In Red Dead Redemption, you take on the role of John Marston, a former criminal who leaves his life behind for his family, only to have them kidnapped by government agents who want Marston to track down his old criminal gang members and shoot them down. When you hear this for the first time, it sounds pretty intriguing, intriguing enough to make you want to see where the story will go.

Of course, Rockstar made a fortune with Red Dead Redemption, the story was universally praised by critics and players alike, the gameplay being a little clunky made no bearing on the legend status it has today, and while there are people who enjoyed it’s multiplayer, the game is universally recognized for it’s fantastic story, believable and realistic characters, and for being a one of its kind. There really isn’t any other game like Red Dead Redemption. The game is unique, it works when it clearly shouldn’t, and it makes us all wanting for more.

Video Games have moved beyond the realm of simplistic jump-here-save-her storylines, today video games are the vehicle, where you, the player, are the driver and the experience and the story of the game, along with the gameplay, are the road on which you’re traveling. The journey of your protagonist in the game is your journey, their sadness is your sadness, their happiness and triumph is your own, and all this works because of the fantastic story that ties it together.

At IACG, we work with our students to understand what makes a game tick for them and understand that while single player games with stories won’t satisfy everyone’s needs, especially those who prefer competing and playing with others, they have a place in the industry because of how important it is to tell stories, stories that connect with the player.

The opening sequence of Naughty Dog’s immensely popular The Last of Us is one of the most emotional scenes for a game, Naughty Dog even takes the time to make the protagonist and the one he’s close to connect emotionally to the player before the opening sequence plays out, something that defines the protagonist’s actions over the next 20 years and finally culminating as the events of the games play out.

Designing games with stories worth experience are extremely important, as important as making movies that tell stories of characters we grow to love, and this is why game development is so important. The world could always use more heroes, even if they are fictional.