Home Forums General Discussion Games will ‘eclipse’ other media

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    • #7089
      Anonymous
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    • #43255
      Anonymous
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      ‘Head of big games publisher says games have bright future.’

      I’d bit a bit cautious about making statements like that they’ll eclipse other media. I see huge potential in games as a medium/art form, but am consistently more surprised by their failures rather than their successes.

      "Games are no longer pre-set trips through linear mazes," said Mr Griffith. "They are becoming a legitimate story-telling medium that rivals feature films."
      [/quote:bd6b23f4cd]
      Like, this is pretty much rubbish.
      We’ve been hearing this for 10 or 20 years. Most games are still pre-set trips through linear mazes. I don’t see any sign of this changing just yet. I understand making something that isn’t a pre-set trip is hard, for good technical reasons, but it’s funny why we keep hearing this, and very little real progress is made.

      The quality of story-telling in games, in general, no where near rivals feature films. It really should by now – the lack of progress is surely more surprising than the leaps forward. It’s somewhat surprising the consistently low standards of story telling gamers continue to accept – I think this is a major thing holding the medium back from going the sort of places this guy is talking about.

    • #43256
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      The quality of story-telling in games, in general, no where near rivals feature films. It really should by now – the lack of progress is surely more surprising than the leaps forward. It’s somewhat surprising the consistently low standards of story telling gamers continue to accept – I think this is a major thing holding the medium back from going the sort of places this guy is talking about.[/quote:a2a2cdbc5f]

      While aggree with you on the rest of what you said, think your wrong here. In the PC world we have extremely deep and far better storys than movies for a while now I think. Well in the RPG world. Games like Planescape Torment, Baldurs Gate, Fallout, KOTOR are all far better in my opinion than anything I have encountered in movies. But that of course is because games last longer, so have better opportunites to develop character, the background and story. Though obviously games havent, and probably will never, outstrip books in storytelling.

      Though I think why in most games the story is weak is because alot of gamers I have met have no interest in the storyline, alot dont even bother to read or listen to the sparse storyline already. Alot of WOW heads are like this I find.

    • #43257
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      While aggree with you on the rest of what you said, think your wrong here. In the PC world we have extremely deep and far better storys than movies for a while now I think. Well in the RPG world. Games like Planescape Torment, Baldurs Gate, Fallout, KOTOR are all far better in my opinion than anything I have encountered in movies.
      [/quote:ca557f90fd]
      I’d certainly agree that in games, which have much longer playthrough time than a movie has, we get depth, of a certain kind, more readily – maybe length and complexity are more accurate terms here than depth though. I don’t equate that ‘depth’ to good storytelling.
      (I’d agree that Planescape is well written, but it’s very exceptional for that.)

      I played through final fantasy 12 a few months back. In that game, a console RPG, general production values, level of graphics etc were pretty high. There’s little else going on beside the story – it’s the main thing driving players forward. But while the story was ‘deep’ – it that it was complex and lengthy – a lot of it wasn’t very well written or plotted, certainly nowhere near the standard we’d expect or accept in a good movie.
      Lets not even talk about MGS4 – the standard of plotting and writing in that game was woeful, but gamers, and game critics, still lapped it up.

      But that of course is because games last longer, so have better opportunites to develop character, the background and story. Though obviously games havent, and probably will never, outstrip books in storytelling.
      [/quote:ca557f90fd]
      I wouldn’t say they never will be on an equal footing to books – but it’s kind of surprising that they aren’t already. What is the budget for a triple A story based RPG? What was the budget for a game like MGS4? What is the budget for a book?
      Again, I’m more surprised by the poorness of storytelling in games rather than the quality – I don’t understand why it’s still so poor.

      Though I think why in most games the story is weak is because alot of gamers I have met have no interest in the storyline, alot dont even bother to read or listen to the sparse storyline already. Alot of WOW heads are like this I find.[/quote:ca557f90fd]
      Yeah, it’s definitely true a lot of gamers have no interest in story in games – that’s fair enough – but a lot of gamers clearly have an interest too. I mean, who buys final fantasy 12 and skips through the story to get to the (largely automated) game play? But a lot of gamers still buy ff12.

    • #43258
      Anonymous
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    • #43260
      Anonymous
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      While games can allow deeper immersion due to the fact that you are controlling the character the story is set around, they also have more ways to break the flow of a story. Getting stuck by a puzzle or dying five times in a row on a tricky jump can be frustrating, and really breaks the immersion, a problem films do not have.

      One of the reasons that films work well is because they allow the director to have much greater control over each aspect of the story, for example an action scenes choreography being timed perfectly to music, lighting and post-production effects being combined to create a perfect shot. While games usually achieve this with cutscenes, it is not possible to have this happen during gameplay simply because of free will.

      I would say it takes more than one games studio boss (who is obviously not going to be impartial) to convince me that games will "eclipse" films as a medium.

    • #43261
      Anonymous
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    • #43262
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      While games can allow deeper immersion due to the fact that you are controlling the character the story is set around, they also have more ways to break the flow of a story. Getting stuck by a puzzle or dying five times in a row on a tricky jump can be frustrating, and really breaks the immersion, a problem films do not have.

      One of the reasons that films work well is because they allow the director to have much greater control over each aspect of the story, for example an action scenes choreography being timed perfectly to music, lighting and post-production effects being combined to create a perfect shot. While games usually achieve this with cutscenes, it is not possible to have this happen during gameplay simply because of free will.

      I would say it takes more than one games studio boss (who is obviously not going to be impartial) to convince me that games will "eclipse" films as a medium.[/quote:80eb5830e4]

      I think those are all very valid things to point out, and big challenges for any game that wants to have an interactive movie quality story.

