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The Decline of Fiction In Video Games 197

Speaking to Eurogamer, art maestro (and visual design director of upcoming stealth/action game Dishonored) Victor Antonov put into words what many gamers have been feeling about the gaming industry of late: "It's been a poor, poor five years for fiction in the video game industry. There have been too many sequels, and too many established IPs that have been ruling the market. And a lot of them are war games. And they're great projects and great entertainment, but there's a lack of variety today. So, when you step out of this established genre, people cannot grasp it, or the press tries to find a match. ... We were always waiting for the next generation of great worlds or great graphics. Well, great graphics came; the worlds that came with these graphics are not up to the level of the graphics. ... Games should sort of split up and specialize and assume that there's such a thing as genre, and they shouldn't try to please everybody at the same time and try to make easy, diluted projects. Let's go for intensity and quality."
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The Decline of Fiction In Video Games

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  • BS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland&yahoo,com> on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @06:34PM (#40691565) Homepage Journal

    there have been many great stories. And there is no reason a sequel can't also be a great story.
    Skyrim, Uncharted, Max Payne, Portal, Portal 2, Half-life EP 2, Dragon Age. ON and on.

  • Re:BS (Score:2, Insightful)

    by 0123456 ( 636235 ) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @06:41PM (#40691635)

    Stories in video games suck, at least when the game tries to make me care about them. When I'm playing a video game, I don't need to know why the bad guys are the bad guys, I just need to know where they are.

  • by heptapod ( 243146 ) <heptapod@gmail.com> on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @06:45PM (#40691673) Journal

    One of the bad aspects of modern gaming is games becoming interactive DVDs. Press X, beat the bad guy and earn the privilege of watching a half-hour cutscene that tells you to press O to defeat the next boss to watch the next cutscene.

    Create games that are engrossing with gameplay and don't require much of an investment on the behalf of the player.

  • by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @06:49PM (#40691715)
    Where was the rise of fiction in video games? We look at the previous generation with rose-tinted glasses by ignoring all the crap games and just looking at the gems.

    Every generation complains about the same thing: too many sequels, not enough original properties. I mean, 5 years later we will be looking back and looking at this generation with longing.
  • Re:BS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jhoegl ( 638955 ) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @06:53PM (#40691773)
    Some people are chess players, yet others play checkers.
  • This is cyclical.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ArcadeNut ( 85398 ) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @06:55PM (#40691791) Homepage

    Happens to every platform of gaming. Arcade Games, Consoles, PC's, etc...

    In the early days of Arcade Games, every game was unique (Asteroids, Donkey Kong, Pac Man, Robotron). As games stood out as top money makers, they started emulating them. Why risk a new idea, when an existing one is close to a sure thing? The longer the platform is around the less unique the games will become. Go into any modern Arcade (that is still open), and you're going to find that 90% of the games fall into Drivers, Fighters, Shooters. With maybe a couple games outside of that.

  • by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @07:05PM (#40691879) Journal

    The real shame is the decline of the adventure genre, which derived from interactive fiction, which was all about story. The best adventure games told stories through their gameplay, with puzzles making sense within the plot, and advancing the plot through the solving of puzzles. If you want to see how to tell a story though a game, go back and look at games like Secret of Monkey Island, Loom, Quest for Glory, or Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers.

  • by wierd_w ( 1375923 ) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @07:20PM (#40691987)

    While I *do* get the joke, (no whooshes please, it's lame.) This is a false comparison.

    You are compairing "superfiscial plot with sparkly graphics: then" with "superfiscial plot and sparkly graphics:now".

    You should compare "text mode story adventure game" against "pac man", and "massively open ended plot games, like daggerfall (mid 90s, has different, but related endings)" against "doom and duke nukem".

    As the article points out, there aren't many of the "story focused" games out there. He pines for "text adventure" narrative depth, but with "wow, the boobies jiggle when she walks!" Hyper-realistic art assets of the gutless shooters and flat fantasy titles.

    He is lamenting that you don't see both together.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @07:26PM (#40692039)

    Of course just like people watch porn...for the story.

  • by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @07:35PM (#40692115)
    Because a good story can make the game a lot better, it can't make a crap game good, but it can turn a solid game into a legendary game.

    Look at Final Fantasy VII, the storyline is what really made it all fit together.

    Some games need no storyline to make it fun, for example, no one really questions why blocks are falling from the Soviet skies in Tetris, they just are. Same with Team Fortress 2. On the other hand, take away the story from most RPGs and adventure games and you are just some guy running around the world. Its a lot better to feel like you've just saved the world than it is that you just mowed down a bunch of enemies.
  • by ATMAvatar ( 648864 ) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @07:49PM (#40692255) Journal
    Agreed. That's why I ended up snagging the Quest for Glory and Space Quest series games over at gog.com [gog.com]. It's dirt cheap to get the older games - definitely worth the money if you aren't particularly stuck on state-of-the-art graphics.
  • Re:BS (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Agent ME ( 1411269 ) <agentme49@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @11:05PM (#40693665)

    I've played the game "Shoot the cyberdemon until it dies!" plenty of times. I'm more than just a bit tired of those games honestly. A game that makes me care about its characters gets a lot of my attention.

