What ever the devices and the platforms are, we enjoy these games a lot. So there's nothing wrong to think about the new platforms and their development, when i was a kid i thought it would be great if they stuffed my playstation into a portable device and after some years i've found it like a PSP and now i'm looking at my playstation with the same respect and anxiety which i felt the first time i unboxed my console. So with my experience in gaming and game making i strongly feel no matter how many new ways we find to play games , it may be mmo,multiplayer,co-op or virtual life sims etc... Its always a game and we enjoy playing them.:) But it would be good if the devs dont concentrate only on a single platform, and may be we should stop thinking about new platforms for a while which actually may reduce the pressure on the industry. So lets hope for the best gaming experience... :D
We count down to the 2011 Electronic Entertainment Expo with a series of features about the issues affecting the future of the games industry.
Building Better Human Emotions: David Cage
David Cage is the kind of man who can divide an industry. Undeterred by skeptics, Cage is an outspoken attention seeker, the founder and co-owner of French studio Quantic Dream, and the lead designer, writer, and director of Indigo Prophecy and Heavy Rain. After 30 years of game development, Cage believes the industry has reached a stage where every avenue has been explored. Levels, bosses, points, platforms, cutscenes, ammo, and inventories all have to be forgotten: a new language must be invented to let developers explore new avenues and push the industry forward. We cannot, Cage argues, let ourselves become the only medium that is "empty." The solution? Give writers, not programmers, the power to control the direction of a game.
"We can make games about love, fear, homosexuality, handicapped people, politics, and more," Cage said during his GDC 2011 panel. "We need to create more meaningful experiences; that's where the value will come from."
Cage illustrated his point with Heavy Rain. While the game certainly garnered critical acclaim, its creator believes it was an important step in the direction the industry should be taking. For one, Heavy Rain was a game for adults--its mechanics were guided by a series of subtle, complex emotions that Cage believes to be missing from most big titles.
"It [Heavy Rain] was not based on violence or physical action; it was not based on repetitive mechanics; and it was not based on the same paradigms that have been recycled throughout the industry for the past 30 years. The story of Heavy Rain is really about child abduction. That's not an easy sell. But we wanted to say something meaningful, and we wanted the audience to remember this game for a long time."
The way the game did this, according to Cage, was to steer clear of the 10 basic actions that almost all video game characters tend to resort to, such as running, jumping, and shooting. By "freeing" the characters in Heavy Rain from this set of predefined actions and a general interface, the game sought to use narrative to drive gameplay. It also sought to give players the freedom to drive and create their own individual experiences based on a set of in-game actions; like Clint Hocking, Cage believes giving players more autonomy is where all games should be headed.
In his panel talk, Cage also defended Heavy Rain's portrayal of everyday mundane human actions, such as brushing teeth and drinking juice.
The move was deliberate: without these mundane actions, it would have been impossible for players to really attach themselves to the game's protagonists. This also points to the larger problem of characterization in games--Cage believes most of the time characters are simply empty shells because game designers are under the false impression that players want to project themselves onto the characters they play. However, a medium like film is successful in creating complex characters that find themselves in realistic, normal, and everyday situations, thus allowing the audience to relate directly to them and become emotionally invested in the story. In the case of video games, what should matter more, the journey or the challenge?
"In Heavy Rain, we tried to move the challenge from the controller to the mind of the player. I don't care how fast you can move your thumbs. If you fail in Heavy Rain, you need to reconsider how you deal with the situation, as opposed to most games, where if you die, you have to go back and do it all over again until you are fast enough to move on. In the context of a story-driven experience, this makes no sense. Why would you want to go back?"
i think they should cut it out with the new devices i mean consoles annnd pcs are great with gaming but making devices such as iphone ipod ipad etc apple is trying to fit in with the gaming socity!! thats UGLY!!!
One more thing to say. I will never be pleased by a "Digital only" gaming world.I don't want nothing but $1.99 tidbits of gaming on my smartphone or through Facebook.I do not deny the relevancy of these things,in fact,I believe they must be used.But they must not replace fully fledged gaming experiences on dedicated devices.If multitasking is what gaming needs to evolve to,than becoming digital only is the exact opposite,because it rids us of the original gaming experience. In with the new,in with the old I say.Thumbs up to backwards compatibility,full games on cartridges or discs,dedicated game consoles,AND extra features and free/cheap/casual digital content.Get the best of all the demographics.
@ aeatyes I agree. Art is designed to make people think,particularly about emotions,and "life,the universe,and everything." While many games,like COD and other rather mindless and violent games don't do that,games like LoZ:OoT(what a funny abbreviation) or the Metroid Prime series do.They,as you said,take us to far away places,and make us use our imaginations,involving us in fantastic stories and deep emotions in ways that even books can't.(I liked reading the last words of doomed civilizations in Metroid.It produced a very somber feeling for the ruins you were walking amongst.)And in some games like Infamous,the complex moral decision to be good or bad is actually up to your actions.What kind of person are you?Do you stand up for the good?Or are you in it for ultimate power? I also like the music in games like Mario Galaxy 2.The game is light on story,but the big beautiful worlds that make a toy out of the laws of physics combined with the sweeping music produce a really epic,often fun feeling,and anyone who says fun isn't art is just wrong.I'd say fun is probably the first art we learn as kids,and the first one we forget as adults.And what is the first thing a good game should be about?Fun.
I totally support having players work with the devs on games.Like what Mega Man Legends 3 is doing.It's so cool,some characters have already been voted on or even completely designed by fans already,and I'm entering the next contest for a new mascot (like the Servbots for the pirates) character for one of the street racing gangs.When the game comes out,I'll feel like I contributed,or maybe even be able to see a character in it and say,"I made him." Plus my name would be in the credits :P
Oh, and they use music. Almost forgot that one. :P And there have been some amazing video game soundtracks. The Halo series stands out in my mind in this regard.
