Interactive Storytelling Tropes

Storytelling tropes that are made possible by the nature of interactive media (Video Games, Visual Novels, etc.). In other words, ways to tell stories that are unfeasible without a player actively shaping them.

Contrast pure gameplay tropes like Various Videogame Views, Video Game Difficulty Tropes, Video Game Interface Elements, etc.

Narrative branching

Mutually exclusive events occur in the story, depending on the player's actions.

Variable endings

The story shows different outcomes depending on the player's actions.

Narrative rearranging/re-sequencing

Same events occur in the story but the player can decide on the order of their occurrence or presentation.

Narrative filigree

Some events only occur in the story if the player takes specific actions and are non-essential to overall plot.

  • Optional Character Scene
    Depending on the player's choice of companions, this scene may or may not occur.
  • Optional Party Member
    It's up to you whether they join the group or not.
  • Optional Sexual Encounter
    Depending on the player's actions, this explicit scene may or may not occur.
  • Plot Tunnel
    All non-essential plot activities are temporarily suspended during mandatory plot advancement.
  • Secret Character
    Most players have no idea this character even exists in the game, because finding them takes so much effort.
  • Sidequest
    Depending on the player's choices, this episode may or may not occur. See also its subtropes.
  • Sidequest Sidestory
    Depending on the player's choices, this story arc may or may not occur.

Narrative parallelization

Gameplay input runs in parallel with story output.

  • Dialog During Gameplay
    Audio-only dialogue runs in parallel with the player's actions.
  • Enemy Chatter
    Mooks can talk with each other, as long as the player doesn't disturb them.
  • NPC Scheduling
    Non-player characters are characterized by having lives beyond only reacting to the player's actions.
  • Playable Epilogue
    The player is given a degree of control over the ending "cutscene".

Gameplay and story symbiosis

How narrative tropes and gameplay tropes co-exist in the same game.