      Again, people are getting around this by building the story into games as a linear series of non playable cutscenes. I think that games have made huge strides in the quality of cutscenes from a technical point of view in the last generation, to the point where they are almost like bits from a movie.
      Again, it’s the writing and the storytelling that’s breaking the immersion now, more so than the graphics or direction.

      I wonder if it’s fair to say games have almost become a sort of meta-medium – a bit of gameplay, then some text to read, a puzzle to solve, a short movie to watch, more gameplay etc.

    • #43263
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      As touched on, check out the final chase sequence in MGS4 – you’ve more or less got a blueprint there to solve the main problems mentioned above. :)

      It is /will happen!

      Cheers,
      Ian

    • #43267
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      As touched on, check out the final chase sequence in MGS4 – you’ve more or less got a blueprint there to solve the main problems mentioned above. Smile
      [/quote:cd392e6b65]
      Are you referring to the motorbike chase scene? If so, then yeah, it was great, and the production of the cut scenes leading into it was amazing, probably high point of the game, for me.

      It is /will happen! [/quote:cd392e6b65]
      Like quite a few people, one of the things i’m also watching with interest is the progress of Heavy Rain – they seem to make having a shot at this sort of thing from a different angle

    • #43268
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Yeah the chase sequence with cinematic camera(s) – amazing!
      It’s only a matter of time till entire games play out like this – just as last-gen cutscene visuals have now become the benchmark for in-game GFX
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=npxIDRPon0g

      Heavy Rain looks like taking game acting to new levels – here’s a trailer for anyone who’s not seen it yet.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCClcsD3GcU

      Then you have 8 days (unfortunately on hold) – is this a cutscene? :)
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBgzaEQ825k
      Basic navigation system for same:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJFDQadSYzg
      Tech Demo
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_2LnAvsHnwU

      There’s lots more out there too!

      Cheers,
      Ian

    • #43276
      Anonymous
      Inactive
    • #43277
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Personally I don’t think that Movies and Games compare fundamentally.

      When you are watching movies you are the audience, sitting there passively and taking in the whole story, characters and filling in what is not said with your imagination.

      When you are playing a game you are a participant mostly concentrating on objectives and the here and now. Assuming its not a cut scene there is nothing passive about it.

      It’s a fundamental issue in my eye’s. Have you ever tried watching a movie while doing something else at the same time. Does it have a positive or negative effect on your experience of the story? …Imagine a live play that had audience members play some of the parts.. how would the rest of audience, say for the play Hamlet, feel about this? …funny maybe, but good for the Story or Drama?

      Another thing I ponder is, are we the players dramatic? …If I had to act out the parts of the movies I like myself would I still like them. It seems odd to me to expect a suspenseful story when I, the player, jump of the side of the Castle just for the ‘craic when I was mean’t to open that glowing gate. I mean actors get multiple takes to get the scene right, do you want 20 takes at a game level to get the dramatic essence right?

      I think we need to think different for now atleast until we find what works.

      I am also one of those people that don’t think games necessarily need storylines. Also the actions you do create their own storyline. If I am acting as nascar racer in a driving game I feel a little like one.

      To me cut scenes are fine though I am very curious to see what alternatives we can come up with.

    • #43427
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Reading these two articles of late brought the debate we had here back to mind:

      Andy Serkis’s comments on gaming storytelling
      http://www.gamespy.com/articles/952/952719p1.html

      A rant by a gamespy editor on the issue
      http://www.gamespy.com/articles/954/954010p1.html

    • #43428
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Reading these two articles of late brought the debate we had here back to mind:

      Andy Serkis’s comments on gaming storytelling
      http://www.gamespy.com/articles/952/952719p1.html

      A rant by a gamespy editor on the issue
      http://www.gamespy.com/articles/954/954010p1.html[/quote:783d89e5a9]

      Games Have ‘No Heart’
      – at the moment it is hard to argue with that IMO (there are rare exceptions like Indigo Prophecy and others) but I guess as the audience continues to mature so will the content. It’s happening but just very slowly.

      On the bright side God of War does have balls :)

    • #43429
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Looks to me like they were having a slow news day. I wouldn’t pay much attention to it. Not for the next decade anyway.

    • #43430
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      It’s the same reason most game-inspired movies are so sucky – the source material :)

      Like you say will take some time – maybe not a decade though :)

    • #43432
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Hi all,

      I think I’m with Barry on this one.

      Films being passive, Games being active.

      Films have 2 hours to build story, endear the audience, develop characters, express the world, three acts, etc.

      Games tend to have 50+ hours (just finished Majora’s Mask for the N64 a few hours ago – that took about 4 weeks on and off!) to endear the player to the same material.

      As for the technical side of run-time story development, I see it as a "holy grail." Dynamic story trees/graphs as good as they are, still boil down to a "CHOOSE-YOUR-OWN-ADVENTURE" style delivery, with some smart heuristics.

      Cause and effect, still boil down to some form of hard-coded value. SPORE is a bit of a ground-breaker in this sense, where the story is manufactured or interpreted by the player, as opposed to being spoken. But applying fuzzy logic / set theory to storyline is going to be tough.

      Its not like blending animations, its way way harder. Context, semantics, humour can all too easily get lost in translation.

      Best of luck to all those involved in cracking this one…

      On a side note, for anyone researching this area, check out a documentary called "Visions of Light." It discusses early Hollywood, the transition from stage to film, silent to spoke, and black and white to colour.

      Some great parallels to where the games industry…

      EDIT:
      Thought the Darkness did a good job, with its camera, of drawing the player into the story. Better, more expressive cameras may be a sign of things to come…

      B.

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