7 Reasons Why Character Development Is Important in Video Games

In a way, video games are better at telling stories than books or movies. You get to experience events, make important decisions, deal with the consequences, and interact with different characters from start to finish.

This last element is what brings every story to life. Well-developed characters are the pillars of narratives, and this applies to video games, too. If you’re a creator, you need to pay special attention to how you populate your virtual world. Here are seven reasons why.

1. Characters Can Give You a Sense of Progression

A video game can have all sorts of characters, but some are part of the main plot. They accompany you through the story’s stages, ideally while evolving themselves—their narrative, skills, or personality.

The more effective their progression, the more realistic they feel and the more you connect with them as a player. Immersion like this can help you advance through the game smoothly.

Design your title with a link between your character development and the plot’s progress. Small but intriguing connections can do the trick.

Related: What’s the Difference Between Linear and Nonlinear Video Games?

2. Characters Can Inspire Deeper Engagement With Video Games

Determined Man Gaming on Console

Good characters really can hook players like nothing else. Whether it’s first-person shooters or platformer games, interacting with interesting personalities makes the experience a lot more fun.

And we’re not just talking about allies. While companions and NPCs can add plenty of intrigue to the storyline, a video game’s antagonist is no less important.


If they don’t challenge you and compel you to track them down or find out more about them, the story will feel a bit weak. Interesting characters and visceral thrills are even why people like playing scary video games.

So, develop all your important characters with care. Why not draw on real people and ideas that might motivate players? Just make sure your video game’s personalities are engaging enough to keep gamers going.

3. Players Can Admire and Empathize With Characters

One part of video games that usually sticks with players is their favorite character. It could be several. Either way, these fictional people can make a game memorable.

But what inspires players to connect so much with characters? Empathy and admiration are at the top of the list of reasons.

It could be the protagonist or a random NPC. If they have something that clicks with a gamer, then they instantly boost engagement, while making the player think and enjoy the story more.

When developing characters for your video game, give them relatable qualities. But don’t restrict yourself to bravery and kindness. Add wit, cunning, and stimulating backstories. Look at popular antiheroes and what makes them tick.

4. Characters Can Make You Associate Video Games With Real Life

You empathize with a fictional character because they feel real. This, in turn, increases your immersion into the game, letting you absorb more and more details like events, lore, visuals, and so on.

When you return to the real world, you take this information with you as pleasant experiences and memories. But sometimes you find deeper meaning in video games, that makes you look at life differently.

Related: Big Gaming Forums to Talk About Video Games

This is the power of all storytelling, but gaming has a particularly powerful impact. Characters are hooks and guides into each virtual tale, so they play a major part in giving you new perspectives.

As a video game developer, consider what effect your title and characters might have on players. You could design them in a way that teaches something specific and important in the real world.

It’s also worth knowing the facts behind the influence video games can have on people. Read publications like Entertainment Computing’s article on whether realism in gaming triggers violent behavior. They can help design better video games.

5. Video Game Characters Can Teach Moral Lessons

Moral choices are now integral to good video game design. They give substance to plots and contribute to engagement, progression, replayability, and your overall commitment to the story.

Characters are usually the subjects of these moral conundrums. And the more interesting the person and situation, the more you get out of the game in terms of entertainment and personal growth.

To make a moral choice and its elements intriguing, you need originality and to draw on real-life concerns. Explore what people talk about, from ecology to social class. Also, see what other games have already done.

When designing your title, try to weave your lessons into the storyline and its characters. Think about what would trigger them, what their solutions and consequences would be, as well as how all these factors might affect the plot further down the line.

6. Good Video Game Characters Encourage Replayability

We’ve established so far that characters can influence a video game’s immersive quality, progression, emotional connection, and real-life lessons. All of this can make players want to experience the game again, but with different choices.

As for how replayability applies to characters, it comes down to their stories. Companions, NPCs, and villains can have their own subplots. How you resolve them in each playthrough can shape the characters and plot differently.

Person Helping Another Against Sunset

Two more popular factors in character development and replayability are romance and approval. Some video games have storylines that shift depending on who you hook up with and how much other characters like you.

The point of so much detail is giving gamers lots of reasons to replay a title, as well as ways to make each playthrough unique. You can enjoy some video games a dozen times and still feel them drawing you back in. That’s the effect to aim for.

7. Video Game Characters Can Boost Marketability

When developing characters, don’t just think about what fits the plot. The game’s general allure should be on your mind, too. Specifically, consider what your target audience is and how to promote your product.

Awesome characters can take you far in this respect. Their appearance, backstory, and role in the video game can attract people and create interesting marketing opportunities.

Related: The Best Digital Marketing Courses Online

For example, dangle video promos of your spellcasters in action, in front of Harry Potter or Wheel of Time fans. Publish short stories about important characters and link them to your game. Why not make DnD figurines of your most impressive companions?

Put the extra effort into creating fascinating characters and your video game is instantly marketable. All you need to do then is publicize them in smart and fun ways.

Character development is essential to grabbing players’ attention and making a memorable impression, but it’s hardly the only component to a successful video game.

Keep researching the topic and pinpoint what goals to focus on, whether they relate to your title’s overall performance or its storyline. Choose your favorite techniques, as well as the best tools in the industry.

8 Free Game Development Software Tools to Make Your Own Games

Ready to build your dream game? Whether you’ve never written a line of code in your life or you’re a C# expert, these free game makers are for you.

Read Next

About The Author

Leave a Comment