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#1 Posted by I_smell (3926 posts) -

David Jaffe made a DICE speech that basically said "If you wanna make a game that's all about plot, then just go make a movie."
It got a lot of people riled up about how games would be boring if they took out all the plot, and games like Mass Effect and Dragon Age would just be corridor shooters, and games would become crap. 
 
I read an article today that said THAT'S EXACTLY HIS POINT. If your game, without it's plot, is just a series of QTEs and cover-shooting, then you need to go back and spend more time designing the game. If cutscenes are the "reward" in your game, then just take the game part out.
The point is that giving games bigger stories isn't turning them into art, it's just squeezing the playable part out. There's still a huge depth that we haven't tried yet on the INTERACTVE side of what makes videogames so special, and that's what designers should be diving into.
 
So anyway this is interesting. Part of me agrees with it, part of me doesn't. Just thought I'd throw it out there for everyone else to think about aswel.

#2 Edited by AhmadMetallic (18955 posts) -

It's pretty damn interesting that just when I started dreading story-driven games that provide no GAMEplay to speak of, Jaffe made his speech and the topic got attention. 
 
I'm totally with him. I love a good story, that's why Max Payne is my all time favorite game, but I think the gamer community took the wrong path of asking for book-ish/movie-ish games, that developers today get away with cover-shooting and still get GOTY awards and a good repute.  
 
I enjoyed Postal 3 in the last 40 hours more than I enjoyed most of the "high caliber" games of last year because it focused on giving me interactive pleasure, fun and crazy gameplay that made me smile and feel entertained, not memorable personalities that a movie would probably nail much better than a computer generated cinematic.

#3 Posted by Hailinel (22713 posts) -

No. Games should be however the creator envisions them, story, presentation and all. Saying "Make a fucking movie" is a cop-out answer. You might as well say, "Write a fucking book" or "Stage a fucking play." Different people choose to explore different avenues of narrative presentation in games because it's a medium that allows for a great deal of freeform expression. There's no wrong way to tell a game narrative.

#4 Posted by Milkman (16228 posts) -

Your game can be a masterpiece with amazing characters and an incredible plot but if the game is boring, it's just fucking boring. I love it when my games have a strong narrative but gameplay needs to be the first thought in a developers mind. 

#5 Posted by drag (1223 posts) -

he's so bad at saying what he actually means up-front it's kind of frustrating. jump in with swears and harsh sentences and then refine the point into something that makes sense ... bad way to go about it. as you can see by the responses in this thread already.

standard response every single time ... 'oh who cares about story if gameplay's not there' etc etc. - that's the whole point here, stop separating the two things.

#6 Edited by AhmadMetallic (18955 posts) -
@Milkman said:

I love it when my games have a strong narrative but gameplay needs to be the first thought in a developers mind. 

For the first time in.. 4-5 years? I agree with something you say.   
We play games because of the game play, it's pretty fucking simple, people. You wanna wrap it up in an interesting story with memorable characters? Do that. But don't create a cutscene collection and write pages of lore codex and then add generic gameplay to it, THAT is not a game.
#7 Posted by BjornTheUnicorn (355 posts) -

I think having cutscenes as a reward can be used pretty effectively as a way to warrant people seeing how the games are. Games like Mortal Kombat & Professor Layton do this well, where you do a challenge and then get to see a cutscene as a reward. Even Jaffe's games incorporate this in a sense. What's kind of an abomination is walking 20 feet only to see a 30 second cutscene, walk a bit more and shoot some guys, cutscene, etc.

#8 Posted by Animasta (14460 posts) -

@AhmadMetallic said:

I enjoyed Postal 3 in the last 40 hours more than I enjoyed most of the "high caliber" games of last year because it focused on giving me interactive pleasure, fun and crazy gameplay that made me smile and feel entertained, not memorable personalities that a movie would probably nail much better than a computer generated cinematic.

good to know that I don't have to listen to what you say I suppose :)

#9 Posted by believer258 (11047 posts) -

@Hailinel said:

No. Games should be however the creator envisions them, story, presentation and all. Saying "Make a fucking movie" is a cop-out answer. You might as well say, "Write a fucking book" or "Stage a fucking play." Different people choose to explore different avenues of narrative presentation in games because it's a medium that allows for a great deal of freeform expression. There's no wrong way to tell a game narrative.

