Stories in games have a nasty habit of getting in the way of play, according to Kid Icarus: Uprising and Super Smash Bros. series creator Masahiro Sakurai. Sakurai outlined a mini-manifesto on gaming narratives in the most recent issue of Famitsu (translated by Polygon.)
"As a player, as someone who's been playing games for a long time, the stories that get told in video games are honestly irksome to me pretty often," he said. "For example, games that take forever to get through the intro and won't let you start playing, or games that go through the trouble of being fully voiced and wind up having their tempo all messed up as a result. I just want to enjoy the game and I think I'm just intolerant of aspects that block that enjoyment. I can enjoy a story in any other form of media; I just want the game to let me play it already."
Sakurai wrote the entire script of Uprising himself. The personality of every character and boss was informed by its role in interacting with players, he said, a focus which would have been difficult to delegate across multiple people.
Sakurai said games that flip the equation and emphasize story to the detriment of play--say, by killing off a character players have invested significant time in, no matter what the player does--suffer.
"A game's story absolutely needs to match the content and the gameplay," he said. "In an ideal world, we could take advantage of this to provide new story developments that you'll never be able to see in other media."