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Twisted Metal Designer Rails Against Storytelling Games 313

Posted by Soulskill
from the are-you-a-bad-enough-dude-to-rescue-the-president? dept.
eldavojohn writes "Twisted Metal designer David Jaffe gave a DICE Summit presentation in which he argued against 'games that have been intentionally made from the ground up with the intent and purpose of telling a story or expressing a philosophy or giving a designer's narrative.' He went on to say essentially that it's a waste of time and resources when the focus should be on gameplay, not story. While some parts of his presentation are warmly welcomed by the gaming community (like his instructions for game execs to get a BS filter), this particular point has some unsurprising opponents. His argument against a 'cinematic narrative' was probably strongest with his comparison to the movie Saving Private Ryan, where Spielberg made the Normandy Beach invasion scene as close to a documentary as possible. The audience could sit back and appreciate that. But if you made a game where the player is in that position of the soldier then that historically accurate imagery and top shelf voice acting doesn't really matter, the only thing the player should be thinking is 'How the **** do I get to that rock? How do I get to the exit?' Is Jaffe right? Have game makers been 'seduced by the power and language of film' at the expense of gameplay?"
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Twisted Metal Designer Rails Against Storytelling Games

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  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Monday February 13, 2012 @04:59PM (#39024357)

    Most of what he's railing against seems to be the heavily cutscene-driven stories in games like the Final Fantasy's and Metal Gear Solid's. He says he actually likes games like Skyrim, by contrast, where the player becomes the story. I personally sympathize with him on that. There have been a few games I've liked that were more cutscene dependent (like the Mass Effect series), but mostly I like to feel that *I'm* the one driving the game, not that I'm just taking occasional control to set up the next long cutscene.

    But this love of cutscenes seems to have gotten crazy-prevalent among Japanese developers in particular since the 90's. Maybe that's just a cultural thing (everything out of Japan seems to be more on-the-rails than their Western counterparts, even the non-cutscene stuff). But those developers are also incredibly stubborn about changing their style. Good luck if you can get through to them. Maybe they'll be more inclined to listen to a guy who mainly develops for Sony. I will say that a few, like Capcom, do seem to have gotten a little more "modern" of late.

    Someone had to say it, though. The cutscenes have gotten way out of hand on a lot of games. At some point you need to decide if you're making a videogame or a movie.

    • by jdgeorge (18767) on Monday February 13, 2012 @05:14PM (#39024581)

      I guess a lot of people will mention examples of stuff that works well (like inFamous, in my opinion). But that's because it's a game with ability to make decisions that affect how the game world responds to you. And it's gameplay-driven, rather than cutscene-driven.

      But the games with stories driven by cutscenes to create narrative are generally boring. Some of these are like an animated movie with some gameplay elements thrown in to drag out the story.

      • by EdIII (1114411) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @01:51AM (#39029363)

        But the games with stories driven by cutscenes to create narrative are generally boring. Some of these are like an animated movie with some gameplay elements thrown in to drag out the story.

        You know I have to strongly disagree. I think there is room for both types of games. I *loved* Twisted Metal. Played the hell out of it, and it did have some cutscenes :)

        I don't think a lot of the Final Fantasy games were boring at all. They did tell a story and the whole point was to grind (which could get boring, but that is not limited to FF) till you could reach a point in the game where you got a new piece of the story.

        However, if you are going to do a narrative type game that tells a story.... make it a *good* one. Without a good plot and talented artists it just falls flat, especially when game play is lacking.

        As for the GP's point about Japan being cutscene driven, I am not really that surprised. It is a cultural thing. Being a big Anime fan, and a fan in general of Japanese games, they do seem to be a lot more oriented on the story. Hell, narrative type games in Japan where you constantly make decisions to affect the outcome of the game are a dime a dozen.

        In the end, I don't think a well made cutscene driven game is boring and is a worthy genre on its own merits.

    • by Dutch Gun (899105) on Monday February 13, 2012 @05:16PM (#39024621)

      I don't understand the fundamental problem with "games that have been intentionally made from the ground up with the intent and purpose of telling a story or expressing a philosophy or giving a designer's narrative." Likewise, I don't have a problem with games that are 100% about gameplay and don't bother with any sort of meaningful narrative or story.

      While I love Skyrim, I also love heavily story-driven games with lots of cutscenes as well (like Uncharted). To me, they're a nice reward and a way to help break up the gameplay a bit. Moreover, it's a fun way of merging my love of videogames with my love of interesting narrative, storytelling, and lore. Also, there are times it's fun to see personalities OTHER than the one you impose on characters in games. In other words, not every game is a Western-style role-playing game where the main protaganist is suppose to be a blank slate. It's entertaining to me when you care about the characters in your story and look forward to seeing the plot develop. Why do people try to shoehorn everything into one box? I think the world of "videogames" is big enough to fit both philosophies quite nicely.

      Frankly, it just sounds like he's a big fan of more free-form worlds in gaming, and is just annoyed that there aren't more Skyrim-like games out there. I agree it's a shame, but if there's a demand for these games, then companies will fulfill that market space, especially as the gaming market continues to expand.

      • by Dr Max (1696200) on Monday February 13, 2012 @05:50PM (#39025107)
        Maybe I'm a bit biased cause I'm all about the game play. Give me a bunch of maps and really clever bots over scripted, one path to victory, invisible wall games with a really clever plot; but isn't it easier to turn an open world free game into a game based around a plot, than the other way around. You can reuse all the open world stuff again and again then improve it and use it again. With plot driven games a lot can't be reused, because too much is depended on having the exact environment and timing as before.
      • by HapSlappy_2222 (1089149) on Monday February 13, 2012 @07:02PM (#39026259)
        I agree. If I wanted a game that goes out of it's way to remove all attempts at having a story, I'd buy something like Twisted Metal (Turismo-Kart with Juggalos?). I *like* to walk the line between "movie" and "game" by taking control of a character and pitting myself against the game's characters, and then being rewarded for my prowess by uncovering the next part of the story (via cut-scene, an unexpected character development, or a new level to explore). I know that I'm not the only one.

