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Environmental Storytelling

Environmental storytelling is the art of carefully placing a variety of available objects in a game world so that when a player sees them, they imply a narrative. There is less directness in environmental storytelling. Environmental storytelling encourages players to invent their own tales of what transpired to lead to the end instead than clearly stating events by first showing the final result of a series of events.

This approach to storytelling is more collaborative than performative; the content creator will select the objects for a scene, arrange them in a way that feels significant, and then leave it to the player to determine how to interpret the tableau. The player’s immersion in a virtual environment can be greatly enhanced by doing this, especially when it is combined with more straightforward storytelling.

Developers can make vignettes that let players directly experience the effects of the events described elsewhere through the characters they control in order to give the information they give players more emotional impact. Players can be told what happened and why, and developers can explain it to them in plain language. As they develop tales to narrate these vignettes, players grow increasingly engrossed in the game’s universe. Many gamers may even begin to find importance in things the developer never thought about if you do it often and well enough.


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