How should games and tie-in media interact?
I was thinking about Lord of the Clans the other day. It’s one of my favorite Warcraft novels, but at the same time, it definitely fills in a lot of backstory that players of World of Warcraft might not actually know. Seeing the story unfold via cutscenes, through quests and dungeon and raid encounters is a great thing. But it’s also a very different thing from reading a several-hundred-page novel — there’s a lot more room for ideas and themes to breathe in a novel as opposed to in a game, which is a storytelling medium that also carries ludic or game aspects.
For example, the difference between seeing Jaina and her father Daelin interact in Warcraft 3 is different from the way it could be portrayed in a novel or animated short, and it’s interesting to see the ways the Warcraft movie changed and adjusted the story of the first Warcraft ganes as it unfolded a familiar but distinct narrative. This isn’t about which is better or worse, but about if these disparate methods can be used in tandem to tell the same story. Is it fair to players of the game to be expected to watch a short or read a book to understand the story? Is the Azshara Warbringers short necessary for players to understand what they’re doing in the raid?
I like it when tie-in media is part of the game’s story and world because I believe it just adds to the experience, it doesn’t subtract from it — you don’t need to read War Crimes or Sylvanas to understand what happens in the game, it just gives you more detail if that’s what you’re looking for. But I’m curious, always, about what you all think. Should tie-in media be kept self contained and away from the games they reference?
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