  • Re:BS (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MikeBabcock ( 65886 ) <mtb-slashdot@mikebabcock.ca> on Thursday July 19, 2012 @12:28AM (#40694105) Homepage Journal

    Heavy Rain is a fantastic example. But then again, I also thoroughly enjoyed FEAR2 for the semi-hidden documents along the way that explained the back-story of what was going on. There was actually a lot of thought put into it. I say FEAR2 because the first and third were a lot less well flushed out I found.

    In fact, if I'm going to play a good game that tells a good story and is fun and looks and sounds great, in general its a PS3 game like Heavy Rain, R&C, Uncharted ... I'll throw a bone to Metal Gear, Final Fantasy, and God of War too.

  • Re:Fixed URLs... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday July 19, 2012 @03:07AM (#40695015) Journal

    Man, wasn't that nice, to have bad guys that weren't tarded without having to deal with online cursing little shits? While Fear 1&2 were more buttoned up you should try the expansions for Fear 1, they had some nice levels where they could really get behind your ass if you weren't careful. the rooftop was a good example, where the Arma troops had 4 different ways they could go and would lay down fire while one snuck around to cap you in the back, just damned good.

    Here is a little title by a little company you've probably never heard of but if you like a challenge, and I don't mean that lame "all grunts take more bullets than the terminator while having perfect aim" crap look up a little game called "Nosferatu: The Wrath Of Malachi" or something like that, I always just called it Nosferatu. Its 1901 and you have to go into a castle to rescue your family from a hoard of vampires.

    The cool things about this game is 1.-Forget memorizing jack shit as EVERYTHING is randomized. A room that may have been a ballroom with a servant might be a bedroom with a hellhound the next time, it even randomizes between saves so you might have to reload a time or two if you respawn knee deep in the shit! 2.- How do you think that YOU, a normal human, would do against a real vampire? Welcome to Nosferatu where you are NOT a 6 foot 300 pound linebacker but an ordinary man. with the holy water and the cross or 6 shot you can fight off a minion, it'll be a decent fight but it can be done relatively easy, but you walk into a room and there is some Masters in their coffins? Your ass had better be able to sneak in there, get them lids open, and drive those stakes before they wake up because if not? Its your ass Mr Postman as they are wicked strong and if you drop one awake it'll probably be due to luck and will make you feel like you just won the game because it is HARD to do.

    But I know what you mean, without decent AI so many of the games are just terrible, I mean who cares how it looks if the guys all stand in a straight line to be shot? don't buy Fear 3 BTW, the AI is fucking TERRIBLE, I don't know how many times all I had to do was fire a round or two and they would duck behind cover and just sit there while I walked up and knifed them, fricking knifed them, or worse they'd just go back and forth between two different covers while i just stood there right out in the open, they didn't even shoot. After 1&2 it was enough to make me want to fricking scream, just terrible.

    Oh and did you read what the guy below you posted as a list of "good shooters" for me? Its online, online, online, online aaaaaannnndddd online. If I wanted to deal with "LOL I play this 16 hours a day noob bitch ass mofo" I'd be playing fricking Halo. ONLINE SUCKS ASS and is NOTHING like having a decent AI, its campers or guys that have no fricking lives so they just learn every trick and memorize every map so that you'll spend all your time respawning...wow, what fun. Big difference between having AI that will try to suppress and flank and some guy that has figured out there is a tiny section of wall that will let him scope a large area of the map without being seen so he can just pick off players and rack up his kills. And I can't believe he suggested TF2, for someone that likes a traditional FPS that thing is TERRIBLE! Its the classic case of spending weeks learning a single character because you can NOT just hop in and play that game and expect to get anywhere at all,and more than half the maps are fricking sniper heavens.

  • Re:BS (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Smauler ( 915644 ) on Thursday July 19, 2012 @07:38AM (#40696297)

    What? "They should stop making games like X, they should make games like Y, but I wouldn't play it anyway."

    The games you mention are not similar, apart from the fact they're all RPGs. Just because you looked over someone's shoulder and they look similar, does not make them similar (though since they are split between first and third person, they don't even look the same). I know I personally would probably hate 2 of those games, but enjoy the other 2, because of their substantially different gameplay.

The only possible interpretation of any research whatever in the `social sciences' is: some do, some don't. -- Ernest Rutherford