        Frankly, I find games that have ZERO story to be trite and stupid - even if the gameplay totally rocks, it's very difficult for me to get absorbed into the game such that I even finish it, let alone play it twice. Notable exceptions are games that are meant to be only multi-player, such as a racing game or a WW2 fps, but for games like, say, resident evil, or the zelda franchise - why would anyone play a game like that without knowing at least a little of the world they're heading into? That seems a silly thing to expect. On top of that, many multiplayer games also have single player story-driven campaigns: Warhammer 40k, Starcraft to name just two franchises. I'd truly hate to see those go, and if they do, it just might be what turns me away from gaming.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ninjackn (1424235)
        I'm glad you mentioned Uncharted because I think it's a perfect example of how pushing towards a movie type of story telling ruins a game. The story telling elements in Uncharted 2 was over used, forced and ultimately broke game play. For example when you first start the game and granted control: you find the main character hanging off a crashed train danging off an edge of a cliff. You start to climb upwards and then BAM a piece of the train breaks off and you loose control to a mini-scene where you watch
        • by Dutch Gun (899105)

          I'm glad you mentioned Uncharted because I think it's a perfect example of how pushing towards a movie type of story telling ruins a game. The story telling elements in Uncharted 2 was over used, forced and ultimately broke game play. For example when you first start the game and granted control: you find the main character hanging off a crashed train danging off an edge of a cliff. You start to climb upwards and then BAM a piece of the train breaks off and you loose control to a mini-scene where you watch him dangle by one hand, he watches the broken pipe fall a long ways down and you're given a scenic views of the snow covered mountains in the distance as he slowly turns himself back around and gets his other hand back on the train. You're then granted control again and this process is repeated a number of times until you finally make it onto solid ground. That ruins the game play for me, I've lost control and was interrupted not because I made a mistake but because the designers wanted it to be more like a movie. Metal Gear Solid 4 while having a million hours of cut-scenes manages not to break game play; when they take control away and show a scene it's because there's going to be a change in game play. If I sneak into a house and they start a cut-scene it's because the gameplay is shifting from sneaking past henchmen to a boss battle. Playing Uncharted 2 I felt less like playing a game with an interactive world with a story to drive that interaction and more like watching a movie that required me to push some buttons.

          Yeah, I specifically mention Uncharted because I think it's the foremost example of the "cinematic game." For me, the cinematic feel of the scene you mentioned didn't ruin anything for me - in fact, I enjoyed the cinematic-style presentation quite a bit.

          Here's the rub: everyone has different opinions about what they like and dislike about games (or just about anything else). What scratches my discs is when someone say: Sorry, your opinion is wrong. Game developers should stop making the type of games you

      • by Spaseboy (185521)

        I think of Uncharted's cutscenes as the story in between the action, just like Indiana Jones. There is a lull in between the action and, um, that doesn't translate well into game play. Otherwise you have a game like Silent Hill where it's like American Football: a bunch of nose digging punctuated by violence.

    • by harl (84412)
      Dead Rising 1&2 (from Capcom) are prime examples of Japanese designers taking things off the rail. It's mechanics driven and the story is completely dependent on what you choose to do, including multiple endings.

      Also it's from an old school Japanese developer, he created Megaman.
    • by na1led (1030470)
      I'm sure if the game is not balanced right, with action and story, people wouldn't be interested in it. So what's his point? He knows better than the consumers?
      • by Dr Max (1696200) on Monday February 13, 2012 @06:17PM (#39025587)
        I don't believe he is arguing the value of a story, only how the story is told. For example (this is probably beyond our current tech) a WW2 game where instead of following captain price everywhere he goes, the entire war is simulated across Europe. Then you and maybe in command of a crack team of soldiers, or cut of from your platoon have to make it across Europe doing as much damage to the enemy forces as possible (you can have a radio to use for guidance but you can go any where or try anything). Suddenly the game isn't about a bunch of made up people running around winning the war single handed because they followed a pre-set path, it's about history, and you can have some fun with it (do you want to try and assassinate Hitler or launch some v2s at Berlin and steal one of the first jet planes).
      • by Johann Lau (1040920) on Monday February 13, 2012 @06:39PM (#39025981) Homepage Journal

        Consuming content isn't playing a game. And many games are exactly about that --- show stuff, don't frustrate the player with any actual challenge, make sure the game can be completed easily if you only really want to. Who cares about the properties of games, like the ability to win or loose them... because hey, you hired 2000 artists, might as well show off their work, right?

        I mean sure, if that's what people want, and other people are actually up for giving that to them, I don't care. It's like bad cinema, exactly like that. Formulaic, shallow, mediocre, and mentally as cheap as they are expensive in terms of money. Bad cinema is firmly established, too, and it doesn't take away from good movies... but that doesn't it's not bad cinema. The only thing people get to vote with their wallets on in this case, is how many idiots there are out there, to paraphrase Immortal Technique haha... but them buying turds doesn't knight those turds.

    • I'll agree that Japanese games tend to be more linear, but that doesn't say anything about whether they are more or less guilty of that offense. In fact, I'd say that in many cases, games with branching plots tend to be more guilty of this, since writing multiple plotlines means more resources are put into cutscenes and voice acting. The only thing worse than trying to make a movie is trying to make 3 or 4 movies, and the illusion of an open but still very detailed world seems to me to be often used to co
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Someone had to say it, though. The cutscenes have gotten way out of hand on a lot of games. At some point you need to decide if you're making a videogame or a movie.

      I wholeheartedly agree. Among the many other fanboyesque reasons I liked FFVII is that it seemed to walk that line. On one hand, you needed some moderately boring exposition to understand certain story elements. On the other hand, you had pretty and/or amusing stuff to look at most of the time. And on the gripping hand, most of the time when you play a JRPG you're running in circles anyway, a little exposition is a welcome opportunity to bite your sandwich.

      I've just bought Septerra Core from GOG, it being o

    • by errandum (2014454) on Monday February 13, 2012 @05:36PM (#39024907)

      And why can't there be both genres? Story driven games with great gameplay? Bioshock is a great example of how to combine both really well.

      If you give games no narrative and only gameplay you're doing Tetris, bejeweled or angry birds. Those are the kinds of games where you spend 10-15 minutes at a time and then leave to do something else.

      But the thing that really defeats his thesis is the commercial success. If there is a market for story driven games (like the millions each Final Fantasy sells) then there a case supporting their development. His personal opinion is that games should have fun gameplay, but I enjoy the Final Fantasy kind of mechanic (I've played them all top to bottom up to the 12th and skipping) and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute I spent on them (even going back and playing some of them more than once and even twice).

      It would be really easy to make a compelling argument that all games should focus on story only, but it'd be highly biased and irrational. There is space for both.

