Story-driven games received some well-deserved attention last week at The Game Awards. The annual awards ceremony, similar to the Oscars or Emmys but for games, recognized this year’s best story games in two categories.
For Best Narrative, the winner was What Remains of Edith Finch, the narrative adventure game from Giant Sparrow about a cursed family whose members often die young or from strange circumstances. You play as Edith, the last remaining member of the family, who returns home to discover the stories and secrets her mother kept from her. We loved the game and discussed our theories and favorite characters in episode 13 of the Story Players podcast.
For Games for Impact, the winner was Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, a psychological horror game from Ninja Theory that tells a story of severe mental illness and psychosis through the lens of a Viking vision quest. We haven’t played this game yet but hope to cover it for the podcast soon.
The other games nominated for the Games for Impact category also deserve recognition. They were:
- Life is Strange: Before the Storm — It’s no secret that this series is one of our favorites, but I’m surprised the prequel was nominated given that the final –and possibly most impactful– episode hasn’t been released.
- Please Knock on My Door — Featured in our most recent podcast episode, this short game about depression and social anxiety has a powerful and important message.
- Night in the Woods and Bury Me, My Love — I didn’t have a chance to play either game, but given their inclusion in this list, I’m willing to bet they’re worth checking out.
The Game Awards attracts a large audience by promising new game announcements and new trailers for upcoming games. I noticed three during this year’s show that likely have a major focus on story.
A Way Out is a two-player cooperative game about a prison break. The game has no single-player mode and must be played in split screen even when played with a friend online. This is my most anticipated story game in 2018, and I was floored when the trailer announced a March release date.
In the Valley of Gods is the newest game from Campo Santo, the folks who created Firewatch. The story appears to revolve around a pair of adventurers seeking treasure in Egyptian pyramids and deserts. It looks beautiful. But don’t get too excited — it’s a 2019 game at the earliest.
The madness continues in the third trailer for Death Stranding, Hideo Kojima’s first game since departing Konami and the Metal Gear franchise. And like Metal Gear, this game’s story looks absolutely insane. Who are the terrifying invisible monsters? Why is there a baby inside Norman Reedus, and why is it giving us a thumbs up?
There’s never been a better time for story-driven games! What was your favorite story game of the year? What are you most looking forward to in 2018?