When it comes to narrative, branching storylines and dialogue options can add a new and exciting layer to gameplay. It can help the player feel more invested in what is happening on screen, connect them to characters, and differentiate their experience from that of their friends. However, in some instances, trying to add a dialogue tree comes off as not only unnecessary, but just plain forced. Sometimes to the point of being jarring to the overall immersion of the player.


Take Uncharted 4, for example. While, overall, this game sports an intriguing and enjoyable narrative, there are moments where the player is given a choice. And that choice is, for some reason … To decide whether or not you’re going to be sassy? Or… To answer a question your wife asked? Basically, they don’t matter. Inserting any of the given choices would have worked the same or better than having the player select them. Nothing changes by these dialogue options existing except, perhaps, how long the voice actor had to spend in the booth.


Firewatch- Firewatch is built around dialog trees and the entire story is a narrative experience. However, no matter what the player will choose the ending will end up the same every time. Choosing different options doesn’t result in any changes as the game continues. The player might be rewarded with backstory but nothing to contribute to the main story. The story remains on its rails the whole time no matter what the player chooses to say.