Jump to content

Is Don't Starve narrative driven? Is narrative even an integral role within Don't Starve? Should it be?


Recommended Posts

The great debate starts here. All opinions welcome and appreciated.

Speaking of which...

 

 

I just don't think we need every inch of the story explained in a game where story is only worth a fraction when actually playing. A lot of it is just better off as player interpretation, like this thread for instance.

 

I see where you're coming from, but there's very little I agree with in that sentiment.

 

Just because the narrative elements within Don't Starve are sparse doesn't mean the narrative isn't a driving force within the game. There's no rule that a narrative driven work of art must be X pages long or have a word count of Y. Take for example this nifty piece of flash fiction that's usually credited to Hemingway, "For Sale: baby's shoes. Never worn." As small a tidbit it is, it tells a story.

 

You say no more details should be revealed about Charlie but a similar argument could've very easily been made for delving into Maxwell's past. The idea that such things are better off left to player interpretation is just simply not necessarily the case, it's completely dependent on how Klei pulls it off. Yes, some of the mystery surrounding Maxwell's character was destroyed when we got the William Carter puzzles, but is anyone going to sit here and argue that revealing Maxwell's past made him a weaker character for it? I seriously doubt it. Whatever intrigue that might've been destroyed by such revelations was more than made up for and then some by the inclusion of other questions such as how Maxwell came into the possession of Codex Umbra? Did he ever meet up with Jack? Why did the Shadow Watcher only strike then and not sooner? And also how was Maxwell getting all the nightmare fuel to use Codex Umbra for his shows?

Because these answers led to more interesting questions, the narrative was made more robust and interest was maintained.

 

 

There is truth to showing and not telling, to letting an event reveal a bit of the nature of something as opposed to one of the characters just giving you a monologue about what's up... but... after adventure mode after the William Carter puzzles... it's clear as day that the narrative is far from over. There's absolutely no closure to this game and not in a good way.

You imply this game isn't narrative driven, but if it weren't, the character of Maxwell needn't exist and you certainly wouldn't need an introductory greeting, much like Minecraft and Terraria.

We don't need every inch of the game explained but we do need closure even if that closure is that there is no escape, you're forever in the grasp of the Shadow Watcher, GG. It just needs to be established.

 

The thing is none of the story told through the puzzles has had any impact in-game. If we pretended Klei never told the William Carter puzzles, the game would not be different in any way aside from perhaps a few Maxwell quotes. The game doesn't focus on story. If it did, then 95% of the story would actually be knowledgeable to a player without looking it up on the internet. Literally the only trace of story that can be found in-game is chapter 6 of adventure mode and character quotes. The game is driven by gameplay, not story.

 

Well then if we're operating under such a narrow view of what "narrative driven" is supposed to mean, then does that mean the only games you'd consider to be "narrative driven" would be interactive visual novels in which the only gameplay within is answering random prompts the game tosses at you from NPC characters like, say, in Jurassic Heart?

 

Because I don't understand why a focus in gameplay should mean that a game is not narrative driven. That's like discounting the entire narrative within Dark Souls because the narrative is sparse, a good chunk of the lore is explored only through item descriptions, and the cutscenes are few and far between.

 

Again, if Don't Starve wasn't intended to have narrative be a driving force, they wouldn't have created Maxwell, they wouldn't have a character greet you instead of just an omniscient box with a tip or 2 on how to survive, like say in the beginning of any given FTL game, and they certainly wouldn't have even bothered with any story bits in the puzzles because what would it matter? Since narrative isn't a driving force, no one would care.

 

I can take down just about every sentence of this, but we're derailing the thread.

 

... now you can lay into my position freely. The floor is yours.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, I'll probably sound weird here but

 

The gameplay and narrative are very separate things, the only story you get in the game itself is in the end of adventure mode

 

And although the game is pretty much nothing but gameplay and there barely being any story within it. Once you realize the story is there, it becomes a really big part of don't starve.

 

at least that's how I see it, gameplay has taken a backseat to the story for me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The world is very open, and every piece of it can be interacted with. I think that alone makes it impossible to have an extensive narrative, seeing as the only narrative in the game proper is in (mostly) pre-made areas. I know comparing the two isn't exactly apt, but the very minimal in-game narrative reminds me of Minecraft. Can a game that relies on completely random worlds have a narrative?

