It has always been my opinion that a great role playing game (RPG) needs more than just good game play, it also needs to tell a good story. All of my favorite RPGs have succeeded in doing just this. Just like any book, the story can unfold from any number of perspectives and can be told in any number of ways. One of my personal favorite games, Final Fantasy Tactics, does this in a very unique way. There are a variety of ways for a game to begin. Some games just throw you right into the action and you immediately control the main character from there, some give backstory from an omniscient presence, and so on. Final Fantasy Tactics begins with a historian asking you (the game player) if you have ever heard of the Lion War and proceeds to tell a brief backstory to it. He describes it as a two party war for power of the throne. He proceeds to tell of a hero who came out of the war and became king, but then counters this by saying “… we also know that what we see with our eyes alone… isn’t necessarily the truth.” Despite the fact that this was a poorly translated game, as many of the early playstation games were, this line comes through in full strength. It pulls the player into the game, inviting you to see the true story.
The story follows this by introducing the main character, and saying that there was no record of him playing any part of the war, but that he was the true hero, which the church covered up for their own reasons. They claim him to be a “blasphemer and anarchist” as well as “the root of all evil”. The intro ends with the historian questioning whether this is the truth and invites you to join him in a journey to discover the truth. I feel as if this brief intro (only takes about two minutes to read through) really pulls the player into the game, while also introducing the main character in a mysterious way. It leaves you unsure of whether he is a true hero, or is in fact the root of all evil. From the standpoint of the story, I feel the intro truly draws the player into the game. Without spoiling anything, the game has a brilliant story of death, murder, betrayal, and everything in between.