    • I have to agree about becoming part of the story through gameplay, vs cutscenes. Take Bioshock for instance, there was a part of me that related to those Little Sisters as little girls, like I do to my own daughters. It made it practically impossible for me to kill them for their Adam. It was a real emotional struggle, just like a good piece of art
    • Well some games like Final Fantasy the strong story is really a key component to the game and the game play. However I think the issue is that there is an attempt to put a story around all the games where your main goal is to kill whatever moves.

      What I really miss are the Old Sierra Quest games. The non-action adventure game. However if I want to play an action game I really don't need a story to make me want to kill all the guys in the game, just as long as you give me points per guy I have a motive.
      • by medv4380 (1604309)
        I would have agreed with you up until Final Fantasy XIII. That was a clear sign of going in the wrong direction. I want a game with an in-depth story, and 13 gave me a movie with interactive parts which was offensive. Though being offended is my fault since Square came out and said that's what they were aiming for, but, thinking it was just the same typical pregame hype, I didn't believe them.

        I want to believe that David is right, but deep down I still want a story to go along with my games. I just do

    • by Missing.Matter (1845576) on Monday February 13, 2012 @05:43PM (#39024993)

      Most of what he's railing against seems to be the heavily cutscene-driven stories in games... I personally sympathize with him on that.

      I can understand that you might not like that type of gameplay, but there are people out there want different things out of the games they play

      Ultimately, playing a video game is about satisfying some emotional desire. Games like WoW satisfy my desire to manage statistics and give me satisfaction through acquiring items and improving my character. Games like Quake or Unreal are satisfy my competitive desire to beat other players. In the same vein, games like Final Fantasy with long epic cutscenes and deep, involved storylines satisfy an emotional desire to connect with a group of characters, identify with their plight, and see them through to success. Really, the first two items in the list I can do by reading a book or watching a movie. Adding an interactive element makes it seem like I'm the one enabling their success, even though I'm really just along for the ride.

      I mean, let's distill the gameplay of Final Fantasy for a second. You have a group of characters, you find weapons and abilities, and engage in battle repeatedly until a final ultimate battle. How fun would a game be that is purely that? It might actually be reasonably fun... Infinity Blade comes to mind as an example of such a game. But it wouldn't be nearly as good without the deep involved story in there. To this day I remember how I felt watching Aeris die, and that was 15 years ago. I never felt anything close to that beating the 500th level in Infinity Blade. To reiterate my point, I doubt I would have felt the same about way if Final Fantasy 7 was just a movie.

    • by ArhcAngel (247594)
      I'm glad you mentioned the Mass Effect series because that is what got me back into gaming. I had long grown tired of the cut & paste FPS. It's rather ironic since I had not even heard of the game until somebody on a forum called me Garrus in reference to one of my posts. I didn't get the reference so I looked it up. I decided to try the game and I loved it! Despite it's story driven underpinnings it has been very re-playable to me. I have several Shepherds I have played through as. Modifying my play a
      • by grahamd0 (1129971) on Monday February 13, 2012 @08:34PM (#39027095)

        One thing Mass Effect has going for it is that unlike in a Final Fantasy game, the player drives the cut scenes. The interactive conversations were really what did it for me. They finally managed to create a real role playing game on the computer (or xbox or whatever).

        So many CRPGs seem to think "role playing" means "stat advancement", and ME (and even more ME2) threw that out the window in favor of defining who Shepard really was.

  • by noh8rz2 (2538714)
    Jaffee is wrong. Some of the bet games in the past two year have been emotionally engaging narrative-driven. If you ignore the arc of characters and plot, and only focus on gameplay, then you end up in the same box as angry birds. And that box is worth $.99.
    • And they're worth $0.99 because they require less effort to build and most gamers are of the casual type with a severe case of ADHD. Knowing that this is a competitive market and every industry is fighting for a slice of someone's personal time, the fact that there's still money to be tapped in this market speaks volumes.

      Personally, I prefer older games like FF2 and FF3. But I also know that I'm in the minority.

    • Re:Nope (Score:5, Funny)

      by NFN_NLN (633283) on Monday February 13, 2012 @05:14PM (#39024589)

      Jaffee is wrong. Some of the bet games in the past two year have been emotionally engaging narrative-driven. If you ignore the arc of characters and plot, and only focus on gameplay, then you end up in the same box as angry birds. And that box is worth $.99.

      Yeah, that's what was missing from SimCity... 20 minute cut scenes and plot development of the citizens.

      • Re:Nope (Score:5, Insightful)

        by vlm (69642) on Monday February 13, 2012 @05:27PM (#39024771)

        and civilization, and every hex based military strategy (my specialty) and every board and puzzle game (words w friends etc) Also every driving and flying game ever invented.

        Imagine how simply awful Mario Kart would be if you had to sit thru 15 minute cutscenes full of plumber's helper jokes. super mario galaxy was ... pushing the limit a bit of what I can tolerate. Or the awfulness of trying to turn any of the Gran Turismo series into a really poor cinematic reinterpretation of "the fast and the furious"

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          Oh man, thank goodness Nintendo isn't in love with lengthy unskippable cutscenes, because if they were they'd be lengthier and more unskippable than anyone else's. Lots of the games in Wii Sports Resort (for example) have more waiting than playing in them while you're learning them, when it's most frustrating.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by UnknownSoldier (67820)

          You are correct. For the most part gamers don't give a shit about cut scenes or story -- they just want to play the dam game.

          TF2 has the right balance -- there is a back story IF you are interested, but it doesn't keep you from just hopping and blowing shit up.

          There is a time and a place for cut scenes. But for the majority of them they just get in the way. Especially the unskippable cut scenes when you are replaying the game, can't pause it due to interruptions such as kids, food, neighbor, etc. Not tha

          • Re:Nope (Score:5, Insightful)

            by realityimpaired (1668397) on Monday February 13, 2012 @08:14PM (#39026931)

            You are correct. For the most part gamers don't give a shit about cut scenes or story -- they just want to play the dam game.

            You, however, are absolutely wrong. *some* gamers just want gameplay. Some gamers want story. Some gamers want a combination of the two. My game collection, for example, has a few arcade games (Wii Sports Resort, Wii Sports, Mario Kart, and a couple of things on the VC), it has a few strategy games (every version of Civilization that's ever come out for the PC, and a few ancient versions of SimCity), and everything else is story-driven RPG's. The closest thing to a shooter you'll find in my house is American McGee's Alice, and the sequel, Alice: Madness Returns. While those both do have shooter elements, they're both mainly story-driven platformer puzzle games, with the occasional fight to break up the gameplay.

