I participate in what’s called a “walkthrough meeting” each week and from a development perspective it is extremely important during the planning process for a game.
Designers use a walkthrough sheet to "map out" the scenes for the game. I would compare the walkthrough sheet as being most similar to a storyboard for a movie; each “scene” is designed and planned out in relation to others, creating a linear storyline.
Every couple of weeks there is a different “player” (Ian from marketing is “playing” right now), and the group (full of artists, testers, producers, designers, scripters…Intern) follows as the player verbally moves through the game with the developer (ex. “Ok, I found the map, now I go and sleuth to find it’s owner…I open the door…. I go do some chores, etc.)
At this point, the developer and the scriptwriter can hash out a players experience before the game is even built, adding the ability to find plot holes and introduce new scenes even before the physical development (art, voiceovers, etc.) begins. Along with puzzle creation and scriptwriting, it functions to develop the overall arching story for a title.
Hmm, I wonder what this walkthrough is for….