Branching in stories

How much do you think a story can branch? How divergent can a story be? And should the branches generally conclude around the same point/should they be given the same amount of effort? Could some diverging storylines involve genre shifts or large toss-ups to story structure?

Detroit: Become Human was a great example of that. Its branches were beyond any games’ with a feeling that choices had impact.

If you want to look at games and learn how not to branch, well… look at Telltale’s recent games.

As much as you allow. But fanfic exists, though. Headcanon is also an undeniable psychic force.

As for genre shifts, eastern media often ends up in a genre shift despite being linear, both brings good and bad.

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Short answer… A lot. :blush:

There’s loads of different ways to write an interactive fiction novel, and while a lot of CoG and HGs are more linear, one of the more traditional ways of writing interactive fiction is in the old Choose Your Own Adventure style, where essentially every single choice you make will lead you down a completely different path.

There are advantages and disadvantages to the different styles though. More branches obviously add to a game’s replayability, but it’s also important to keep in mind that having the game branch a lot generally means that while the game’s word count might be very high, the actual playthrough length will be quite short… Unless you include a lot of dead ends in the game, where making the wrong choice just leads to the character dying… But in my personal experience, people don’t really seem to like this. It’s preferable if all the branches have a more or less equal amount of effort put into them, which can get very complicated when you have tonnes of branches to work on.

Essentially, the amount that a choicescript game can branch is limitless. But the more branching you have in a story, the more important it is for the author to carefully plan the game out to make sure they know exactly where every branch is going.


There are some games which had many branches, thus having lots of replayability. If certain story doesn’t have enough variation and/or branching, it can be frustrating to replay it with the same text over and over.

What kind of game is too linear? Is it to the point where your choices doesn’t really affect or change the ending? Or is it repetitive texts. Thoughts?

It can be alright if it’s linear as long as the story and writing is good.

I think the Wayhaven Chronicles’ story is pretty linear (sort of) but because it’s romance, and it had different paths, plus the writing was really good, I don’t think people mind about it.

Basically does your game have a predetermined ending? That determines how linear it is really .

Your MC: The charming cocky rogue.
My MC: A bitter curmudgeonly wizard.
Someone Else’s MC: A noble Hero.

Ending: you save the day become the new ruler and live happily ever after.

To me that is Linear and like the Determinant Curse of telltale games (
Episode 1: You saved the girl instead of the guy.
Episode 3: shit we cant keep progranming in two different conversations get rid of the girl)
You need certain things in place. Take keeper of the sun and moon. I willingly chose to free the villain. But there’s also a being forced to free them option. And if by some miracle we could get without freeing them Dollars to Donuts they’d have freed themselves for the sequel because they’re an important character. Now if you’re set on a certain destination. The best way to avoid linearity is basically mame different roads. If we need to get to the evil castle we can swim and have a big sewer scene. Get captured have a big dungeon scene. Stroll through the doors etc. If you’re writing a game like ghost simulator just focus on making the mechanics fun


Surprise surprise. Even though I replay games, more often than not, I never pick options different from my first playthrough. Unless I forgot it.