Playrix: the plot is a system of reference points for the player

At White Nights 2015, Playrix game designer Evgeny Danilov talked about what the plot is and why it is needed in the game.


Whether plots and stories are needed in games is a matter of constant debate. Opinions are polar: either yes or no. In fact, says Eugene, it all depends on the project and the specific audience.

In some games, the plot is harmful or unnecessary. In others, it is difficult to do without a plot. These are serial games (like Telltale), hidden object. Such genres imply a well-developed narrative.

The plot is a system of reference points for the player. It performs the following functions:

1. Creates a thematic space

The story outlines the framework of the game. Let’s say there is a card, and on this card there is a chip. The player does not want to figure out why to move this chip, which means that he does not want to move the chip either. If he is offered a story, for example, a girl walks through a candy country, it becomes clear why he should go somewhere. And, most importantly, why.

2. Creates an emotional space

The story helps to choose a suitable system of images that will cause the player an emotion, an experience. And eventually motivate him. For example, the confrontation of red dots and black dots is boring. And if you call these points “Starks” and “Lannisters”, then interest immediately appears.

3. Carries the functions of target designation and sets the motion vector

Without a goal, players don’t know where to move. They themselves will not set goals: the user does not like to strain. The player needs a clear, achievable goal. Find evidence to get an arrest warrant. To imprison a criminal – to destroy the syndicate.

4. Gives value to the player’s actions

The story orients how valuable the player’s actions are. Why search the room for the hundredth time? To do justice. Why grind resources for hours? To build a temple to the god of Mars. The value of the player’s actions is growing.

History is another way to show progress and changes. They attract the player even when the mechanics have become familiar. Therefore, history is an important mechanism for retaining and attracting users, summarizes Evgeny.

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