The lights are on
[story by Andy Reiner, who is covering the D.I.C.E. convention for Game Informer]
David Cage, the writer and director of Quantic Dreams' upcoming PlayStation 3 game Beyond: Two Souls, spoke at D.I.C.E. today about the video game industry refusing to grow up. His speech, titled "The Peter Pan Syndrome," passionately pointed out the mistakes he feels the industry is making."We make the same games over and over," Cage said. "The lack of innovation is an issue for any industry. We need to find ways to reach a wider audience. We need to move beyond our tradition market which is usually kids and teens. Think about your friends and parents who don't play games."He pointed out that people can talk to their parents and grandparents about movies, but there's rarely a common understanding between the groups for games. Cage believes the industry is ready for change. He wants to see developers make games without guns and focus on the journey the game offers more than its challenge. Cage said the first steps to getting to this future are to make games for everyone, and change game paradigms. He stressed the need to move away from violence and making the same game over and over again. "Can we create games that have something to say? Can we create games with meaning?" He outlined a number of topics that games could potentially tackle, such as politics and human emotion."All real world themes should be used," he said, pointing out how many games are set in separate dimensions and are not mirror reflections of who the gamer is. He wants games to deliver an experience that "by the time you turn off the console, it leaves an impression."Cage also said developers should embrace talent outside of the video game industry, whether it's authors helping with stories or actors bringing characters to life. He wants developers to establish new relationships with Hollywood. "It's time for meaningful and constructive and balanced relationships. We can work together to create a new form of entertainment."Cage ended his speech by saying press can help improve games by giving meaningful analysis and opinions, not just scores about game components. Gamers play a large role, too. "Buying or not buying a game is almost like a political vote," he said. "You decide what direction the industry goes in with your vote. Buying a game is also a matter of responsibility. You vote where you want the industry to go."
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He has good points, gaming could be so much more. But it should keep what it already has too.
It is almost impossible to make a game without violence, out of all of my games in my collection, around 50, all but one of them has "blood and gore, violence, intense violence and/or fantasy violence in the esrb ratings box. And you can make a meaningful shooter as well, the story and characters all have to flow well and that may be difficult to achieve when your audience is 12-20 year olds and only cares about multiplayer. Also, I think the press needs to review games more harshly. I felt like most of the big titles last year were given high scores because of there brand and history and not because of the actually game. And a game with politics would be interesting, The Witcher 2 played with that a little bit, *SPOILER* making the player decide whether or not to kill King Henslet, deciding whether or not to side with Roche/Iorveth and choosing to save Foltests daughter or Triss at the end.
I understand where David is coming from, but I always thought of video games as more of an escape then something I want to connect with on a deep emotional level. Now, there are some decent games out there that are purely driven by story and can stand up as a credible experience with just that on its own, BUT I don't want to play video games that I can identify with all the time. I've never thought once that the video game industry was immature in terms of emotional development just because I've played as a space marine fifty billion times in fifty billion different games. I do get that he wants more of something that will resonate with gamers on an emotional level, but action games and shooters do DO that. It's just not the emotions that David Cage is looking to evoke. Plus, with the whole "ultra-real" world setting he is citing, you'll be limiting the players freedom. Not everyone wants a game like Heavy Rain or L.A. Noire, even if they are superb titles. Also, I'm sorry, but ridiculous amounts of guns and explosions are exactly what I'm looking for in video games right now.
The problem isn't the games being made, it's the stigma attached to gaming. There are already a ton of games without guns or violence out there, so why would that be what is keeping folks away?
Well you can't make games that are for everyone all the time, there's things called genres, movies and music have kinds of genres because not everyone has the same tastes, some of us want something special and unique to their tastes in games, and it can't always be serious, it is a game after all, you're supposed to have fun, though I do appreciate games with deep meaning too, but having that all the time I'd get tired of, sometimes I do just want to run around and beat people and break things, but if I did that in real life I'd get in trouble so I play a video game :P
Okay, I'll say it. This guy is talking out of his ass.