            The problem is, you can't generalize gamers like that. You've got the folks who like games like Halo, and Call of Duty, and you've got folks like me, who won't actually buy a game that doesn't have a story, and you have everything in between. Studios make story-driven games that are essentially interactive movies specifically because people buy them. If they didn't find them enjoyable, they wouldn't buy them. And there is replay value in these games, if you want to enjoy the story again, or if you want to see if there's different ways to solve the puzzles. Heck, I still play through The Longest Journey, even though that game came out in 1999 and had an embarrassingly dated engine even back then. How many shooters do people still pick up 13 years later to play? Isn't the fact that I can look beyond the flaws, many of which have not aged well, and still enjoy the game a testimony to the quality of the product?

        • To be honest though, Civilization had some character. It did start out with the genesis of earth after all, you could build your palace (as sucky as that was, they tried I guess), it had newspaper clippings and music and nations with different emissaries and music... if you stripped all that away, it wouldn't have had quite that appeal outside of hardcore strategy gaming. Or hey, take Alpha Centauri, and the quotes in it.

          Sure, that stuff in both cases was added to a game that had good mechanics. But I can a

          • by Lotana (842533)

            Or hey, take Alpha Centauri, and the quotes in it.

            You are a very evil person.

            It took me years to get back on track with my life after that legendary perfection of a game absolutely consumed me. Now with that single sentence you brought it all back, all the memories that I worked so long to supress. Now I know that when I get back from work and install it, no one will hear from me for months!

            But I will have my revenge on you: Planescape Torment. Play that and you too will be gripped kicking and screaming until you complete it several times over. After that

      • by ILMTitan (1345975)
        I disagree. The brilliance of all the Sims games (most easily seen in The Sims but present even in SimCity) was the way it told a new story every single time. The narrative of going from tiny rural farm town to bustling metropolis is engrossing. Just because a story isn't baked into the game with cutscenes and dialog doesn't mean storytelling was absent from the design.
    • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday February 13, 2012 @05:15PM (#39024611) Journal

      Jaffee is wrong. Some of the bet games in the past two year have been emotionally engaging narrative-driven. If you ignore the arc of characters and plot, and only focus on gameplay, then you end up in the same box as angry birds. And that box is worth $.99.

      Disclaimer: I submitted the story and I am 100% in disagreement with Jaffe and I hope I did his argument some justice in my summarizing. However, nor do I entirely agree with your assertion. Angry birds has turned out much more money (probably) than one of my favorite long running RPG series "Tales of (Symphonia|Vesperia|Xilia|etc)" So by that measure, he's giving sound advice. Angry Birds didn't need cinematic or great voice acting (which he cites to be high budget features of games) so it didn't need to cost more than 99 cents.

      And I can easily cite counter examples to your rule. Every so often a really novel gameplay mechanic comes out. I remember the advent (or at least the advent to me) of real time strategy games like Age of Empires and Warcraft I & II. These were amazing and the plots were pretty much phoned in (hell, one was just history). And if you implement an old gameplay mechanic really well or come out with a novel new gameplay mechanic, you sort of get a free pass on story and cosmetics. Hell, look at Minecraft. Where's the story there? Or even amazing graphics? I beat a dragon at the end and was like ... huh, it really could have done without "the story."

      I sympathize with Jaffe but I don't think we should just have gameplay mechanics. In the end, there's probably a healthy balance and as a former Tetris addict turned RPG enthusiast, I see the benefits of both sides. When a game blends these two things together, that's when you get magic. Currently I'm obsessed with Star Wars: The Old Republic but I can see how that's just not for everybody. I think Jaffe was just pushing back after seeing a focus on gameplay taking a back seat to Hollywood for too long. But either extreme is bad for gaming.

      I haven't written any games but if I had, I would be completely fine with being condemned to "the same box as angry birds."

      • by noh8rz2 (2538714) on Monday February 13, 2012 @05:32PM (#39024849)
        To jaffe's comment on the beach war thing... The player wondering how to get to the next rock. For me, the more important question is why do I want to get to the next rock? What are the character drivers? What is the character trying to achieve?who am I, anyway? Personally, I see vid games as a new frontier in storytelling. Whether you're Ezio, batman, or whoever, it's ALL about story. Otherwise gameplay becomes button mashing.
        • by Kelbear (870538)

          Agreed, people play games in different ways. There was a time when I would take every opportunity to shoot every scientist in the face just to see what would happen.

          But when the game is doing a good job I settle into it. I wonder what my character would be feeling. I look where the game wants me to look, because I want to extract maximum value from the game with the short time I have with it before I get back to work. I'm not always actively looking to break the game. I get that jaffe doesnt like storytelli

      • by errandum (2014454)

        The thing is, Angry Birds is a nice mechanic that you play for 5-15 minutes at a time. And why is that? Maybe because the senseless act of throwing birds at pigs, even though it is fun, it's not engaging enough.

        A good book has no action but it's capable of hooking you for hours at a time. The story is a layer of emotion and it is essential to most games that do not present themselves as depicting some kind of activity (ie. driving, simulation, sports, etc).

        • by Whorhay (1319089)

          What books are you reading that don't have any action? Even my daughters Winnie the Pooh books have action in them. Are you reading technical manuals for entertainment?

          The best stories that I remember from games that I've played are always about what happened or how I overcame something. Not some comically horrible plot twist or generic background expose.

      • by Hatta (162192) on Monday February 13, 2012 @05:43PM (#39025009) Journal

        I sympathize with Jaffe but I don't think we should just have gameplay mechanics. In the end, there's probably a healthy balance and as a former Tetris addict turned RPG enthusiast, I see the benefits of both sides. When a game blends these two things together, that's when you get magic.

        I don't think there is a healthy balance. I think there are many healthy balances. For every combination of action vs plot, there's someone who's interested.

      • by unity100 (970058)

        (or at least the advent to me) of real time strategy games like Age of Empires and Warcraft I & II

        if you think rtses made their appearance with aoe or warcraft i, you are way too young.

        rtses were there before dune 2. dune 2 made rts mainstream. you know dune 2 as command & conquer or red alert now. the franchise is basically the same as it was back in 1993 in dune 2 form.

      • Jaffe is not suggesting that you shouldn't include a story, it is just that you shouldn't sacrifice gameplay in order to tell the story.

        Angry birds has excellent game mechanics, but the game wouldn't have been nearly as successful if you are throwing rocks at a house. The characters, graphics, sounds and story added to the experience making it a more engaging game.