Yes but:

@Milkman said:

Your game can be a masterpiece with amazing characters and an incredible plot but if the game is boring, it's just fucking boring. I love it when my games have a strong narrative but gameplay needs to be the first thought in a developers mind.

If your only purpose for making a video game is to tell a story, then it probably isn't going to be a good game. Yes, games should be however the creator envisions them, but that includes the fucking GAME part. That one little tidbit can't just be forgotten when making a video game.

#10 Posted by Aetheldod (3342 posts) -

God damn it .... MASS EFFECT and DRAGON AGE plays fuckin great ARGGGGGGG!!!!!!!!! D:

#11 Posted by ShadowConqueror (2994 posts) -

But I like games like Metal Gear Solid.

#12 Posted by MikeGosot (3227 posts) -
@Hailinel said:
No. Games should be however the creator envisions them, story, presentation and all. Saying "Make a fucking movie" is a cop-out answer. You might as well say, "Write a fucking book" or "Stage a fucking play." Different people choose to explore different avenues of narrative presentation in games because it's a medium that allows for a great deal of freeform expression. There's no wrong way to tell a game narrative.
Well, there's no wrong way to make art but, if you're going to make a videogame, you better use the gameplay part as well. Even if your point is ONLY to tell a story, you need to make the game part good enough. What's the point of making a videogame if you're just going to need the video part?
#13 Posted by Hailinel (22713 posts) -
@believer258 @rebgav @MikeGosot Video games come in many forms, some more interactive than others. If someone wants to make Heavy Rain, or GTA, or Final Fantasy, or Katawa Shoujo, and they make it a compelling experience, then more power to them. If the experience isn't compelling, then that's not necessarily the fault of emphasizing story over gameplay.
#14 Posted by MikeGosot (3227 posts) -
@Hailinel said:
@believer258 @rebgav @MikeGosot Video games come in many forms, some more interactive than others. If someone wants to make Heavy Rain, or GTA, or Final Fantasy, or Katawa Shoujo, and they make it a compelling experience, then more power to them. If the experience isn't compelling, then that's not necessarily the fault of emphasizing story over gameplay.
I never said that. All i was trying to say is: "Game designers should use the game part to make a good experience, a better one."
#15 Edited by mandude (2667 posts) -
@Hailinel said:

No. Games should be however the creator envisions them, story, presentation and all. Saying "Make a fucking movie" is a cop-out answer. You might as well say, "Write a fucking book" or "Stage a fucking play." Different people choose to explore different avenues of narrative presentation in games because it's a medium that allows for a great deal of freeform expression. There's no wrong way to tell a game narrative.

This. Sometimes the best way to put an idea into reality is to ship it inside of an executable file. Those things are going to be called games whether it fits entirely within that definition or not. Live with it.
 
No one is complaining about live concerts not being true to the medium of movies. They are what they are. It is music as experienced through that particular medium in order to showcase it in a different light. The games in question are stories as experienced through a medium with varying degrees of interactivity.
 
Edit: I do agree, somewhat. I would like to see the interactive side of storytelling explored more often, but I think there's already a lot of synergy with how separate they are now, anyway.
#16 Posted by PixelPrinny (1030 posts) -

@Hailinel said:

No. Games should be however the creator envisions them, story, presentation and all. Saying "Make a fucking movie" is a cop-out answer. You might as well say, "Write a fucking book" or "Stage a fucking play." Different people choose to explore different avenues of narrative presentation in games because it's a medium that allows for a great deal of freeform expression. There's no wrong way to tell a game narrative.

Agreed. There's plenty of room in the medium for all sorts of games and ways people tell stories. If there are people who want cutscenes and people enjoy them, then all the power to them. If there are people who want a narrative told through the game play, all the power to them, too. It doesn't have to be one or the other.

#17 Posted by Mikewrestler5 (602 posts) -

I agree.

