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Degrees of nonlinearity

20 May, 2021

The following is a summarized excerpt from the Interactive Plots & Non-linearity section of "Scriptwriting for Games" from the International Game Developers Association.

Degrees of nonlinearity

Stories could be linear or nonlinear. Nonlinear in the context of storytelling or plot is self-explanatory. In video games this would mean that dialog or cutscenes don't occur in a fixed sequence. Nonlinearity doesn't necessarily mean that the outcome will always be different.

The point is the journey, not the conclusion.

Story structures

  1. Linear
  2. Nonlinear
    1. Branching
    2. Parallel Paths (Foldback)
    3. Threaded


Linear structure figure



Branching structure figure

Parallel Paths (Foldback)

Parallel paths structure figure


Threaded structure figure