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Ultima Creator Says Game Stories Have Been Failures



The father of Ultima, Richard Garriott, made some very strong comments about the state of story-telling in games at DICE. Not only does he believe he’s written some of the best interactive dialogue in games, but he also thinks most other story-writing attempts have failed.

"I as an artist, as a creator, and a gamer myself, my passion completely lies with creating and playing story-based content," said Garriott. "As I review my 30 year career, I don't think the market has necessarily tended to reward that.”

Garriott blames ever-evolving game formats for changing play mechanics which in turn starts the development-learning process all over again.

"The vast majority of attempts to include story (in games) are failures," Garriott explained. "Do I know any great examples of interactive dialogue writers?” shared Garriott regarding a question a student once asked him. “No. As a creator and gamer I’m passionate to find the solution to those, I just think if you’re looking at investing behind games, you have to be very careful about saying ‘wouldn’t it be nice to have story.’"

"If you spend a million dollars on it can you predict that the story will be any good, and will that story contribute to game sales?" He goes on to explain that he was emphasizing to the student that publishers don’t necessarily put much stock in a game’s story.

Garriott warns that the answer to a good game plot does not lie in Hollywood. “I’ve hired very expensive Hollywood writers, and found they cannot write interactive dialog,” shared Garriot. “Writing branching dialog is a skill unique to this industry.”

“In spite of the fact that I don’t think I’m a good writer, I think that some of the best interactive dialog, I wrote! So that’s a double negative [for the industry],” Garriott added.

What do you think about the state of games' stories? Would you consider story-driven releases like Mass Effect 2 and BioShock 2 failures as Garriott does?

Source: Gamasutra

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