I've come at a crossroads in my personal game project, and I'm debating which way to go. Without going into too much detail, the game itself is a turn-based strategy game similar to Final Fantasy Tactics and Disgaea. I'm having trouble choosing between two options, each with its own method of storytelling and character development. Option 1: Storytelling The story would have to be comprised of several decision trees; what you choose to do at one point in the game affects how who you encounter and battle later on. This would still be very linear, but offer several choices and multiple endings. Character Development This would take a more traditional RPG approach; the player would have to outfit each character with a weapon and some accessories for battle. The more enemies you defeat, the more you level up/improve your stats and the easier it becomes to defeat any future enemies. Advantage Much more rewarding in terms of character development and customizable. Disadvantage The story, while dynamic, would still be completely linear. Option 2: Storytelling This would be an attempt to come as close to non-linear storytelling as possible. The player would be able to go to almost anywhere they decide from the very beginning of the game and experience the events in almost any order. Encounters would be very episodic and mostly self contained, but would offer an interesting degree of freedom. Depending on which events you complete before the game ends determines what ending you get. It wouldn't be completely non-linear as I would require certain events to be completed to unlock other, more challenging events. Character Development To keep things from getting too easy or too hard in this case, there would be almost no leveling up and less customizable. Instead, the player would gain experience points that are specific to enemies. For example, if you defeat several goblins, it becomes easy for you to defeat goblins. But defeating goblins would not help you to defeat a dragon. Enemies would be specific to an area. Advantage The story would be incredibly flexible and very non-linear. Disadvantage Character development would be dumbed down significantly So in the end, it's flexible character development versus flexible storytelling. Obviously, each has its own advantages and disadvantages. I'm indifferent to either one personally, so I'm asking around for some opinions and suggestions on the matter.