Jazz musicians could say the same thing about the music industry, but the fact remains; not everyone likes jazz.
Games can tackle emotion without sacrificing certain elements that would make it fun. The way he says it, with the game being about the journey and more about giving the player experience reminds me of a visual novel. I played one of those, and walked away from it with one of the most personally moving and personally identifiable stories I ever experienced, and it was beautiful. That being said, those games don't attract a lot of people, and you need visible action to move the plot forward. The problem with what he's acting is that he's trying to appeal to a base that won't ever support gaming and the industry. He needs to appeal to a broader base without sacrificing the elements of games that the base we have love. Take for example the Bioshock games. A brilliant narrative line, playing with a very post fact story system, but keeping very dynamic gameplay, with smart shooter elements.
I think this guy needs to realize that video games are still not as developed as movies. The video game industry IS moving more towards games that focus on emotion and meaning. For example, The Walking Dead and Mass Effect--at least its a start. Does this guy expect the video game industry to change over night? Also, Hollywood has created movies over and over again as well. I think every gamer out their can say that The Walking Dead game had a bigger emotional impact than any movie in a long time.
Why should the industry innovate if the masses don't care? There's a reason shooters dominate the market: that's what 6 out of 10 gamers want to play. And why do they want to play "generic shooter 2013"? Because that is what ENTERTAINS them.
Video games are a form of entertainment, plan and simple. Entertainment exists solely for a person's enjoyment and what any given person finds enjoyable is varied. A business or an industry cannot survive if it tries to cater to ever single person, there's just too much variation. So businesses and whole industries have to appeal to as many people as possible. If that means churning out CoDs and Maddens every year, then that's whats going to happen.
Because of the minority that believe a game needs to have "deep themes" and social commentary or else its "dreck", there will always be a market for such games. However, they are just that; a minority within the whole. And if some in that minority can't see the big picture due to their own prejudice, well that's on them.
So very, very misguided...
I like what he said. I remember games like Heavy Rain and Walking Dead more than most action games with great gameplay with some memorable moments. But I still buy games for gameplay and challenge.
This article makes Cage's argument seem a lot more coherent than it actually was. When you read his full speech he seems to be advocating for games to become more simplistic to appeal to a broader audience.
david cage is a pretentious ass.
I'd be more likely to agree with Cage if I thought he really makes games. Heavy Rain and Indigo Prophecy are exceptional, but mostly just interactive fiction. As far as the actual gameplay goes, it's based primarily on token interactions that amount to a win- or fail-state. (Think Super Mario: the gameplay would be similar to Cage's games if you approached 1-1's first Goomba and had only the choice to press A or die.) It's easy to talk about expanding theme and storytelling when a game is all about theme or storytelling, but when it's about those things working in tandem with deep gameplay systems, expanding the thematic staple becomes pretty difficult.
I'm also pretty tired of the assumption that guns in a game mean it's either a dumb game meaning nothing or a game about themes surrounding violence. What about Bioshock? And Infinite, which seems it will follow in its tracks. What about the excellent narrative vision of the Half-Life series? The transhumanist manifesto that is Deus Ex: Human Revolution? Yeah, we could stand to see some games outside of the shooter spectrum, but that doesn't mean we couldn't also just make smarter shooters.
I'll take an immature, well-designed shoot 'em up over a "thought-provoking" qte-fest any day.
I thought Heavy Rain was a good game, and with that said, I'm looking forward to Beyond: 2 Souls. However, for me to consider Heavy Rain a legitimate video game would be a stretch. It's more like an interactive film, which is okay by me. But, I'll be damned to see the market follow his formula, one for the most part, isn't all that well received. To be perfectly honest, I don't even think that he deserved the D.I.C.E Summit stage time. If need to hear where the direction of the games industry needs to be heading, it should be coming from Gabe Newell, Ken Levine or Todd Howard (Actual game creators). David is a talented mind and he can be inspirational to boot. I only wish he could see the industry the way it actually is.