 

But none of that really applies to the game's narrative as a whole, seeing as most of it has successfully been done outside of the game. Aside from a few very specific exceptions (Them, Charlie, maybe the civilization from the Ruins) I would love to see the lore of the world expanded on a bit. How much of the world was actually created by Maxwell, how does the world look to a creature like Deerclops and what caused the other characters to end up in the world of Don't Starve?

 

I feel like I still haven't answered the title question. Let me give this another shot without getting into a spiel. The narrative isn't an integral part of the gameplay at all, and at the moment it works just fine that way.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't think there should be scripted story events and pages of dialog, or even quests in the traditional sense. I do think it's great to add in story elements in a game like this in a variety of non-intrusive ways.

 

I don't think many people will argue against that the core of this game is about survival, learning, and your experience doing those things. As such, story takes a back seat outside of little tid bits like the fact that Maxwell talks to us then our character wakes up (possibly implying they did not hear it) or other tid bits like what the various characters say when you examine story related objects.

 

The question is not, "Should the story reveal parts of the game?". The answer is always yes. The questions are how much, how often, and when?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Glad we have an actual thread for this.

I feel like I still haven't answered the title question. Let me give this another shot without getting into a spiel. The narrative isn't an integral part of the gameplay at all, and at the moment it works just fine that way.

That's kind of my main point here. Don't Starve in no doubt has story; however it's not a core part of the game. About 95% of the story is told outside of the game. Someone who's played the game for years will never be aware of the game's actual story if they don't specifically look for it on the internet (Our puzzle threads, wiki, Klei's youtube channel, etc). If Maxwell's backstory was never told, there would be literally nothing different about the game compared to how it is now. The 5 percent that is actually in the game is chapter 6 of Adventure Mode, which in itself is vague.

 

If Don't Starve was a story driven game, then the developers would not intentionally hide most of the story outside of the game, the ending would be more fleshed out, and more definite. The ending right now is an endless loop that suggests it's not meant to be explained in further detail other than the constant switching of Puppet Masters. Honestly I think it should stay that way unless Klei truly wants to expand DS's story.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Maybe through examination quotes, but I think that if a player doesn't want anything to do with the story, they shouldn't be forced to. I like it how it is now, the game can still stand alone without it, but the hidden tidbits just make it that much more interesting. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It seems like a game that has a rich fiction that is not told, but used to help make it. Reminds me of that one Vlambeer talk.  I doesn't have exposition through lengthy cut scenes or pages of text, but it has suitability intertwined with the gameplay which ends up creating more intrigue with the player.  Now we're in this weird spot where the game doesn't need to directly explain it's lore, but that just makes players all the more curious about it.  

There are some things I question about it and I think it might have some holes, but that makes me want to know more.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Don't Starve is Narrative-Driven but it's only so in the same way you quantify it as a sandbox. You have the outline of a foundation and a parameter to work within, but it's up to the user to make what they want of it within the ambiguous space provided. The whole part of the lore is to keep novelisation on track and give people a narrative to write from henceforth, but it wants the user to have the pen whilst Klei subliminally guides their strokes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If a game is narrative driven doesn't that mean you do things in the game to advance the narrative, or vice versa?

 

I'm not saying there's no story in Don't Starve, but the only time the game is driven by it is in Adventure Mode. (And even then, it's quite lightly so, until it's revealed all at once at the end)

 

I'm very interested in the background of the game's characters and setting, and I love it when bits are revealed in Klei's puzzles. But  as far as the game itself goes? Apart from what you get when you finish Adventure Mode, the only thing that even resembles being narrative driven is finding out/examining stuff in the ruins; and what you get from doing that is so vague it can be summed up in a short sentence. (I still think it's cool, but I wouldn't consider it enough to call narrative)

 

Apart from kinda sorta the ruins and finishing adventure mode (which I highly doubt many consider to be the main part of the game as opposed to some sort of nifty sidequest/challenge), normal gameplay has literally zero plot past "Maxwell trapped you here, don't die." and you don't get any more.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Don't Starve is Narrative-Driven but it's only so in the same way you quantify it as a sandbox. You have the outline of a foundation and a parameter to work within, but it's up to the user to make what they want of it within the ambiguous space provided. The whole part of the lore is to keep novelisation on track and give people a narrative to write from henceforth, but it wants the user to have the pen whilst Klei subliminally guides their strokes.

