GDC '08: RIP FPS, RTS, and RPG?

Storytelling panel including Denis Dyack and Tim Willits argues that, in the future, game-specific genres will simply disappear.

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SAN FRANCISCO--A seven-person panel tasked to discuss "The Future of Story in Game Design" couldn't agree on much. But one thing they all seemed to think would happen would be the disappearance of current game-genre types.

Denis Dyack, president of Too Human developer Silicon Knights, said, "In the future, in five to 10 years from now, there aren't going to be game genres [like there are today]. Instead there is going to be drama, sci-fi, action...just like you have in books."

Tim Willits, co-owner of Rage-maker id Software, agreed. He added, "For me, I would like to see RPGs, FPSs, RTSs--I would like to see all these genres just go away."

However, that was about all that the panel, which was chaired by indie game developer Deborah Todd, agreed on.

Matthew Karch, co-owner of Saber 3D, believes that the importance of story to a game's success depended on the genre. For role-playing games, obviously a good story would be vital, but for strategy or shooter games, that was much less the case. "I don't think anyone gave a whatever about the story in Call of Duty 4," he said. "It was just great fun to play."

However, Dyack disagreed, and he believes that story will become more and more important across all genres in the future. "We're an entertainment industry," he stressed. "We're here to entertain people. The technology is becoming less important, and the entertainment value more and more important."

The panel also disagreed over whether the level of realism in games had almost reached the highest level possible or not. Michael Hall, a writer for Saber 3D, thinks that there's not much further it can evolve. He explained, "I think we're damn close to the ceiling. I mean, how good can we get? Photo-realistic? We're real close."

Karch emphatically disagreed. "We're cavemen in terms of what's possible technologically. It will not become possible to tell a good story until you can feel like you are actually talking to a real person in a game," he claimed.

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