      • by RJFerret (1279530) on Monday February 13, 2012 @06:05PM (#39025393) Homepage

        Nothing gets me button mashing faster than a cut scene appearing.

        If I want to play a game, I want to PLAY the game. If I wanted to watch TV or a movie, I wouldn't be trying to play a videogame!

        After a game of chess, I can tell you the "story" of the game, without any artificial "story" being applied. The inherent stories are awesome.

        I have no objection to other stories being there for people who prefer passive entertainment, but please be sure to include a way to skip past the time sinks.

        (Yes, I too play an MMORG, one with compelling stories to me, that others merrily skip.)

        The market answers these things.

    • by Cidolfas (1358603)
      Also in that box: Tetris, Dwarf Fortress, Minecraft. Many, many more. That's a pretty nice box.
    • Then why don't you just go to the movies. If the point of the game is to slug thru levels just so you can advance the plot, you are just putting yourself under stress just to watch the next chapter, you are not enjoying the game, you are using the stress of the game so you can enjoy the next cut scene.
      If that is the case. Perhaps the next time you rent a movie you setup a timer for every 15 minutes. Watch 15 minutes of the movie when the timer goes off. Walk a mile on a treadmill then go back and watch an
      • Watch 15 minutes of the movie when the timer goes off. Walk a mile on a treadmill then go back and watch an other 15 minutes, you will get the same effect.

        Wait...video game, exercise, same effect...somehow that doesn't sound right.

  • Sure game play is important but so is story. There have been games that had a story I liked so much that I kept playing despite poor or boring game play mechanics. I'm not talking about final fantasy xlvi or what ever either.
    • In such an instance, would it not have been better to tell that story in a film or book? That way you could enjoy the story without suffering the bad mechanics.
      • by vlm (69642)

        In such an instance, would it not have been better to tell that story in a film or book? That way you could enjoy the story without suffering the bad mechanics.

        The dominant subculture has formed where they'd rather die than read a book, no matter how awful the movie. We may be blessed to be living in this era where we can watch a new subculture form, those who will only adsorb culture via video games.

        Personally I think a GTA3 style version of the Old Testament would be kind of cool. Plenty of sex and violence. New Testament would be the obvious sequel. I'm thinking the "no images" thing is going to flare up for the Koran DLC package. Scientology done in a GTA

  • Valve was able to do gameplay AND storyline, and with a silent protagonist, to boot! Nothing's wrong with a great storyline, and developing one is NOT a waste of time and resources.
    • Half-life and the sequel were seen as huge improvements to their predecessors (Quake1 and 2). This was because of two things mainly.

      1. Interactivity: It felt like you could touch the world a little more.)
      2. Story: Not only was the narrative you were a part of better fleshed out, but more importantly, the characters were as well. Most of this story came from the people with you, and not so much what you did.

      FarCry came out and it improved on that a bit. Halflife had very small corridors that you we

    • Re:Do both! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Dahamma (304068) on Monday February 13, 2012 @05:39PM (#39024937)

      Yeah, it's just one developer (who has had success at his limited model) opinion.

      Jaffe's most famous game, God of War, was pretty much the definition of near perfect gameplay for its genre, but had almost no plot to speak of beyond "let's get some revenge!" I got bored and stopped playing about half way though.

      On the other hand, Uncharted 2 (which had a lot of gameplay mechanics borrowed from GoW) had brilliant voice acting and a solid plot, and I couldn't put it down until I finished it.

      In the end video games basically involve starting at a screen and mashing buttons. If they don't give you a decent reason to mash those buttons, you might as well be starting at a wall...

  • ... because there's no going back. No one is going to un-seduce an entire industry. Well... except for consumers refusing to buy and that doesn't seem to be happening. Jaffe was bitching to the wrong audience; if he really wanted to change this, he needs to persuade consumers of his better way.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 13, 2012 @05:08PM (#39024495)

    Story is good, but it has to be worked into the game appropriately. It's very hard to have a game ride on its gameplay alone; you need to give the player a reason to keep playing, a reason to care about the characters involved, a reason to be interested in the world they're playing in. And this can be done well regardless of the ratio of story to gameplay in a game.

    On one extreme, you have a game like Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors: being a visual novel/puzzle game, it's 95% story. But it received rave reviews and was loved by gamers of all sorts, even those who hadn't really played adventure games before. On the other extreme you have games like Portal, which have no cutscenes, few characters, and tell their story entirely through the game as you play it -- and they work too. What doesn't work is shoehorning the story in, as if it was some kind of thing the designers reluctantly had to check off on the list of required features.

    • > It's very hard to have a game ride on its gameplay alone; you need to give the player a reason to keep playing, a reason to care about the characters involved, a reason to be interested in the world they're playing in.

      Total bullshit. Counter-examples.

      * Tetris
      * Marble Madness
      * Minecraft
      * TF2

      There is a time and a place for story, but not every fricken GAME needs a story.

  • Games swayed way too much to the 'long narrative' side. Every other game is a narrative now. in between the narrative, either a platform game mechanic, a fps mechanic, or a mmo mechanic is squeezed in. yes, there are good games in between these, that work. like swtor. or kotor. but, most do not cut it.

    first of all, almost all potential narratives that can be told have been told in almost all of the genres. really, how many times you can save a fantasy medieval land from dragons. or, what kind of different w

    • first of all, almost all potential narratives that can be told have been told in almost all of the genres. really, how many times you can save a fantasy medieval land from dragons. or, what kind of different world-shattering dangers can a fantasy medieval world can have. they all started repetition.

      In this fast paced platformer RPG set in a medieval world where magic-meets-steampunk our protagonist has been badly injured when Cyborg Raiders ransacked her home and killed her parents. Facing foreclosure of her inherited property due to her inability to work, she decides to take up a crazy inventor's proposition have her wooden peg-leg replaced with a cybernetic ethereal-piston driven leg which allows her to leap tall buildings in a single bound, skate short distances at great speeds, and much more thr

  • by wierd_w (1375923) on Monday February 13, 2012 @05:09PM (#39024503)

    I would say that his advice applies in some circumstances, and not in others.

    For instance, I refuse to play a "serious" game that doesn't have a compelling story. I avoid FPS for that reason, for the most part.

    Better suggestion: don't overspecialize. Don't overexert one part of the game's development to permit somebody on the team to produce "their opus".

    A good game is engrossing, and a good story helps with that. A good game is enjoyable, and good gameplay helps with that. Sacrificing one for the other does not improve the final product. If you focus too much on story, and your gameplay sucks, people will hate it. If you focus on gameplay and ship a terrible story, people will only play the multiplayer or freeplay modes.

