Why Having a Solid Lore Foundation Breeds Great Games!

skyrim

When creating a game, a developer must first consider the timeline it is placed in and even whether it exists in our current universe. If it exists in our universe and timeline, all real life events must be accurate in order to suspend our disbelief. But some of my favourite games, with the deepest base in lore exist both in our universe albeit far into the future so they can practically write their own future, or in different places inside the writers mind completely. The two best examples that I am most familiar with are Halo and The Elder Scrolls.

Halo is further down the line in a world where we know what the laws of physics are and everything around us is familiar, for the most part. The Elder Scrolls series takes a completely different direction with this. Their laws of physics are their own to interpret. This allows things like magic, gods and other mystical presences to exist, without having the player suspend their own disbelief because these are things that just make sense in this universe.

That is a brief summary of two of the ways video game writers can make our universe their own, or create their own entirely. So that is the foundation of the lore, the location. Next you have to write stories and create characters and historical battles and monuments and a lot of other things like that. This may all seem like fantasy sci-fi geeky nonsense, but it’s what makes some of the greatest experience really feel like they exist in a world that makes sense. If the player is constantly thinking about reasons that this game doesn’t make sense in this world, they are losing out on the experiences the game is trying to deliver to them.

Let’s give some examples as it relates to games that everyone knows and loves. Skyrim is the fifth game in the Elder Scrolls series and gives a perfect example of the stories that games should be trying to tell. The thing about the Elder Scrolls is that all of these stories have to fit together and make sense. A lot of times games seem to have an issue where the hero is literally invincible and the enemy has no chance of getting away with their actions and this doesn’t make sense a lot of times in lore. Skyrim’s example is the story of the Dragonborn.

The Dragonborn must defeat Alduin, who is considered unkillable. After he finds out what he must do, he heads to Sovngarde with the aid of a defeated dragon to challenge Alduin and succeeds. This story is only made possible by carefully weaving through the fact that living people may not enter Sovngarde, but the dragons have a way to get in, giving Alduin the opportunity to feast on the souls of all Nords who die and are sent there. Challenging and defeating this dragon means there is a way for these events to occur, that wouldn’t occur normally.

Having a strong lore foundation is absolutely key to giving players a reason to keep playing in a world, and when people are invested in a story or multiple stories of characters, they buy sequels. It’s as simple as that.

What do you guys think? Are you more likely to buy a game if there is a deep background to it. Do you prefer games that don’t require too much thinking? Let us know what your thoughts are down below!

George Seymour