Narrative and Gameplay Design in the Story-driven Videogame: A Case Study on The Last of Us

Cameron, Kelsey
Matthews, Justin
Frommherz, Gudrun
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Master of Communication Studies
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Auckland University of Technology

The story-driven trend over the last decade has experimented with incorporating narrative into the videogame alongside traditional gameplay. This study analyses some of the challenges when integrating narrative into the videogaming paradigm. A case study using formal analysis and close reading research methods analyses a critically and culturally acclaimed videogame titled The Last of Us. This study investigates the various design patterns of narrative and gameplay in The Last of Us to explore how narrative can be incorporated in the medium more effectively. Rather than using narrative as a subordinate feature within the system in The Last of Us, it is treated as a crucial component alongside the gameplay. Through various design methods, narrative and gameplay are layered together and overlap when the game is interacted with. Instead of competing for the player’s attention, both the narrative and gameplay support one another throughout the game. This case study on the narrative and gameplay design in The Last of Us and the emergent implications of the design decisions demonstrates how story can enhance the experiential capabilities in the videogame medium.

Narrative , Narratology , Gameplay , Ludology , Videogame , Video Game , Game Studies , Game Studies Case Study , The Last of Us , The Last of Us Case Study , Story-driven game , Game Design , Game Design Case Study
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