What Creates the Dynamic Divide Between Games vs Film in World Building?

Jan 26, 2024

Does your imagination run wild when you hear the term ‘world building’? …(P.S. it should!) These incredible realms are filled with slaying dragons, quests to far off lands, and otherworldly adventures. 


World building is a craft that captivates the hearts of those passionate about storytelling, and each approach has unique characteristics and objectives. In film, you learn on the viewership side, where you're mostly acting as a third party audience, whereas in games, it's personally interactive — you can actually be the character


Let's dig a little into the main aspects of both, their approaches, and the creative pieces that shape these creative realms.


Film: Coming Up with Linear Narratives


Think of watching a movie and what keeps you engaged — it’s typically the story, right? 


Being a filmmaker allows you to be part of a team that carefully composes every frame to capture the very essence of a story. You get to freeze those singular moments in time, creating unique linear narratives that guide audiences through a story arc. 


This allows us to control pacing, emotional beats, and the overall journey to be able to connect and resonate with audiences on a deeper level — all of this with a careful emphasis on creating characters with depth that the audience can rally around to hold their attention and keep their interest for the length of the film.  




📽️ Interactivity vs. Spectatorship: For us filmmakers, it's about guiding people through a story. Basically, the level of engagement is dictated by our creative vision.


📽️ Dynamic vs. Linear Storytelling: Films stick to a linear trajectory, guiding viewers through predetermined events. The story is carefully planned out to unfold on the screen.


📽️ Visual Immersion: Filmmakers captivate audiences through carefully composed visuals that unfold on a predetermined timeline.


Games: The Interactive Canvas


There’s a feeling you get when you power up your game console and pick up your controller — you’re not just watching, you’re doing


We as game developers aren’t just telling a story — we're inviting players to actively shape it. Interactive narratives allow players to make choices, which drives the course of the story in unique and personal ways. Audiences who have the ability to shape the storyline and create things of their own will stay invested in the time they are spending playing the game. 


And, as far as the visual part of game design, it’s like a canvas — it allows us to create environments that respond to players during gameplay. 




🎮 Interactivity vs. Spectatorship: We're all about hands-on experiences, letting people explore, decide, and immerse themselves in the world we've created for them.


🎮 Dynamic vs. Linear Storytelling: Forget the straight and narrow — we embrace dynamic, non-linear storytelling, offering a personalized journey shaped by the players choices.


🎮 Visual Immersion: Game designers provide hands-on immersive environments through carefully designed landscapes and vibrant ecosystems. 


Similarities: Bridging the Creative Realms


While games and film have their own unique approaches — there are similarities that mesh and merge them together…


✔ Detailed and Immersive Environments: We all strive to create worlds that draw people in, where every detail contributes to an immersive experience.


✔ Use of Symbolism: Symbols add layers to our stories to help us resonate with audiences on a deeper level.


✔ Emotional Engagement: We're not just telling stories — we're aiming for hearts, seeking those emotional responses that make the experience unforgettable.


✔ Technological Advancements: We’re always ready to embrace the latest tech — to keep up with trends and to push the boundaries of what’s possible.


✔ Collaborative Creation: Behind every masterpiece, there's a diverse team collaborating, bringing their unique skills to the table.


✔ Meeting Your Expectations: Ultimately, it's about the audience. We're here to create an experience that leaves people fulfilled and wanting more.


Conclusion: Navigating Creative Frontiers


So, whether you're drawn to the allure of film or the interactive wonders of gaming, remember that our journeys, though distinct, are connected by a shared love for storytelling. 


As we continue to grow and learn in our respective realms, let's continue pushing boundaries, redefine what's possible, and craft experiences that make a lasting impression on our audience.