#18 Posted by ShiftyMagician (2128 posts) -

Just throwing it out there - I would have a hard time calling Dear Esther a game at all as there are no real gameplay elements to speak of (you only walk and interact with nothing), so I wouldn't call it a game. However it works as a 3D visual light-novel and I had a great time with it. There should be more 3D visual novels made if there is an audience that wants stories brought to life in a real-time 3D environment instead of having to play a game to get to the story queues.

#19 Posted by Hailinel (22713 posts) -

@rebgav said:

@PixelPrinny said:

There's plenty of room in the medium for all sorts of games and ways people tell stories.

That's really not the argument. Granted, there is plenty of money to be made by writing a mediocre story and telling it poorly and wrapping it around a crappy videogame. The point Jaffe was making is that it's not a viable or progressive long-term strategy for developers or publishers. If you train people to think that "cinematic experiences" are what videogames are all about then you're going to lose a large portion of that audience to actual cinematic experiences because that medium does it better. It would be an improvement if all parties involved where invested in exploring the medium fully and honing those aspects which videogames are uniquely capable of doing well. As the last decade has proven, relying on external story elements has a detrimental effect on gameplay both in terms of diversity and refinement across the industry simply because it's much more straightforward to scribble down a plot and churn out a few cutscenes than it is to develop a fun and rewarding gameplay system from scratch. People still seem happy to buy those games though, so why change?

Of course, if you like games which are largely just cutscenes held together by filler gameplay it's working out great for you, I'm sure that publishers will continue to pump them out until the end of time or until the bottom drops out.

You're loading the argument by suggesting these stories are necessarily mediocre, poorly told, and appended to crappy gameplay. Sorry, but not all games with strong narrative emphasis are like that, so your losing me.

#20 Posted by Hailinel (22713 posts) -

@rebgav said:

@Hailinel said:

You're loading the argument by suggesting these stories are necessarily mediocre, poorly told, and appended to crappy gameplay. Sorry, but not all games with strong narrative emphasis are like that, so your losing me.

Many of them are. Many AAA titles are years-old gameplay systems in shiny new clothing (and now showing up annually, huzzah!) Many second-tier games are knock-offs and regurgitations of those same titles.

And, for the record, I don't mind if I lose you. I'll take that hit.

And many shitty games are shitty for no reason related to story. So, what's your point?

#21 Posted by Demoskinos (13872 posts) -

Waiting for to show up in the thread.... or well *ahem* his "brother" ;D

Online
#22 Posted by Fajita_Jim (1463 posts) -

I still think Half-Life 2 is the perfect marriage of story and game. The story is there, but you have to pay attention as it's not really told to the player so much as it's part of the environment you're playing in.
 
For instance, no one in the game mentions that our oceans are being sucked dry, but it's obvious if you pay attention to the low water levels, ships and docks well inland, etc. 
 
The only part of HL2 I found difficult to swallow was your first visit to Dr. Kleiners lab. "Oh hello Gordon, been a while. Oh, that silly headcrab. Hey, why don't you just have a look around for a bit while I stand over here and stare at this monitor like I do all day every day, we'll catch up when something exciting happens."

#23 Posted by Animasta (14460 posts) -

@rebgav said:

@Hailinel said:

@rebgav said:

@Hailinel said:

You're loading the argument by suggesting these stories are necessarily mediocre, poorly told, and appended to crappy gameplay. Sorry, but not all games with strong narrative emphasis are like that, so your losing me.

Many of them are. Many AAA titles are years-old gameplay systems in shiny new clothing (and now showing up annually, huzzah!) Many second-tier games are knock-offs and regurgitations of those same titles.

And, for the record, I don't mind if I lose you. I'll take that hit.

And many shitty games are shitty for no reason related to story. So, what's your point?

As I said previously, publishers using story and presentation as the selling point of and the reason for their big titles to exist has proven to be unhealthy for the medium as the current stagnant state of mainstream titles clearly indicates. Many of those titles have poor, mediocre or threadbare gameplay. The focus should be on good gameplay as that is the reason to play a game. That is the point.

