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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Some decent points but trying to appeal to a wider audience seems counter intuitive to me. Nothing will appeal to everyone and by trying to do so you involuntarily alienate another group who want something else.
As several before me have posted, there are different genres in all forms of media to prevent stagnating. Gaming, relative to both reading and movies is a new form of entertainment and expression. Previous generations who have not grown up with such forms of entertainment do not seem like those who would magically just pick up a controller for an intellectual experience. Give it a generation or two more and gamers who end up having children who are born in the bosom of the gaming industries popularity will be far more receptive. Another barring factor I would say is the average cost on doing playing a game is exponentially higher than books, movies, or television.
There should absolutely be growth and an increase in variety. Other art forms, which have longer histories, thrive precisely because creators do not allow stagnation. There exists plenty of music, literature, and film for every taste. There are encouraging signs in that there are developers who are trying new things, but the going is still kind of slow. If you just want to blow stuff up, there will always be options. Sometimes I want to listen to Beethoven, sometimes Miles Davis, and sometimes the Stones. Why should games be any different? Sometimes I want to rip the head off Hermes, and sometimes I want to chill out to Flower.
I blame the ESRB as one of the big factors inhibiting the maturing of games.
Game developers are discouraged from making truly mature games, likely at the behest of their corporate publisher overlords, at risk of of excluding 90% of their target demographic.
Of course in reality the rating amounts to exactly zero, since no one cares about the age restrictions when they are buying a game, but the publishers and devs have to in order to be 'legit'.
TL;DR: Movies and games are still measured in two different weights and two different sizes. Hypocrisy is the enemy.
You can make a w/e themed videogame, but people that refuse to play games, won't play games. Period.
As far a moving into new directions game-wise I put more blame on the publisher itself. What is the point as a dev to come up with a new daring idea, if the publusher won't back you up in lieu that your idea might not be "as" profitable as they expect?. What do you do then?. Kickstarter is a good start, but never gonna provide devs with the backing they need to put out a AAA title.
As for saying that games are mainly for kids and teens, where the *** is this guy living in? under a rock?. I expect a title of that sorts from people that refuse to play games based on their belief that games are for kids, not from someone that is involved in the industry itself and is clear witness to the new titles that are comming out and breaking the mold, such as Heavy Rain, or even the Sims in their whimsical own way.
Sure violence plays a role, but that is one of the appeals. A gear in the matrix, not the matrix itself. Games such as Battlefield and Modern Warfare are one-lane shooters with sole focus on the gunplay, but you can see the spectrum progression from this point, going into games such as Halo, and then into games such as Mass Effect. A game such as Mass Effect, while violence is a part of the core game, it is miniscule in comparison with the true whole of the game. It is tremendously eclipsed by the power house story telling and superb character focus.
While I understand where is comming from, some of his comments are pretty damn stupid. I could buy my father a game based on his likes, matching the experience to 100%, and he still would say thanks and toss it into the nearest bookcase and go about his business. Somehow, I really, really doubt there is a market out there for Steel Magnolias "the game".
I so agree with this to an extent. I would like to the the industry evolve and new ideas break from the mold. But I would hate to see he current genres disappear as well. A good mix would work, to hit every demographic.
I never liked cages games. I dont see linking games to other media to be worthwhile. Games dont need movies to be cool. I like that cage has a vision of what he is trying to do to evolve games i just personally disagree. Give me an honest to goodness game like xcom or dark souls over a narrative-heavy game like heavy rain or mass effect any day. Again i recognize the significance of those games i just like pure unadulterated gameplay most of the time.
I see where he's coming from but the truth is that everything in the entertainment medium is facing this problem right now. Because, everything is being made according to what rakes in the most money rather than what would be most innovating.
Movies, books, anime and video games. The only ones that are getting released are the ones that will sell.
However, this has always been the case. Which is why games that are meaningful are remembered. If every horror was like silent hill 2 and every shooter was like spec ops the line and every open world game was like red dead redemption,then it would get boring after awhile.
On another point I think it's a bit hypocritical if he's harping on about games needing more meaningful innovation before then saying that developers need to reach out and build relationships with Hollywood.
"We make the same games over and over," Cage said. "The lack of innovation is an issue for any industry."
Thank you! I have been preaching this forever. I did however disagree with the fact that the audience needs to be wider and that games should appeal to the friend and ma and pop non-gamers. If we need deeper, more mature video games, those markets make no sense to be included.
I do believe that there needs to be more cross-industry relations with video games, movies and television. Cartoons have accomplished this for kids but there are no adult movies or TV shows that can help the non-gamers understand what we are talking about and finally realize it's a big deal to us and could be to them.
And that last thought about buying a game is a vote. Absolutely. We keep getting Halo's and Call of Duty's because a large portion of the gaming society has stooped down to an incredibly low level. Stop buying the same games over and over again people! You want change? Force developers and publishers to create those games. Don't be a part of the norm. I'm sick of these easy and mindless games. Let's hope the next gen brings new exclusives and demand for different games in the future.... Let's go Destiny.