tester of your target demographic to tell you by playing the game. \$\endgroup\$ – ratchet freak Dec 11 '14 at 13:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ Can you link to any research papers about the topic. It's not perfect, but I want to know more about the topic. \$\endgroup\$ – Marek Andreansky Dec 11 '14 at 13:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ There's no way in answering that. Not only is the answer up to everyone's opinion, it's also heavily influenced by the actual game. If I'm playing some visual novel or a point and click adventure, then I want story and less to no combat. On the other hand, playing a first person shooter, combat and action become far more important. \$\endgroup\$ – Mario Dec 11 '14 at 13:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ This is genre-dependent. There are great games which are 99% action and there are great game which are 99% story. A better question would be to not ask for how much you need of each but rather how to interweave them in a way that story and action work together and enhance each other instead of one distractring from the other. Although such a question might be too broad. \$\endgroup\$ – Philipp Dec 11 '14 at 13:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ How about links to articles about my questions. I know its genre depended but there has to be some good articles you can recommend. \$\endgroup\$ – Marek Andreansky Dec 11 '14 at 16:08

I believe this question has a flawed assumption at its very core:

It assumes story and "combat" are separate.

That was often the case of games of eras passed. Just remember games like Final Fantasy, where you had separate cinematic/dialogue moments and a very clunky combat system. But what was good enough then, aint necessairly good enough now. The approach to handling narrative in games changes a lot. Just look at Telltale Games, like the Wolf Among Us or Walking Dead. The story and decisions made by the player are part of the gameplay and gameplay facilitates story.

The problem with dissecting gameplay and stroy into two separate things is that players that are into your story will treat combat gameplay like an irritating break in the narrative - an artificial pause, making them wait for what they want (which is learning what happens now in the story). It's true the other way around too. If I'm mostly into kicking some orc ass, I'll skip all your story and dialogue with a "blah blah blah" in the back of my head.

A better solution would be to blend the two. Incorporate decision making into the gameplay mechanic. Make the story a part of the gameplay, not a book that is being read to you in breaks between gameplay sequences.

So my advice for you is: maybe you should ask how to incorporate storytelling into your gameplay mechanics?

If you want to know more on the topic, I kindly suggest starting with this Extra Creditz video

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This appears to be a very long comment posted in answer form. OP asked for research on the subject. \$\endgroup\$ – MichaelHouse Dec 11 '14 at 15:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ You're making a good point - I need to know how to intertwine combat and story. But an article or two about the topic would be nice too :) \$\endgroup\$ – Marek Andreansky Dec 11 '14 at 16:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MarekAndreansky Im searching. I had a great ~10min videocast about it somewhere in my browser history, I will include it in the answer once I find it. \$\endgroup\$ – K.L. Dec 13 '14 at 13:04

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