The idea of ludonarrative dissonance feels like one of those concepts that we don’t need to talk more about because all get it. But I offer in this essay that there is value in exploring the idea of this dissonance more, and how games can better embrace the conscious use of ludonarrative dissonance as part of game’s theming.
A common way to make a game’s story seem interesting and urgent is by telling the player they have a limited time to complete it – there’s a ticking timebomb that will cause disaster. But often the use of this timebomb in storytelling creates problems for the gameplay that needs to be addressed. This essay will look at the problem of the ticking timebomb through the lens of how it is used in Cyberpunk 2077.