Video Game Storytelling: What Every Developer Needs to Know about Narrative Techniques

Video Game Storytelling: What Every Developer Needs to Know about Narrative Techniques

by Evan Skolnick


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With increasingly sophisticated video games being consumed by an enthusiastic and expanding audience, the pressure is on game developers like never before to deliver exciting stories and engaging characters. With Video Game Storytelling, game writer and producer Evan Skolnick provides a comprehensive yet easy-to-follow guide to storytelling basics and how they can be applied at every stage of the development process—by all members of the team. This clear, concise reference pairs relevant examples from top games and other media with a breakdown of the key roles in game development, showing how a team’s shared understanding and application of core storytelling principles can deepen the player experience. Understanding story and why it matters is no longer just for writers or narrative designers. From team leadership to game design and beyond, Skolnick reveals how each member of the development team can do his or her part to help produce gripping, truly memorable narratives that will enhance gameplay and bring today’s savvy gamers back time and time again.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780385345828
Publisher: Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony/Rodale
Publication date: 12/02/2014
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 480,884
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

With over twenty-five years of story and game development experience at world-class entertainment companies such as Marvel, Activision, and Lucasfilm, EVAN SKOLNICK brings a unique perspective to narrative experiences in games. An international speaker and educator, he has conducted workshops on storytelling techniques for well over a thousand game development professionals. Skolnick’s work includes projects such as Star Wars 1313, Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2, The Godfather: Five Families, Over the Hedge, Spider-Man 3, Spy Muppets, and many others. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife and two sons. Visit

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Excerpted from "Video Game Storytelling"
by .
Copyright © 2014 Evan Skolnick.
Excerpted by permission of Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony/Rodale.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Part I - Basic Training
1. Conflict: The Fuel of Story
2. The Three-Act Structure
3. The Monomyth
4. Characters and Arcs
5. Exposition
6. Believability
7. Dialogue

Part II - In the Trenches
8. Team Leadership
9. Overall Game Design
10. Game Character Development
11. Level and Mission Development
12. Environments
13. Engineering the Story
14. Audio
15. Quality Assurance (QA)

Afterword Return with the Elixir
Appendix I Sample Character Description Document
Appendix II Sample Environment Description Document

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Video Game Storytelling: What Every Developer Needs to Know about Narrative Techniques 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
PaulaDS More than 1 year ago
As soon as I saw the title of this book I was quick to pick it up and read it. I’m always interested in reading anything that relates to video games. And as much as I love reading I also love playing video games so I definitely had to give this a chance. I’m glad I did because it has been far from disappointing. The book is aimed primarily at game developers, but it gives anyone insight on what it takes to create a story for a video game and a bit of the process in which the developers go through to develop the game. The book is not very long, but it is very thorough and it’s comprehensive with easy-to-follow advice. Skolnick broke down the basic structure of video game storytelling into various parts that highlighted the importance of each and how they could be applied to video games. Anyone who decides to read this wouldn’t have to worry about it going over their heads. I was worry it would, but it wasn’t overly technical or complicated. It was actually pretty refreshing to read about. It gave me a clear understanding on the subject and a new perspective. I love that there were examples of popular movies and games that most people will be familiar with. They helped a lot and this book is definitely something that I would recommend to anyone curious and interested in video games and writing a story for it.  [Note: I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.]