That's not fair though. Nier does not have good gameplay, but it still uses it's inherent video gameness to tell it's story in an interesting and compelling manner, and something that could not be done in any other medium

#24 Posted by Hailinel (22713 posts) -

@rebgav said:

@Hailinel said:

@rebgav said:

@Hailinel said:

You're loading the argument by suggesting these stories are necessarily mediocre, poorly told, and appended to crappy gameplay. Sorry, but not all games with strong narrative emphasis are like that, so your losing me.

Many of them are. Many AAA titles are years-old gameplay systems in shiny new clothing (and now showing up annually, huzzah!) Many second-tier games are knock-offs and regurgitations of those same titles.

And, for the record, I don't mind if I lose you. I'll take that hit.

And many shitty games are shitty for no reason related to story. So, what's your point?

As I said previously, publishers using story and presentation as the selling point of and the reason for their big titles to exist has proven to be unhealthy for the medium as the current stagnant state of mainstream titles clearly indicates. Many of those titles have poor, mediocre or threadbare gameplay. The focus should be on good gameplay as that is the reason to play a game. That is the point.

Tangentially, telling a story in a way which embraces the medium rather than aping another medium could be good. More people could try that.

It's not really the story's fault if the developers can't come up with more interesting gameplay, then. The nature of the stagnation has more to do with playing follow the leader with the biggest sellers of the day (i.e.: Call of Duty) than it does with story. And given that Call of Duty is little more than a multiplayer suite appended to a six hour single-player mode that's little more than a series of nonsensically connected action sequences, I fail to see how the narrative is somehow holding that series back when they aren't even investing that much into it to begin with.

#25 Posted by Hailinel (22713 posts) -

@rebgav said:

@Animasta said:

That's not fair though. Nier does not have good gameplay, but it still uses it's inherent video gameness to tell it's story in an interesting and compelling manner, and something that could not be done in any other medium

I don't see how it's valid to say that a game with bad gameplay is a good game. I haven't played Nier, so I can't speak to that specific example.

Because the way it tells its story within the context of it being a video game is top notch, and does things with its story that a movie never could.

#26 Posted by DarthOrange (3498 posts) -

David Jaffe's full of shit. It's impossible to defend him. He is an asshole. That said his games are pretty fun, even if he does sometimes utter nonsense.

#27 Posted by Animasta (14460 posts) -

@rebgav said:

@Animasta said:

That's not fair though. Nier does not have good gameplay, but it still uses it's inherent video gameness to tell it's story in an interesting and compelling manner, and something that could not be done in any other medium

I don't see how it's valid to say that a game with bad gameplay is a good game. I haven't played Nier, so I can't speak to that specific example.

is a movie that has shoddy camera work or bad production a bad movie? is an album bad if it's not produced well (or at all)?

#28 Posted by Slag (3345 posts) -

There's more than one right way to make a great video game.

#29 Posted by Hailinel (22713 posts) -

@rebgav said:

@Hailinel said:

It's not really the story's fault if the developers can't come up with more interesting gameplay, then.

If the developers can't make a good game, don't make a game. Or, keep working at it until you have a good game. Don't wrap a mediocre game in cutscenes, announce it with an expensive CG trailer and then ask $60 for it. If story is all that you have, make a CG movie. Nothing wrong with movies, as far as I'm aware.

What you ask for is not always there for the developers to receive. Making games takes time and money, and developers don't have infinite sources of either. Even Duke Nukem Forever ran out at one point. Also, that a game has mediocre gameplay wrapped in cutscenes doesn't mean that the game is any better or worse with those cutscenes. You can polish a turd all you like, but in the end, it's still a turd. And given that cutscenes are generally worked on by different personnel than the core gameplay in many games, it's not the fault of the people working on the cutscenes if the gampelay isn't up to snuff.

#30 Posted by Napalm (9020 posts) -

I don't really have a lot to add to the discussion, mainly because I already commented on his talk about how he makes good points. All I'll say is that when you want to tell a story in the interactive medium, be sure you remember to make the game part of it compelling. Heavy Rain is the exception, not the rule.

