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Industry Expert Shares His Top Five Narrative Video Games You Need to Play

video games
Staying in
May 2022
Reading time 3 Minutes

North East industry professional, Ian Mayor gives us an insight to the top five narrative video games you need to play in 2022

The video game industry is surpassing new levels of fame, success and production year on year – constantly welcoming new demographics and audiences to the collection of experiences on offer. What’s fascinating about video games is their ability to push the concept of interactive media to its fullest conclusion, with new technologies and game engines adding surreal levels of detail, hauntingly intelligent AI, and ingenious immersion through inspired gameplay systems. At the core of making these productions feel real are narrative designers – teams of skilled writers, directors and world builders who work with audio engineers, programmers and artists to find new ways of delivering a core narrative that players can connect with on an emotional level.

In short – games that master their narrative design at every level of production are a must. To find the creme de la creme, we ask Newcastle-based Ubisoft Reflections’ senior narrative designer Ian Mayor about the five games he thinks everyone should play in 2022.

Assassin’s Creed (Series)

The long-running Assassin’s Creed games do an expert job of picking a point in history and letting you explore it as a vast open-world full of hundreds of stories, from ancient Greece to Victorian London, and many points between. The latest, Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, casts you as a 9th century viking and lets you immerse yourself in the fantasy of that world. Raid, fight, explore, romance – live the viking life and see the viking world. Immersing yourself in a place is something the games medium does better than any other, and the Assassins Creed games are great at it.
£29.99, available on all platforms Stockists regionwide

The Last of Us (1 and 2)
Naughty Dog Games

Developer Naughty Dog have devoted years to making extremely cinematic adventure games with great attention to deep characters and realistic performances. The Last of Us games are horror epics that aren’t for the faint hearted, but the attention to detail, nuanced characters and commitment to scriptwriting and performance make it feel like you’re playing a premium TV show. The Last of Us represents the high watermark of cinematic presentation in games.
£14.99 and £26.99, available on PS5, PS4
Stockists regionwide

Inkle Studios

Overboard! is an Agatha Christie-style murder mystery where you are the murderer trying to get away with your heinous crimes. Set on a 1930s cruise ship, you must try and cover your tracks, persuade, misdirect, seduce or dispose of your fellow travellers before you inevitably reach port to face or avoid justice. Overboard! is a clever game, with a short playtime and lots of different outcomes – worth playing multiple times, it’s a great example of a ‘branching’ narrative game. It’s really pretty too, like a slickly illustrated board game.
£11.39, available on Nintendo Switch, IOS, Google Play, Steam, and Gog

Ludeon Studios

RimWorld creates unique stories as the game progresses. It’s a game about managing and growing an outpost on a hostile planet – every colonist you encounter has a unique personality with different wants, needs and beliefs, and these colonists’ interactions with each other and the hostile world creates an ongoing sci-fi drama. In games I’ve played, characters have had arguments over dinner, a farmer has fallen in love with a prisoner and wildfire has destroyed my colony’s cinema – upsetting everyone. Within this sci-fi management game is an ongoing soap opera you can influence.
£27.79, available on Steam or

Marvel’s Spider-Man (Series)
Insomniac Games

The Spider-Man games from Insomniac are a favourite of mine because, well, it’s hard not to love being Spider-Man: swinging around a beautifully realised, contemporary Manhattan, stopping crimes, helping people and trying to balance Peter Parker’s personal life with battling super-villains. The character of Spider-Man has been around since the 60s and this is a fresh, fun and optimistic take on the character that’s just so fun to experience. The game does some clever stuff too, the world it depicts has its own made-up social media channels that react to what you do, which is an amazing detail for a feature a lot of players won’t even notice. Spider-Man and its sequel Spider-Man: Miles Morales were both great, and I’m hoping Spider-Man 2 will bring something new to the series (out next year).
£22.99, available on PS5, PS4 Stockists regionwide

If you’re interested in narrative design and want to learn more about the video games industry, head to for our interview with Ian Mayor on what it means to be a narrative designer at a high profile video-game developer.

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