Dialogue Options | What makes a good video game opening?

We're taught from an early age that first impressions count, so it makes sense that developers often put a great deal of thought and care into the first few moments of their interactive stories. 

As a result, we've been treated to some truly jaw-dropping video game openings in our time, from the quiet profundities of Firewatch to the tear-jearking, heart-stopping pre-credits sequence of The Last of Us

Equally, there's plenty of video game openings that drop the ball, presenting lethargic tutorials wrapped up in lengthy cutscenes that refuse to give the player the promise of agency and freedom that they may have been offering on the box (why hello there, Assassin's Creed 3).

With that in mind, what makes a good video game opening... well, good? Is it the storytelling, the gameplay, the subversive design, or all of the above? And why do they sometimes struggle to invest us in their worlds, even after hours of introductory tutorials? 

Video Editor Ellen Causey, News Editor Ben Tyrer, and Features Writer Alex Avard are discussing exactly that in this week's episode of Dialogue Options, exploring the games with the opening sequences that left the biggest impact on us from the start, along with the ones that we can't forget for all the wrong reasons... 

Be warned, the following video, which can be seen above or found here on YouTube, does contain minor spoilers for The Last of Us, Spider-Man PS4, Firewatch, Life is Strange 2, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, God of War, and Horizon: Zero Dawn.

For more on GamesRadar+, why not check out the biggest new games of 2020 on the way? 

GamesRadar+ was first founded in 1999, and since then has been dedicated to delivering video game-related news, reviews, previews, features, and more. Since late 2014, the website has been the online home of Total Film, SFX, Edge, and PLAY magazines, with comics site Newsarama joining the fold in 2020. Our aim as the global GamesRadar Staff team is to take you closer to the games, movies, TV shows, and comics that you love. We want to upgrade your downtime, and help you make the most of your time, money, and skills. We always aim to entertain, inform, and inspire through our mix of content - which includes news, reviews, features, tips, buying guides, and videos.