#31 Posted by Animasta (14460 posts) -

@Napalm said:

I don't really have a lot to add to the discussion, mainly because I already commented on his talk about how he makes good points. All I'll say is that when you want to tell a story in the interactive medium, be sure you remember to make the game part of it compelling. Heavy Rain is the exception, not the rule.

Heavy Rain is neither compelling nor interesting

#32 Posted by Napalm (9020 posts) -

@Animasta said:

@Napalm said:

I don't really have a lot to add to the discussion, mainly because I already commented on his talk about how he makes good points. All I'll say is that when you want to tell a story in the interactive medium, be sure you remember to make the game part of it compelling. Heavy Rain is the exception, not the rule.

Heavy Rain is neither compelling nor interesting

Opinions.

#33 Posted by Jay444111 (2441 posts) -

David Jaffe is basically what James Patterson is to books nowadays. A sellout and incapable of creating quality from himself and thus relies on others.

What many people don't realize is that limiting the WAY a story is told because it isn't from video games (ala cutscenes.) or books. (text driven parts ala Nier.) There is literally no wrong way to tell a story. There is only bad stories that create crap storytelling. Sure, some storytelling methods are better than some others. But there literally is no wrong way to do things as long as you have a really solid story to it.

Basically, what I am saying is, Jaffe does not know what he is doing, he is a sellout. Video games can tell great stories however the fuck they please. Limiting that capability is limiting art itself.

#34 Posted by Hailinel (22713 posts) -

@rebgav said:

@Hailinel said:

@rebgav said:

@Hailinel said:

It's not really the story's fault if the developers can't come up with more interesting gameplay, then.

If the developers can't make a good game, don't make a game. Or, keep working at it until you have a good game. Don't wrap a mediocre game in cutscenes, announce it with an expensive CG trailer and then ask $60 for it. If story is all that you have, make a CG movie. Nothing wrong with movies, as far as I'm aware.

What you ask for is not always there for the developers to receive. Making games takes time and money, and developers don't have infinite sources of either. Even Duke Nukem Forever ran out at one point. Also, that a game has mediocre gameplay wrapped in cutscenes doesn't mean that the game is any better or worse with those cutscenes. You can polish a turd all you like, but in the end, it's still a turd. And given that cutscenes are generally worked on by different personnel than the core gameplay in many games, it's not the fault of the people working on the cutscenes if the gampelay isn't up to snuff.

I don't care about the developer's resources, I care about my resources. Sell me a good game and I won't care if the story sucks, frankly. Just don't sell me a bad game based on the "quality" of your non-interactive cartoon sequences.

If a game is being sold on the quality of the cinematics, that's the fault of marketing, not development.

#35 Posted by Yummylee (20582 posts) -

@Napalm said:

@Animasta said:

@Napalm said:

I don't really have a lot to add to the discussion, mainly because I already commented on his talk about how he makes good points. All I'll say is that when you want to tell a story in the interactive medium, be sure you remember to make the game part of it compelling. Heavy Rain is the exception, not the rule.

Heavy Rain is neither compelling nor interesting

Opinions.

Oh Hell Yeah Heavy Rain! *fist-bump*

#36 Posted by Napalm (9020 posts) -

@Abyssfull said:

Oh Hell Yeah Heavy Rain! *fist-bump*

I don't appreciate your sarcasm at this time. D:

#37 Posted by Animasta (14460 posts) -

@Napalm said:

@Animasta said:

@Napalm said:

I don't really have a lot to add to the discussion, mainly because I already commented on his talk about how he makes good points. All I'll say is that when you want to tell a story in the interactive medium, be sure you remember to make the game part of it compelling. Heavy Rain is the exception, not the rule.

Heavy Rain is neither compelling nor interesting

Opinions.

...

obviously? did I need to put IN MY OPINION? I had assumed that was fairly clear; you said that it was an exception without saying that so...

#38 Posted by Yummylee (20582 posts) -

@Napalm said:

@Abyssfull said:

Oh Hell Yeah Heavy Rain! *fist-bump*

I don't appreciate your sarcasm at this time. D:

And I don't appreciate you mistaking my genuine agreement for sarcasm T_T Seriously, I thought Heavy Rain was brill.