    Balance the work, and make a "good" story with "good" gameplay. Don't fixate on "epic story" or "rivetting gameplay", at the expense of the other. Similarly, don't forcefeed the player wasteful eyecandy. If you do, you end up making "the phantom menace: the game!", and people will hate it.

    "Good" and "balanced" is the key.

    • I agree. If you're following some artificial formula that someone says will make a good game no matter what, you're not making a good game. The game should develop how it should develop.
  • Track ride (Score:5, Informative)

    by Animats (122034) on Monday February 13, 2012 @05:10PM (#39024519) Homepage

    He's railing aginst what, in the industry, is called a "track ride". The player does A, then B, then C, with obstacles along the way. At one time, that was due to technical limitations; building a big free-play world was out of reach. That hasn't been the case for a long time now. Good large-scale free-play worlds like the GTA series have been very successful even as single user games. MMORPG games are big open worlds by necessity.

    To some extent track rides are coming back, because of the tiny screens on mobile. Angry Birds is a track ride.

    Big, open worlds are expensive to build, because a big, interesting world has to be built and populated. Track rides can be cheaper, because there's no need to build the parts of the world that aren't on the track. This may be more about economics than story.

    • by Dahamma (304068)

      He's railing aginst what, in the industry, is called a "track ride". The player does A, then B, then C, with obstacles along the way.

      Don't know if I agree with that summary. David Jaffe created God of War, in which not only does the player go on a track ride to do A then B, then C - THEY LITERALLY PRESS A then B then C to do it! (oh wait, it was a PS3 game... make that X then SQUARE then CIRCLE ;)

    • The player does A, then B, then C, with obstacles along the way.

      And I would argue there's nothing wrong with that. It's just an interactive story. Stories have been told as long as humanity has communicated, and they have taken all kinds of forms. Given the reader (or in the case of video games the viewer) a choice in the story deepens his or her engagement in it, even if the choice is superficial.

    • by eyenot (102141)

      I think you're absolutely right; I interpreted TFA & the poster's comments the same way. It isn't storyline that is disturbing, it's a reliance on storyline as the majority of a game's content/presentation that kills the gaming, and that's disturbing (since so many, successful, low-budget game producers are doing just that, as you point out).

      I think Dragon's Lair had the formula somewhat right for the most part -- it's a track ride, but, you could screw up and get a funny animation instead of progressin

  • by brain1 (699194) on Monday February 13, 2012 @05:10PM (#39024521)

    Sorry I have to disagree with Mr. Jaffe. A good game is like a good movie. You become immersed in it for hours. And it should always have an excellent single player version which, in my experience, on many top titles is severly lacking. Too much "Call of Duty" and "Battlefield" type play is out there and it's primarily geared towards selling copies for multiplayer. As someone who really treasures the immersion and cinematic flavor of a good single-player shooter, I refuse to invest my money into something we used to call a "twitch game." It becomes boring as all you do is run and try not to die. You don't get to really experience the game.

    • by Seedy2 (126078)

      I kind of like to run and gun sometimes, but CoD is pretty much limited to:
      Game starts,
      people run for their favorite glitch,
      people camp their spots until killed,
      rinse,
      repeat.
      (profit?)

      Sometime people fight over the same spot, that can be fun.

    • Infocom's Sorcerer
    • Infocom's Deadline
    • Wing Commander (multipath storyline, but there was a fixed number of paths)
    • Wing Commander 2
    • Frontier: First Encounters (the storyline was optional, but it was there)

    I honestly don't see anything wrong with any of these games. I regard them as exceptionally good for the time.

    • by retchdog (1319261)

      it's also not clear where Amnesia: The Dark Descent would end up. you can ignore the storyline completely and still have a very good game (especially good when you consider that, mechanically, it's actually just a bunch of fetch quests and easy puzzles). the storyline, nonetheless, is quite compelling if you bother with it, and it is actually pretty hard to ignore completely.

  • To me, he's crossing genres.

    There are some that thrive on the hand given story. They don't want to be creative, they just want to blow some sh^%$ up! Twisted Metal was one of those games, and at the time was an exceptionally made one. Similar to Unreal Tournament, you get things designed for you and play on maps designed for you. That's not to say no skill is involved, but you don't have to be creative on solutions. Aim well, drive well, learn the maps, and get high scores. Those games are great, but

  • That tends to be the solution I see most often to narrative boring crap. He has a point, how many of you skip ahead?
  • There's been a few very interesting takes on this really old (in terms of how long games have been a field with discussion) argument in the past few weeks:

    My favorites:
    http://www.raphkoster.com/2012/01/20/narrative-is-not-a-game-mechanic/ [raphkoster.com]
    http://whatgamesare.com/2012/02/the-narrative-vs-mechanics-circus.html [whatgamesare.com]

    My personal take? I'm a grad student working on procedural narrative, hacking the cognitive loop of story building players go through during play. So... I agree with Jaffe? It's really much more o

  • by stephencrane (771345) on Monday February 13, 2012 @05:15PM (#39024605)
    Go play Breakout. Or Super Breakout, if you need the flashbang. Want an audiovisual literary development with some level of interactivity? Play Planescape, Dragon Age, Bioshock, Fallout 2, KOTOR, etc. You can hate cut-scene-heavy games and still get great narrative. My personal opinion is that cut-scene segments are a bit of a cheat to get there if you're using them for all the heavy story lifting.
  • Story is fine, rails are not. Unfortunately it's difficult to enforce your story if you don't have rails up. (Difficult doesn't mean impossible.) One of the things that story helps with is giving the character a goal.

    On Omaha Beach, it helps to know WHY you're fighting this battle, and what you can expect on the other side. However, as soon as you tell me I can't walk "other there" instead then I could care less about your silly story.

  • I think that is precisely what I like about Twisted Metal is that it does not really tell a story. The violence is almost cartoonish. I really liked the original one with that clown van. It was hysterical.
    • The characters in Twisted Metal have their own stories behind them which makes the game more engaging.

  • It depends on what you're shooting for. Trying to cram a story onto a game is bad.

    But, I do love games that strive to tell a good story - Metal Gear Solid 4 comes to mind. Great game, but practically a very long movie.

    Why not use the tools you have available to you to tell the story you want? 3D is here to stay, and, as has been shown by increasing usage in film, it's certainly capable of telling a good story.

  • Some games I play for the story, sometimes for the game play.