"You've got the basic skeleton of a narrative, but the bulk of the story is left to the player while Klei tries to guide their direction."

 

I don't know a nice way to say this, but your sesquipedalian speech is heavy-handed to the point that it takes away from what you're trying to say. The use of ambiguous is redundant, using henceforth is entirely unneeded and just makes it seem like you're trying to sound as verbose as possible. Let me say with all the care in the world, don't be that way. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"You've got the basic skeleton of a narrative, but the bulk of the story is left to the player while Klei tries to guide their direction."

 

I don't know a nice way to say this, but your sesquipedalian speech is heavy-handed to the point that it takes away from what you're trying to say. The use of ambiguous is redundant, using henceforth is entirely unneeded and just makes it seem like you're trying to sound as verbose as possible. Let me say with all the care in the world, don't be that way. 

 

Sure, I'll try and be more concise in the future, though you do understand (and I'm sure you do) that this makes you the biggest hypocrite in the world, right? 

 

Out of curiosity to those reading this: how many people turned to Google when they read 'sesquipedalian' (it means 'long words')? As much as this may be an intended irony (making a point of how superfluous passages/vocabulary are annoying), this is coupled with advice that contradicts your very behaviour which either makes you pretentious or just down-right rude. Your pick - I'll take your advice nonetheless.    

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sure, I'll try and be more concise in the future, though you do understand (and I'm sure you do) that this makes you the biggest hypocrite in the world, right? 

 

this is coupled with advice that contradicts your very behaviour which either makes you pretentious or just down-right rude.

Guess that's what I get for trying to be polite about it. It's funny that you even acknowledge its purpose as intended irony, but still call me a hypocrite for using the word jokingly.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was kind of hoping for something more direct, but I'll take what I can get.

 

Glad we have an actual thread for this.

That's kind of my main point here. Don't Starve in no doubt has story; however it's not a core part of the game. About 95% of the story is told outside of the game. Someone who's played the game for years will never be aware of the game's actual story if they don't specifically look for it on the internet (Our puzzle threads, wiki, Klei's youtube channel, etc).

 

I disagree wholeheartedly, story plays a very integral role within Don't Starve, it's the foundation for the entire universe the setting takes place in.

Sure someone casually playing WoW probably wouldn't exactly get why Varian assaulted the Undercity with some druid named Broll Bearmantle let alone Valeera Sanguinar, especially considering she's a blood elf and Varian's distaste of the Horde, if they hadn't read the comics, but so what? Wilson mentions when examining the doorway to adventure that he wouldn't want to fall for it again. Maxwell makes numerous mentions of Charlie and ties it all together with his examination of Codex Umbra. Just the fact that you have someone pop out in a poof of smoke to greet you when you start a new world tells you that there's something larger at play here than a simple "just survive" sort of deal.

 

You have all these hints of something greater at work here. Just because a cutscene doesn't play every time you kill a deerclops doesn't mean the game's not driven by narrative.

 

If Maxwell's backstory was never told, there would be literally nothing different about the game compared to how it is now. The 5 percent that is actually in the game is chapter 6 of Adventure Mode, which in itself is vague.

 

That's putting the cart before the horse.

You don't have pencilers start penciling, inkers start inking, and colorists start coloring before you have at least some semblance of a script in place first -- otherwise, how would they know what's going to be demanded of them? Are the artists just going to take a random stab at it and try to make a comic centered around Spider-man and hope that's what the writers were thinking too?

 

Think back, long long ago, well before the William Carter updates just when the official release of Don't Starve came out: you remember playing as Maxwell right? Mentions Charlie numerous times. Before then had to look through the game files to find out what the grue's official name was, but there was Maxwell telling you straight up what the grue's name was. We didn't know it used to be human, let alone female considering the name.

 

The reason why it's true that nothing would've changed about the game if we never became privy of Maxwell and Charlie's past is because Maxwell and Charlie's past already had their affect upon the canon of the Don't Starve universe.