#39 Posted by Jay444111 (2441 posts) -

@rebgav said:

@Hailinel said:

If a game is being sold on the quality of the cinematics, that's the fault of marketing, not development.

Jesus, really?!

Here's my position: Make games with good gameplay, please.

What exactly are you arguing in favor of? You seem largely to be in favor of excuses.

Story=Gameplay in importance to plenty of developers anymore these days. No, not just guys like obsidian or anything, But by most game designers other then the hacks who make Iphone games.

Basically, we demanded better story driven games since last gen, we got them and we still ***** about things even though we have had HUNDRED of amazing games with amazing stories told in thousands of different ways.

#40 Posted by PixelPrinny (1030 posts) -

@rebgav said:

@PixelPrinny said:

There's plenty of room in the medium for all sorts of games and ways people tell stories.

That's really not the argument. Granted, there is plenty of money to be made by writing a mediocre story and telling it poorly and wrapping it around a crappy videogame. The point Jaffe was making is that it's not a viable or progressive long-term strategy for developers or publishers. If you train people to think that "cinematic experiences" are what videogames are all about then you're going to lose a large portion of that audience to actual cinematic experiences because that medium does it better. It would be an improvement if all parties involved were invested in exploring the medium fully and honing those aspects which videogames are uniquely capable of doing well. As the last decade has proven, relying on external story elements has a detrimental effect on gameplay both in terms of diversity and refinement across the industry simply because it's much more straightforward to scribble down a plot and churn out a few cutscenes than it is to develop a fun and rewarding gameplay system from scratch. People still seem happy to buy those games though, so why change?

Of course, if you like games which are largely just cutscenes held together by filler gameplay it's working out great for you, I'm sure that publishers will continue to pump them out until the end of time or until the bottom drops out.

Took an extra bitter pill today, did you?

#41 Posted by Napalm (9020 posts) -

@Abyssfull said:

@Napalm said:

@Abyssfull said:

Oh Hell Yeah Heavy Rain! *fist-bump*

I don't appreciate your sarcasm at this time. D:

And I don't appreciate you mistaking my genuine agreement for sarcasm T_T Seriously, I thought Heavy Rain was brill.

I haven't even finished it yet. I just kind of dropped it after I binged on Dead Nation. :D

#42 Posted by Hailinel (22713 posts) -

@rebgav said:

@Hailinel said:

If a game is being sold on the quality of the cinematics, that's the fault of marketing, not development.

Jesus, really?!

Here's my position: Make games with good gameplay, please.

What exactly are you arguing in favor of? You seem largely to be in favor of excuses.

It doesn't really take a genius to figure out that the development teams are generally not responsible for the marketing of their games. They provide the marketing staff with material to use, sure, but it's up to marketing to select how to approach selling a game. If marketing choose to emphasize cinematics in their advertisements, then that's how the game is advertised.

I'm arguing in favor of the developers being able to depict narratives in games as they see fit. It was you that turned this into an argument over how these games are ultimately sold.

#43 Posted by TheDudeOfGaming (6077 posts) -

I guess it's just a matter of opinion, but gameplay is more important than story. But if a game has a great plot, it can't hurt.

#44 Posted by Animasta (14460 posts) -

as long as gameplay is not actively bad or slow or something then I don't care as long as the story's dope

#45 Posted by Hailinel (22713 posts) -

@rebgav said:

@Hailinel said:

@rebgav said:

@Hailinel said:

If a game is being sold on the quality of the cinematics, that's the fault of marketing, not development.

Jesus, really?!

Here's my position: Make games with good gameplay, please.

What exactly are you arguing in favor of? You seem largely to be in favor of excuses.

It doesn't really take a genius to figure out that the development teams are generally not responsible for the marketing of their games. They provide the marketing staff with material to use, sure, but it's up to marketing to select how to approach selling a game. If marketing choose to emphasize cinematics in their advertisements, then that's how the game is advertised.

I'm arguing in favor of the developers being able to depict narratives in games as they see fit. It was you that turned this into an argument over how these games are ultimately sold.

Actually, we arrived there after you kicked the responsibility on down the line from publisher to developer to marketing. If you're not paying attention to your posts I can't imagine that you're reading mine. I think this is a good place to end our pow-wow.