    For example.. Call of Duty, I rarely play the story mode, just jump straight to multiplayer. However, Gears of War or Uncharted I play for the story. I don't think you generalize and say the focus should be entirely on gameplay.

  • by Missing.Matter (1845576) on Monday February 13, 2012 @05:24PM (#39024723)
    Remember the old Sierra adventure games like King's Quest and Space Quest? Most of what made those games fun was the fact that you were being told a story. The puzzles were fun in their own right, but hardly ever had any deep relation to the plot at hand. The only real reason for completing them was to advance the storyline. Those games could have easily been published as printed stories, but they were more fun with the animated characters, beautiful scenery, and (in later games) voice acting.
    • Colonels Bequest was a fine example of such. I played that game for years, and still to this day I find different ways to advance the story, which changes who is shown in the protagonist/antagonist light.
  • Awww, you don't like the way other people are developing their games?

    Tough shit, do things your own way and let the market decide; and stop whining.

    Some of us aren't exactly serious gamers and spend less than 5 hours a week playing video games.

    But that's the wonderful thing about the video games, if you don't like a game, you don't have to play it.

    I don't have skyrim, and don't plan to get it.

    And with conceited attitudes like that, don't expect me to play twisted metal either; there are plenty of other game

  • Games without a plot are all basically Pacman, and wear out pretty quickly. If there's no sense of progression, it just becomes tedious.

    Then again, maybe he has a point. Things with an actual story don't seem to sell these days. Just look at the biggest movies of any given week.

  • by tverbeek (457094) on Monday February 13, 2012 @05:31PM (#39024841) Homepage

    I'm not a gamer, but as a comics reader and creator, I often see this sort of issue raised in terms of comics, which is another medium that sometimes tries to emulate other media (especially film). Gaming is its own thing. It's fine for it to borrow from other media (including film and comics), but it shouldn't try to be the same thing. Just as comics draws from the visual language of film, the narrative language of prose, the expressive language of art, and so on, so can games. But they should always be free to do things that other media cannot, because... that's the point of it being its own medium.

  • by Sir_Sri (199544) on Monday February 13, 2012 @05:36PM (#39024911)

    Some games are interactive cinema, some are interactive worlds, some are freeform (i.e. sandbox), some are on rails.

    You can't rail on super mario for being too linear. The whole point is that it's a linear experience. You can argue, correctly I think, that some games can be a bit too story, or a bit too open, or at least in some ways.

    In Star wars, the old republic MMO you have this very concrete story line that runs *you* through all these planets and so on. That works well until the point where you hit level cap, and every other sith/jedi you see is a member of the small elite dark/jedi council, and you are into the actual business of an MMO which is the hampster wheel of gear progression and finding stuff to do every day. It's so linear to start, the entire thing, that when you get to level cap it's a jaring experience to not having 4 quests in your log for the next hub and somewhere to go.

    Skyrim is an example of a bit too open. There *is* a plot there. But you can almost completely miss major portions of it, and you can't realistically see major plot differences without multiple play throughs of an easily 80 hour game. That *can* be good, but it's so big and vast that you have almost no sense of how alternate versions would play out (think the civil war story line that runs along with the rest of the game). And there's huge parts of the world you can easily miss (the giant underground area for example) even if you are spending a lot of time exploring. You might just find these little elevator you can't get into, which unlocks a whole other world, or just a room with a free sword, and you don't know differently, and you just move on, never knowing what you missed or what you could have done to find it.

    Both of those are very nitpicky examples to try and be illustrative with current games. I think as an industry we have discovered that most of the time people want a compelling story or plot that they can play through, and that sort of sits on top of their playing in big open worlds. For every Skyrim or WoW or SWTOR that people have they also want some CoD's, some Uncharteds,and some Mass Effect's. There's room in the market for everything, and when you're competing for gamers time more than money you don't really want to sell them a game they can't play. You can bet big, and win, like skyrim, which is also the 5th in a series, but you could also bet big and have no one know who you are (Divinity II: Ego Draconis).

    • by Kharny (239931)

      Swtor is the prefect example of overkill in this, huge storytelling cutscenes for even the smallest quests, which made me skip more and more of the dialogue.

      Worse was that there was very little real change in the storyline, no matter what you chose to answer.

  • I agree (Score:4, Insightful)

    by HaZardman27 (1521119) on Monday February 13, 2012 @05:36PM (#39024917)
    Games are meant to be played. Watching a cutscene is not playing a game. As one of several metrics, I judge the quality of a game by its level of interactivity. If I am not controlling the story, even if it is as simple as making story decisions like in the Mass Effect and Witcher games, then I am only an observer of the story. In that case, movies and books are much more effective mediums for telling a story. The whole point of automated games is that the level of interactivity can be increased without the player needing to worry about the implementation (such as you would need to do in pen-and-paper RPGs like DnD or GURPS). This is precisely the reason why I don't enjoy JRPGs - to me they simply feel like a very tedious and drawn-out way to watch an anime.
    • by Hatta (162192)

      As one of several metrics, I judge the quality of a game by its level of interactivity.

      That might work for a personal metric, but I wouldn't take game recommendations for you. Some people like punctuated interactivity.

      In that case, movies and books are much more effective mediums for telling a story.

      But movies are dreadfully boring. I like stories, but 90 minutes of nothing to do is too much. I can't remember the last time I watched a movie and didn't find myself checking the time halfway through.

      Games,

  • Omaha Beach (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Hatta (162192) on Monday February 13, 2012 @05:39PM (#39024935) Journal

    Medal of Honor was created by Steven Spielburg, who directed Saving Private Ryan. Accordingly, the assault on Omaha Beach in MoH:Allied Assault is the closest thing I've seen to Saving Private Ryan in game form. And you know what? It works extremely well. That is still one of the most compelling game sequences I've ever played, some 10 years after the fact.

  • He said games have been enjoyed by people for millennia, and that there's no real history of injecting story and emotion into games with really successful results.

    Of course, the history of virtual reality is only a few years. We make our VR entertainment game centric to give it purpose and structure, but it truly is a whole new area.

  • by 0123456 (636235)

    One of the reasons I stopped playing many games was because they started making me spend more time in cut-scenes than gameplay, and forcing my character to do things that I would never have done in order to advance the story in the direction they wanted to force me to go. Not only that, but the three-hour-long cut-scene would be created by frustrated wannabe movie director who was a wannabe because they had no clue about how to cut a movie scene, with random cuts between shots and dialog that gives me the s

  • I have an opinion! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by thefixer(tm) (1906774) on Monday February 13, 2012 @05:51PM (#39025119)
    Had to speak up here. Games that don't focus on plot become repetitive and thin. I like Gears of War, I like Vanquish, but at the end of the day you're repeating the same challenges that just increase the difficulty and put a spin or twist on the next level's boss.

