Plot or characters?


#1

So what do you think, what is more important: interesting and deep plot or interesting and deep characters?


#2

I think both are equally as important, if you had deep interesting characters and an very simple plot, it could still be good, but if you had a nice mix of the two, it would be amazing.
but that’s just my opinion, other people may think otherwise.


#3

The best thing is to put most of your attention into the plot, the best way to create interesting characters is to base them of people you know in real life.
But yeah, that’s what I think.


#4

Plot and character are both important. Good characters do interesting things. Interesting plots utilize good characters. It’s like saying ‘when you eat this cake, do you like the eggs or the milk mixed in the batter better?’ The fact is if either ingredient was missing from the cake, you would most certainly notice.


#5

It depends on the reader, honestly! Look no further than the 100000 examples of fantasy in which a peasant boy who turns out to have noble blood, a stoic warrior guy, a plucky princess, and a thief with a heart of gold adventure across many generic landscapes. The characters in those stories are second to the plot in every way, and they may as well not even be named because they’re so generic.

On the flipside, something like the movie Slacker has almost NO plot whatsoever, but it’s fascinating to watch a whole cast of interesting folks doing whatever it is they do.

Some people like option one, some like option two. Which is more important depends on the reader. So the moral of the story then? Do what you like! There are many stories that value both equally as well, so there’s no reason to think one is more important overall.


#6

Personally what follows me after I’ve played a game isn’t the amazing plot or the amazing characters. It’s the ideas. Yes, I love both, but the plyosophy carried by certain characters is what I end up remembering. The Blue Masque’s view that humanity has to forge it’s path to greatness with combat (Mecha Ace), Lex Luthor fighting with an invading force just in case humanity fails so he could earn their survival through his service (Super Man), The choice lain upon me in Infamous 2, when I had to choose to either kill billions in order to save thousands of Conduits or kill every conduit to ensure the stop of the plague (Infamous 2)

I don’t care who makes the gears in my head turn, good or evil, thier ideas on how they see the world are what my mind lingers on.


#7

I don’t think they’re mutually exclusive…

…But if I had to choose one it’d be plot. Some of the best stories in Dubliners by James Joyce had relatively shallow characters in a well-written plot that radiated deeper meaning.


#8

Both ways work in my opinion, you could have an amazingly complex universe with generic characters or you could have a generic setting with amazingly complex characters.

I would have fun with both options :grin:


#9

I prefer characters ovee plot. Sandbox games,most otome games and some TV shows don’t have a strong plot but they are successful. A comedy game that doesn’t take itself toi seriously can have plot holes, but they add to the humor of the game. Tale Tale’s zombie game has the same survive the zombie apocalypse plot as many other games, but it is good because of its characters.I don’t read a lot of fanfics, but I think they focus more on characters than plot.

If you look at the recent topics on this forum, there is no post asking which game has the best plot ,so far; there is a topic for the best romance character. There is not a single definition for an interesting plot. Some people may prefer military, fantasy, historic, or modern-day games. I personally don’t prefer a too fantasy oriented choice gme because I need pictures to visualize some things and I don’t feel like reading a book about the world instead of playing a game.

I don’t think that a good character has to be universally liked. It’s good that some people like and dislike a character. I think it would be easier to define what makes a character nteresting and good than it would be to define what makes a plot interesting and good. Characters add depth to a game and make you care about the game. The choicescript game platform allows for people to define their own character and interact.


#10

In my opinion, I think both are important because they make an amazing game. However, if I had to choose, I’d go with the interesting plot. The plot is the majority of a game and so it is important.


#11

I think it is possible to have a good plot without characters, for example if the MC has to survive alone on an island, but most games and non-interactive stories require both.


#12

BTW when I ask that question I did mean what is most important to YOU! of course everyone has their own ideas ;] just wondered what people liked most. personally, I am really torn between the two…but if I had to pick, I would choose characters… because…if you don’t care about the characters…then who cares about the plot.


#13

Hopefully both!!! XD

I think that my two favorite CS games so far handle very well a balance between the two. Tin Star, and the Way Walkers games. In Tin Star, NPCs are well defined, but the story moves on despite who you have with you, even though at times the plot -is- based on who you have with you. In Way Walkers, you have very real feeling characters, but the sense of something much greater going on behind the scenes, no matter what your level of involvement is.

I suppose that I think of one as supporting the other. Like, good characters help to create good plot. And… good plot influences and changes good characters. So… I see it more as a matter of a writer’s ability than a focal point on which makes a better game.


#14

It is very true that a writer should have the ability to write both well.


#15

Obviously like most have said, you ideally want both.

However, I find that you can have a bare minimum or even non-existent random plot as long as you have interesting/amusing/likable/etc. characters. I tend to focus more on characters when I’m writing as well as reading.

If the characters don’t interest me, I’m not likely going to care bout the overall story regardless of how deep the plot is.


#16

I’m mainly a playwright. I do a lot of pondering before I start writing each script, and start writing once I get to a particular planning plateau. it’s where I have interesting characters I want to spend time with, and the beginnings of a challenging situation for the characters to deal with. Then I make them start to deal with it, and they surprise me by the decisions they take. And the decisions they take unveil depths in their challenging situation (and in them) that I had not known about until they show me.

So for plays and for games I guess I advocate for “character driven” writing. That is, once you have characters you find interesting, or who may find each other interesting, knock them off balance (the “driven” part) and see what they stumble into as they try to avoid disaster. You don’t have to know how it will all turn out before you get there.

Charles Dickens’ “Our Mutual Friend” has a huge, glaring plot hole around 2/3 of the way through. He had a plan for the book, but by the time he got to that point (writing and publishing chapter by chapter in a magazine), his characters had surprised him and he could not make them do what he had thought they were going to do. So he broke the plot to stay with the characters. If you read that book, I think you’ll agree he made a good decision.


#17

If I had to pick one, characters. If characters are interesting, I could watch them do just about anything. I hate it when someone focuses on an epic plot and lets the characters slip into lazy cliches, but conversely, I can forgive a game with a meandering plot if I like the characters.


#18

I can’t tell you how many absolute shit-poor games in terms of plot I’ve played (even here on CoG!). If the characters are good, they’ll be timeless, and the characters stick in your mind better than the plot. We can’t really choose favourite plots, but we defend favourite characters with zeal.