An interesting article has been posted at Game of Design about procedural storytelling. That phrase is a mouthful, but what it could mean for co-op fans is that the storyline of a game would alter upon different replays, depending on the players' actions. The article springs from a discussion of the AI in the upcoming Left 4 Dead (covered at length here at Co-Optimus) and mentions Diablo 2 in this snippet:
Co-op play increased the challenge a fixed amount, keeping the overall challenge static. But once players had beaten the main game, they would continue playing by teleporting around and replaying the areas that would give them the best rewards, the “replaying game”. Since the fixed challenge throughout the main game is now too easy, the replaying game flow is designed to become player-controlled to accommodate the array of co-op team skills and character levels, despite leading to “farming” and losing all sense of story.And it was mighty fun!
Anything that would add to the replay value of games when played in co-op sounds great to us. So many games are basically unchanged in co-op mode, it can be tedious to replay at times. But if events unfolded differently based on choices made by players, the possibilities would increase dramatically. If the game's AI can handle this, Left 4 Dead may indeed change the way we think about storytelling in a co-op game.