You Don’t a Need Branching Narrative to Give Players Choice

Giving players agency and choice is one of the bedrocks of game design. Dialogue trees, stripping choices away to show a lack of a character's agency, giving the player complete control over an outcome: these are just a few of the options developers have when deciding when and to what degree players have agency over the narrative of a game. RPGs will often focus on the idea of choice, allowing players to express their opinions through dialogue, and in more complex games, rewarding players with different outcomes that reflect their choices. But when a game is limited in how it can deliver specific plot beats, be it by a lack of resources or development time, are there other ways that games can allow for the player to express their emotional response to a story? We discuss choices in RPGs and more on this episode of Waypoint Radio. You can listen to the full episode and read an excerpt below.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Paradise Killer has show up to maybe my most anticipated game thanks to this episode. Can I finally have a good Danganronpa game?

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I don’t know why but I swear they’ve used “What if the Pope Went to the Met Gala?” or something very close to that before.

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“Make That Cat Pope!” was a recent episode title.

Also, I’m 10,000% down for the take referenced in the episode title.

Hot Take: Catholicism Met Gala was a really good Met Gala. It gave us Cardi B and Rihanna ready to battle over who’s gown gets to make them Pope, Joan of Arc Zendaya, The Three Wise Migos, Madonna being on theme and even somewhat subtle for once, and Chadwick Boseman being the only one who read the memo saying to bring big The Young Pope energy.