The lights are on
In Game Informer's March issue, we talked to famed video game scribes Amy Hennig (Uncharted), Corey May (Assassin's Creed), Mikey Neumann (Aliens: Colonial Marines), Gary Whitta (The Walking Dead), and Ken Levine (BioShock Infinite) about the art and science of video game writing. You can read their thoughts on the craft of writing for video games and the surprisingly varied approach each development team has to creating these interactive tales.
I sat down with Game Informer editors Matt Miller and Kimberley Wallace to discuss the history and changes in the video game writing field over the last 30 years. The discussion ranges from the rise of the JRPG to the importance of early PC story-focused games to innovations in recent years like BioShock and The Walking Dead.
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This is going to be fun.
Good discussion. I definitely feel like the gaming industry is liberated from the constraints of TV/movies, which generally have to clamor toward larger audiences to make money. Games of course have to sell to turn a profit, but the higher product costs allow for many niches and approaches to storytelling that don't have to be so one-size-fits-all. Games can dialogue-driven (Mass Effect, Uncharted) or silent (Journey, Myst) and still tell excellent stories.
I personally would really love to see other developers take a page out of Telltale's book and make their own episodic games. I just finished The Walking Dead (Episode 5) today, and came away so impressed by it (and even got teary eyed towards the end). My only complaint about that game is the wait for season 2.
Totally agree with Secret of Mana kickin the door open to narrative in games for me as well. I was blown away as a kid by how intriguing that game was
I really enjoyed this. Well, the 2 mins I saw before the video player started trying to murder my computer. I wish you guys did more of stuff like this, I really enjoy it.
I've been trying to get some of my friends interested in games with heavier plots, like The Walking Dead, but none of them appreciate the stories in games like I do. They tried skipping the conversation parts of the game in TWD and then quit when I told them 'This IS the game!' They just what big event after big event to happen. I can understand liking the action in Call of Duty games, but I prefer games with a fleshed out story and deep characters. I like the anticipation and tension between big events.
Great discussion GI!
I'm definitly the sort of gamer that appreciates games mainly for their stories and their ability to get me to care about the characters I'm playing as/interacting with.
That being said, I do think the balance between cinematics and gameplay should be carefully monitered and balanced. There were definitly times in MGS games and a few JRPG's I played where I would suddenly realize "wow this cinematic has been going on for fifteen minutes!" And of course I couldn't just skip it because I would still want to know what was going on!
A truly wonderful video feature! I thoroughly enjoyed it!
I love these discussions. My introduction and history with games are so vastly different from yours. The March issue looks like it will be amazing. Whenever the GI staff takes their time to create these videos, you have my word that I will be watching.
I try to pay attention to story in games. Most of the time I end up pressing whatever button I can to skip cutscenes. If there are little notes/recordings I read or listen to them but they don't really have an impact.
Great discussion. I love story heavy games. In fact, the reason I play games is for the stories. I know a lot of gamers don't really care for linear game stories, but those are my favorite. I'm an observer, so I don't like putting myself into the game. Instead, I like to be led along through twists and turns, and I especially love being surprised by the actions of the characters.
So true I love when I get to see a cutscene just sit and watch the pure awesomness.