It went well, I thought.

The publisher is generally also responsible for marketing. I'm not sure where you're getting this idea that I'm pushing anything down from. I was never under the delusion that developers always do their own promotion in the first place.

#46 Posted by Napalm (9020 posts) -

@Animasta said:

@Napalm said:

Opinions.

...

obviously? did I need to put IN MY OPINION? I had assumed that was fairly clear; you said that it was an exception without saying that so...

How dense are you?

I have an ulcer and diarrhea. I am leaving. I blame you.

#47 Posted by Hailinel (22713 posts) -

@rebgav said:

@Hailinel said:

The publisher is generally also responsible for marketing. I'm not sure where you're getting this idea that I'm pushing anything down from. I was never under the delusion that developers always do their own promotion in the first place.

Dude, don't waste my time. I understood that you weren't actually following the discussion and I was happy to play along but there does come a time when you or I have to stop replying. That time should be now.

This discussion evolved into several different threads, but mainly:

1. Developers are prone to making bad games regardless of narrative presentation or quality.

2. You mentioned developers should have more time to fix bad games and make them good. I argued that this is not always a possibility.

3. You talked about "selling" bad games by using cinematics. This is likely where the conversation got off track in your mind, because I made the point that development isn't the group that determines how the games are marketed. Whether it's by story or by gameplay or by both, in the end, it's not in the developer's hands, so it's pointless blaming them for something that they aren't responsible for. Even games with excellent gameplay are often marketed with their narratives and presentations rather than the actual gameplay itself.

4. You then countered with "Jesus, really?!"

#48 Posted by TheGorilla (215 posts) -

I think the best example of integrating gameplay and story is in the little snippets we've seen of Bioshock Infinite. I'm waiting to play that game to fully form my new opinion on game stories, but I will say as much as I like Mass Effect that style is starting to get old and really showing its problems.

I don't really like the idea of passive dialogue systems like Mass Effect. It just feels like clicking through a wikipedia page. I much preferred the system in L.A. Noire because of the tension it added to every interaction, although I fully understand that that particular system might not work in most games. Designers need to integrate storytelling and gameplay in a more seamless way.

#49 Edited by dabe (298 posts) -

@Fajita_Jim said:

I still think Half-Life 2 is the perfect marriage of story and game. The story is there, but you have to pay attention as it's not really told to the player so much as it's part of the environment you're playing in.

For instance, no one in the game mentions that our oceans are being sucked dry, but it's obvious if you pay attention to the low water levels, ships and docks well inland, etc.

The only part of HL2 I found difficult to swallow was your first visit to Dr. Kleiners lab. "Oh hello Gordon, been a while. Oh, that silly headcrab. Hey, why don't you just have a look around for a bit while I stand over here and stare at this monitor like I do all day every day, we'll catch up when something exciting happens."

This is good! Valve as a developer seem to understand the importance of diegetic storytelling devices (see: safe house graffiti in Left 4 Dead or Portal's behind-the-curtain Lambda/Aperture stuff). Inferred narrative & diegesis are important facets of game design and generally help to provide grounding/bearing inside a game world.

Edit - I should probably add, referring to Jaffe, that he isn't inherently wrong. A game is a construct with set rules that you interact with. If those rules/mechanics can impart narrative/plot/story onto a player, then that is more effective than simply showing a pre-rendered cutscene (with minimal gameplay reinforcement or context). A marriage of both is perhaps the best way forward.

#50 Edited by Lazyaza (2136 posts) -

He made a completely reasonable and accurate point with his speech during the dice thing I felt, most modern games do rely on story and plot of the film variety to tell stories now, remove that stuff and you barely have a game at all. Games haven't evolved as much as they could have this gen if so many studios weren't obsessed with just trying to be movies. I really hope next gen developers realize this and we get more games that do tell stories but do so through the actual gameplay and interactivity, not cutscenes and awkward "stand still and click a speech option" stuff. Half Life 2 strangely enough still does one of the best jobs of delivering a story in a game simply because you almost never are not still playing the game.