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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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  • by xavdeman ( 946931 ) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @06:39PM (#40691619)
    hasn't played enough games outside of the best-sellers. There's lot's of games with well written stories and intriguing worlds that were all new IPs. From the top of my head:
    -Alan Wake
    -The Secret World (just released!)
    And that's just the big, well-known titles. I'm sure if you start reading a quality gaming blog like Rock Paper Shotgun you'll be up-to-date on some great indie titles as well in no time at all, sir. (also take a look at things like the Humble Indie Bundle, sometimes these bundles contain really well written adventure games (and they always contain games with Linux support)

    We've also seen the resurrection of franchises like Fallout, and Deus Ex, while not having extremely well written dialogue (with the possible exception of Fallout: New Vegas, which was made by Obsidian instead of Bethesda), they are still worth playing for the world and the story the players themselves can write through their actions.
  • by UnknownSoldier ( 67820 ) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @06:55PM (#40691789)

    You can blame that model on JRPGs -- freedom of choice is taken away because like to pretend their narrative is supposed to the focused -- but they forgot the first rule -- you are making a fucking game, NOT a movie.

    As Chris Hecker recently said
      "It annoys me when people focus on the linear content in games, rather than the gameplay. We are always going to be shitty movies if we keep emphasizing that direction." []

  • by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @06:57PM (#40691805)
    Pretty much. That seems to be the problem with this generation, at least for me. Either a game requires very little input of the player (Final Fantasy XIII anyone?) or it is such a vast world and requires lots of time to fully enjoy it (like Skyrim, and Minecraft to a lesser extent).

    All I really want is a fun game that is:

    A) challenging

    B) doesn't require much investment

    C) Is rewarding

    D) has enough content to justify its price

    Today it seems like the focus is either on the (really) hardcore gamer or casual non-gamers.
  • Is it any wonder? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bearded_yak ( 457170 ) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @07:10PM (#40691911) Homepage

    I'm not surprised by the state of the industry. The decline began a few years ago when a new generation of players chose war/battle/FPS games over First Person Action games (What's FPA? Think Myst, kids. If you don't know what that is, you know where to look).

    In my opinion, war-like gaming appeals to a base survival and agression instinct and can indeed be involving, but eventually becomes numbing and the player is unsatisfied until another game provides a stronger instinctual reaction, which becomes more and more difficult to achieve. As this happens, interest falls off. I've seen it happen to people time and time again.

    Storyline-based gaming based primarily on a world and interactions within that world activates more of the creative portion of the mind, digging out the player's imagination from under the clutter that schooling and obsessive parenting buried it under. The abilities of the imagination are endless and a properly planned First Person Action game uses as much of the player's imagination as it does game mechanics, ensuring that the user is partially responsible for creating their own experience.

    For the most part, I think the folks at Frictional Games [] might understand how to use the best of both better than anybody. While their games may not appeal to today's most vehement FPS gamers, once those same people reach an insurmountable numbness with their own genre, those who try the kind of product Frictional puts out could find some comfort, as Frictional builds on a mix of both survival instinct and imagination.

  • Re:Fixed URLs... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968@gm ... minus herbivore> on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @08:44PM (#40692711) Journal

    While the indie games are pretty damned good one thing that bums the hell out of me is how badly they've taken a crap on the FPS genre. Remember when you'd get all these different takes on the FPS, like Redneck Rampage and Blood or No One Lives Forever? Or even Far Cry I with AI that would flank and lush jungles with nasty creatures in it?

    Now it seems like everything is Call Of Modern Honor: Gears Of Killzone. hell even the ones I liked are getting crapped on by the Call Of Modern Honor effect, remember Fear? Fear I&2 were nice, dark and gritty with smart bad guys and great weapons, so what happened? Fear 3 is a 2 gun, wall kissing, lousy guns with no damned bullets co-op mess, that's what.

    Sadly this is one genre where it is doubtful the indies will save us. there are a hell of a lot of guys like me that would be happy with Far Cry I or even No One Lives Forever II level graphics if you'd just give us a good story, new weapons, tough bad guys, bring back the fun to FPS. But instead every indie FPS I've ever seen is just another Quake III Arena ripoff, like we really need another MP only CTF and DM game...yawn.

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

    by Lotana ( 842533 ) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @11:36PM (#40693861)

    Far Cry I with AI that would flank


    I remember the first time the soldiers in front of me were laying down suppressing fire as two more were rapidly making a wide pincer move to get to my flank. I was crying the tears of joy! After all the useless, pointless bots that only knew how to run towards you and died in the hundreds, I finally had a game where developers actually focused on AI. Fear had good AI as well unfortunately you couldn't get the full appreciation of it because all the environments were so closed in that there wasn't much area to show off manuverability. Hell, the reason Half Life 1 was so damn awesome was because of the AI of the grunts.

    And then... The focus on AI died as if it was a brief fad. FPS returned to being fancy graphical demos with gameplay equivalent of Quake 2. Worse: Quick Time Events just became extremely common!

    I just can't comprehend why. Is it because the focus now is on casual gamers and they compain about the extra difficulty of the AI? Surely you can just add dificulty levels that adjusts damage and health of enemies instead of removing all the intelligence altogether!

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"