Why Multiple-Choice Games?

We have chosen to develop multiple-choice games for several reasons. First and foremost, we like to focus on interesting choices. Many games work by surrounding interesting choices with lots of tactical play or interactions with a set of game systems. That can be fun, but it means that relatively little of the playing experience is about making choices at a high-level. In contrast, by creating a game system that is all about multiple-choice interactions, we can focus on the choices we find interesting—moral choices, trade-offs between different values and characteristics, and so forth. When you play one of our games, you should be making meaningful choices all the time.

It’s worth stressing that last bit: games need meaningful choices to be interesting. If your choices are not meaningful, then you’re really just going through the motions. By structuring all game interactions as multiple-choice questions, we focus our attention as game designers on making sure that every choice that the player makes is meaningful. Of course, several different things can make a choice meaningful. In some cases, it determines the flow of the game from then on, even whether the protagonist lives or dies. In other cases, the choices are meaningful because they help the player explore and define who their character is. What makes your character tick can be among the most meaningful sorts of choices, even if it has no direct effect on the outcomes of the game. Other varieties of games can lose the meaningfulness of their choices by focusing the player’s attention on solving a puzzle of sorts: how do I best achieve a well-defined goal? Nothing wrong with that, but we prefer in our design to focus on something else.

Finally, multiple-choice structures enable us to both construct a meaningful story with narrative, character development, and so forth while also allowing the player meaningful control over the story’s development. A tension exists between allowing player choice and facilitating a satisfying story. Multiple-choice structures offer a potential way to bridge that problem. It restricts player options, but the pay-off for that is the opportunity to construct stories that work.