You might not need to know how your mom baked the most delicious strawberry cheesecake you've ever tasted to enjoy said strawberry cheesecake, but I can guarantee that the end result of that cheesecake would've been vastly different if your mom had gotten distracted and accidentally substituted salt for the sugar that was supposed to go in that thing.

 

If Don't Starve was a story driven game, then the developers would not intentionally hide most of the story outside of the game, the ending would be more fleshed out, and more definite. The ending right now is an endless loop that suggests it's not meant to be explained in further detail other than the constant switching of Puppet Masters.

 

No, if Don't Starve wasn't a narrative driven game there never would've had to have a narrative to begin with. Minecraft didn't need one, Terraria didn't need one, and Don't Starve could've very easily gone without one just as readily, but it didn't.

 

post-212131-0-35587700-1400735651_thumb.

 

I think it's patently obvious the only thing that's an end to is adventure mode. Didn't need to mention anything about the shadowy masters of this wilderness still lurking within the shadows.

That's just it, I, and quite a few other posters, don't feel this is, in truth, an ending-ending. Little to no closure to it whatsoever.

 

Honestly I think it should stay that way unless Klei truly wants to expand DS's story.

 

The game is going to be influenced by the narrative regardless if they reveal which bits of the narrative are affecting which elements of the game, that's already a certainty. Narrative is a driving force. I don't understand why you disagree. I really don't.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guess that's what I get for trying to be polite about it. It's funny that you even acknowledge its purpose as intended irony, but still call me a hypocrite for using the word jokingly.

 

Let's end it here before this gets out of hand. I apologise for calling you a hypocrite and revoke my entire statement; thanks for the advice.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I.. I have to somewhat agree that Don't Starve is narrative driven (although I think that's the wrong way to phase it). If you look at the concept art, the interviews, and the game's synopsis (before the full release), you can figure out that the storyline and gameplay was planned together before the game was developed. The thing I really admire about Klei, is that they executed Don't Starve with genuine grace and stability, and it's all because they were able to plan it well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

I think it's patently obvious the only thing that's an end to is adventure mode. Didn't need to mention anything about the shadowy masters of this wilderness still lurking within the shadows.

Considering the vanilla game is finished, I don't think so. I'm pretty sure Klei was talking about the caves and ruins in that closing textbox, which weren't even revealed to be in development during the time besides a small hint. The rest of the textbox only suggests the character trapped will do the same thing Maxwell did, continuing the loop.

 I don't understand why you disagree. I really don't.

I can say the same thing for you agreeing. Doesn't really matter though, people view "narrative driven" differently, it's not an exact definition. Nothing you say is going to change what I think, nor what I say is going to change what you think, which is kind of why opening a thread and then directly mentioning me is for the most part pointless.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The point of this thread, oCrapaCreeper, was for you guys to settle this argument here, instead of derailing the crap out of my theory thread.

I'm pretty sure it was a bit more beyond that, but it's still better to have an actual thread for something rather than derail another.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Let's end it here before this gets out of hand. I apologise for calling you a hypocrite and revoke my entire statement; thanks for the advice.

That's a good idea, I'm also sorry for trying to exacerbate things.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Don't starve is affected by the story, but not driven. I think that is what oCrapaCreeper (didn't know your name was a legitimate word until typing it...) and doctor h derp were grasping at threads in an attempt to establish. Derp is trying to say that the little tidbits of background provoked the need for more story, and creeper is saying that you can play the game without the presence of a plot. SETTLED.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My mind is rather garbled right now, so a coherent answer to such queries may be missed here today, but I honestly do believe that whatever the case may be, Don't Starve has a wonderful set-up going for it. Strange world, magic, alchemy, kooky characters, death, the unknown, and of course, pure nightmare fuel. It is a horror game despite the child like whimsical look, and you could do so much with it. Then again, this is coming from someone who mourns the missed potential of stories, so take that as you will.

Just remember, if a game starts out with seemingly little to no story, it never, ever means it can never be expanded upon. Look how far Team Fortress has gone. Fantastic, wondrous set-up, so much that needs to be still done, but wonderful none the less.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Please be aware that the content of this thread may be outdated and no longer applicable.

×
  • Create New...