A new survey has revealed that 67% now think video game stories are far more superior to those found in TV or film. Although some may scoff the idea, the survey conducted by presentation design agency Buffalo 7 does provide some legitimate grounds for debate.

The gaming industry has grown by leaps and bounds in the last decade. It now accounts for more than half of the UK’s entertainment market and is bigger in North America than Hollywood. As such, there’s a far more mainstream conversation on the quality of video games than ever before.  And one of the biggest topics centres on storytelling.

Famously seen as secondary to the action, and dismissed as being childish, storytelling in video games has always been ignored. That’s changing however – with games like The Witcher 3, The Last of Us and God of War bringing in cinematic, sweeping plots which hit the player on an emotional level.

Eager to find out which game had the best storyline of all, Buffalo 7 surveyed 1158 respondents. Orchestrating two sets of research, one a survey and one a data index on games released after 2010, they have now revealed gaming’s most revered, and most memorable video game stories.

Ranking Gaming’s Greatest Stories

Taking post 2010 games known for their great storylines and researched critical articles, Google, Reddit, and YouTube to discover how popular each story was. These ‘story-success’ factors were then given weighted scores, with a top total score out of 100.

The index reveals that The Last of Us has the most revered storyline in gaming – scoring 88/100. This is followed by God of War with 72/100 and Red Dead Redemption 2, with 71/100.

Games were scored based on how long the main story lasts, how many Google hits for the game in the context of story discussions. It also included how many times the term ‘X game has a good story’ appeared on Google, tally of number of times the game appears in articles on ‘Best Story Driven Games’ articles on page 1-10 Google.

The survey also pulled the average rank from critical scores on sites like ScreenRant, the Gamer, What Culture, PC Gamer, the number of appearances in YouTube ranking videos for ‘Best Story Driven Games’ and tally of appearances in AskReddit threads ‘What Game has the Best Story.’

Source: Buffalo 7

Most Memorable Storyline in Gaming

Of the 1158 surveyed, 67% said that modern video game storylines are now better than TV and film.

Responses were ranked to reveal that The Last of Us has the most memorable video game story, with a 47% majority of responses putting it in the top spot. The Witcher III came next with 35% followed by God of War (2018) with 31%.

“People haven’t always associated video games with good stories,” explains James Robinson, marketing manager at Buffalo 7. “Historically, storylines in games were a bit of an afterthought, something on which to hang the action, something which was secondary to the gameplay itself. People didn’t play video games for the storylines.”

However Robinson added that gaming has only gone from strength to strength, both in terms of the increasing quality of games and the colossal growth in the gaming industry as a whole.

“Gaming went from the outlier to the mainstream, and as such, story-telling went up too.  It’s no surprise that Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us came out top in both our data sets. The game tells an engaging and emotionally draining tale and it’s no wonder we’ll soon see it adapted into it’s on HBO series.”

Top 10 Most Memorable Video Game Stories

The Last of Us 47%
The Witcher III: Wild Hunt 35%
God of War (2018) 31%
Red Dead Redemption 2 28%
Horizon Zero Dawn 24%
Portal 2 20%
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End 19%
Undertale 17%
Hades 10%
Marvel’s Spider-Man 8%

written by.
Richard Augustin
Former chef turned writer; Richard has tip-toed around the publishing industry for two decades. When not busy chasing deadlines, you can still find him experimenting with recipes in the kitchen.

Subscribe to the magazine

Subscribe Now