    I bought an Xbox the day Halo came out, played it all night and beat it by noon the next day. I was CONSUMED by the whole experience. There was a reason WHY I was there killing all those aliens, I felt I understood my character, but most of all, I felt like the days of repeating boring levels that just get a little harder and a little different were over.

    The first game I ever beat was Zaxxon, flipped the score back when I was wearing wooden underwear and riding around on dinosaurs. It was fun, when I was 8 or 10. Then I grew up. And funny thing, the games that consumed me in junior high were the games that were all plot. Bards Tale, Wizardry, games that dropped me into a world of fantasy and told me a (good) story along the way.

    Today, I have a family, job, other obligations and I only get to play games occasionally. What I choose to do with that time isn't about killing the next boss, it's about the journey through the whole world.

    Right now, the few precious moments I spend on video games is in Fallout New Vegas. And while I'm sitting there in my comfy couch with my giant screen and my awesome sound system, the only thing I'm thinking is "What happens next?"
    • by 0123456 (636235) on Monday February 13, 2012 @05:55PM (#39025201)

      Had to speak up here. Games that don't focus on plot become repetitive and thin.

      My three years of playing Unreal Tournament would disagree with you. In fact, I'd say quite the opposite: games which _do_ focus on plot become repetitive because _the plot is the only thing you can do_.

      Or do you think that the NFL should introduce a plot into football games so the audience don't get bored of the repetitive gameplay?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by thefixer(tm) (1906774)
        Different category entirely. UT and Quake are games you play against other humans. Same applies to sports games against people. People are infinitely diverse, so if you play a person, you get infinite diversity. Now Madden NFL, and the real NFL...like to admit it or not, has plot. You pick a team, play a game or a season differently and you will get a different season. Your season's and games change every time you play. The game would be phenomenally boring if it was the same every time you played it
  • This strikes me as something similar to what the Sims creator said. And I'll say the same thing I said to that one.
    We get it, you lack a critical element to draw people into your game, just shut up and go back to your corner.

    Personally? While I do like the more story-lighter games as opposed to the story-heavy games, games with little to no story drive me nuts.
    Especially so with games which have the same "Go kill stuff" as the objective over. and over. and over.
    I'm not a fan of mindless violence. I pr
  • David Jaffe of all people is criticizing story-driven video games. Keep in mind that this is the guy who thinks that tits and ultraviolence are basically all you need to make a game compelling. Keep putting your closeted fratboy fantasies on display all you want, but don't bitch when the rest of us decide to keep playing in the big-boy pool, OK, David?

    Rob

  • While some games have good stories, it is very rare. Most of the time a story is put in because the designers feel they have to do some. Most games would, in fact, be better off if the effort was put into the actual gameplay. That doesn't mean games with stories are inherently bad, but shallow stories are all too often just disguises under which you are sold the exact same thing.

  • The real issue... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by blahplusplus (757119) on Monday February 13, 2012 @06:08PM (#39025449)

    .... is hardware power allowed computers to create graphics that allowed cinematic elements to take over and because we as gamers love both cinema and games we are now highly confused consumer base when it comes to games. I admit to being spoiled by the likes of Call of duty 4 and mass effect but even I know that the awesome hollywood cinematic aspects do detract and take away resources from the game. Where we are just playing the same games with different stories and the gameplay isn't going anwyhere.

    I still look at high watermarks for gameplay in Quake 3 and UT2004 and see that gameplay has frozen in time, instead of explore new game modes. Gamers have become satisfied with a basic level of gameplay and just swapping out models and narrative. Lets be honest we are all guilty here to some extent. No one really escapes and Jaffe is correct that story should serve gameplay.

    Just because computers now have the hardware power to render cinematics and hollywood special fx doesn't mean they should dominate. Let us remember games like civilization 1 for instance. A game you can come back to and play many times. Most modern games completely lack the replayability element anymore because they are so cinematic focused. We've come to substitute gaming with a cinematic experience and it has had negative effects on games since there are not enough resources to go around so publishers and developers have to pick what they think will get them the most sales (hollywood or gameplay?) most go for shoving story into the game and cutting back on gameplay since most gamers are now older and don't really like gameplay anymore (it's true lets face it, whenever you hear and old codger complain about 'grinding' in an RPG or repetitiveness in battle systems, that's you decrying gameplay).

    Another real issue is many modern gamers don't want to be challenged. It's too easy for all of us (and we've all done it) to be passively awed by the audiovisuals for that brief moment of stimulation but then you never pick up the game again. How many modern games have you actually replayed or gone back to? After the cinematic experience and rush is over you rarely go back. I still go back to older retro games from time to time.

    I remember when replayability used to be front and center. Older gamers prefer more story driven games and less gameplay because they have 1) less energy and 2) are time constrained so they perceive marathon sessions as a 'waste of time' and 'grinding' because now they are part of the rat race. But there is still an element of them having 'grown out of' gameplay.

    I am one of those people for who the last 10 years of gaming has been complete creative loss. I'm gameplay guy first and I positively hate the dumbing down of games to insert story and narrative and "the awesome button" where challenge and interactivity has been stripped away. You can especially see this in Deus Ex human revolution. I went and replayed Deus Ex the original before playing HR and I really do miss the gameplay first approach. The world in the original DX was just so much more compelling as a game despite it's aged graphics.

    Modern games try to cater to all audiences and the easiest way to do this is just copy/paste from hollywood given the expensive nature of modern game development.

    I think most people misunderstand Jaffe's argument, he's not saying story can't be done well or that games shouldn't have stories. But the story of a game should be in service to the gameplay. What a player is doing 90% of the game should take precedence over passive elements that are one time only (story/cinematics). There are only so many times you can watch a cinematic, but you can always replay a game like Civilization or alpha centauri and be sucked right back in and that's totally missing from our modern AAA hollywood infested games.

    They are entertaining no doubt about it, people get emotionally attached the properties and characters. But lets' be honest shall we? We won't be saying "just one more t

  • Half the reason I play Starcraft 1 & 2 is for the story line. Does that mean they compromised on gameplay?
    Same goes for Diablo 2
    A game needs both a story line and good gameplay. The problem is game developers compromise one/both of them for release dates and budgets.

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