They depict great skill in art: drawing, animating, painting, sketching, concept art, graphic art, sculpture, design. And these works are just as emotionally moving and thought provoking as the stories they seek to visually represent, as the moments they portray. To deny video games their logical, and rightful, place in art is foolish and ignorant. However, the issue most people are having is their skewed view of video games as mindless, superficial, and artificial experiences; I don't blame them, not entirely. Most are woefully ignorant of the best titles that video gaming has to offer, and have only seen garbage like COD and Doodle Bop. There are also the "critics" to deal with, those of the art world and the video game world. But like any emerging medium, it's going to take some time before people accept it is as art; it will come. Part 2 Cheers.
Gonna have to agree with TheBigKabosh and Sepewrath here. Video games need to be what they are, and these developers, in their arrogance, impatience, and over-excitement to evolve video games and "raise the bar", are blurring the lines that define video games, and the video game experience. Video games qualify for art under almost every discipline you care to name, so take your pick. From drawing to storyboarding to film, video games are utilizing every medium that is considered "art". Factor in that some video games combine all of these elements into one amazing package, and I fail to see how they do not qualify. Some great examples are: Bioshock Ico Shadow of the Colossus Deus Ex KOTOR Chrono Trigger Chrono Cross MGS4 The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time There are quite a few more, some newer, some older, but all great pieces of art. Like books, these games transport you to fantastic lands and far away places. They evoke awe, a sense of adventure and exploration; they depict sorrow, hardship, loss, fear, anger, hate, love, compassion, betrayal, redemption, choice, paradox. They are thought provoking, from the simple choice of whether or not to harvest a Little Sister to seeking salvation for Bastilla. All the elements you find in famous literature you can find in video games. Part 1
@James00715 Why change the definition of art? Let art be what it is and if games aren't art then they're not. What's the problem?
As far as games as art, I think of it like web 1.0 vs web 2.0. In the old days the content on websites was created by one person or a group of people. Visitors to the site had no impact. Contrast this with web 2.0 sites, where the users directly create a lot of the meaningful content on the site. So traditional art you could say is art 1.0 and video games are art 2.0. Pretty much everyone I know finds video games more compelling and interesting than traditional art. It's the future, and the definition of art will just have to change. Of course, just like music and movies there are games made to sell and games made for art, both very different.
Games have come to the point where they're more like feature films than games. It's like you play just to see the next cut-scene instead of playing just to have fun. Of course, not all games have a story and yet they are memorable nonetheless.
I don't understand Cage's using narrative as "freeing" players. That seems a contradiction. Heavy Rain is freeing insofar as it allows us to experience new and different gameplay. This too, will become old hat, though. I see freedom as Hocking does, through unlimited choice. As far as games as art goes, it seems that the more games emphasize player agency, the more the players are the artists. But then again, I'm not sure that games always leave authorship to us. In a way, we just shoot and kill our way to the next plot point which is out of our control. Beating the game requires this story, even in an Elder-Scrolls-ish game. I don't think we should let games-as-products interfere with games becoming art, either. Dickens was paid per word for most of his stuff and "artist" Andy Warhol was infamous for blurring the border of art and product. I also think that a game can "deeply reward a lifetime of contemplation" and "make us more cultured, civilized, and empathetic." Some people read Plato's dialogues and only see the outdated logic. Others spend their lives interpreting one sentence. I could probably get some enlightenment out of "The Fast and the Furious" if I cared to, though I honestly think there's less there than in many games. It's what WE make of the game, not Ebert (bless him). I see this as inevitable; games will be art, it's just a matter of time. Besides, "art" is vague to the point of being meaningless. Rant concluded.
"Give writers, not programmers, the power to control the direction of a game." Then you, my friend, have stepped out of the video game industry and into the movie business. Let me give you one example: Super Mario Galaxy. It is one hell of a great game, and it barely has a story at all.
While I was reading this all I had in mid was the game Tweetland, a game with combines our tweets and how they affect the game itself. That is innovation and creativity
I start do wonder if "defining of what is art and what not" is more about arbitrariness, dogmatism, trends and being self-satisfied than being rational, factual, everlasting and neutral. While this Brian Moriarty is mostly right about his description of most video-games, he seems to completelly miss that this description can be applied to most works done in the "true forms of art" too. (Ironically, forms like jazz-music, movies, written fiction and so on, were subject to the same foul arguments and disrespects in their beginnings.) Also some might wonder why most "highbrow-people", in their arbitrary and self-inflating fashion and therefore lack of self-consciousness, often appear to be just as stupid and similar in their demerits as "lowbrow-people". They merely seem to have more sophisticated ways to shroud their ignorance and intolerance
Obviously all games contain elements of art but the games themselves are not art - they're products created for the sole purpose of PROFIT. Gears of War? Product. The Last Guardian? Product. If you want to see art step foot inside a museum. I doubt you'd understand any of it.
I don't understand how games like braid, limbo, world of goo, mass effect, rdr, portal and many others could not be called an art.
Digital distribution? no way either. I've only bought 2 games online, Super Star Dust HD, 1942 Joint Strike. they were okay. but I prefer the disc that I can take to any friends house and play. I can transfer the disc to any other system. not too mention you can resell them, buy them used, or collect them as I do. I totally fear the day it all becomes digital, that will be the day I stop buying new systems.
wow...I mean wow. I fear if games go this way. I wont play them anymore. I found Far Cry 2 to be one of the most repetitive games I've ever had the misfortune to play. not to mention that it had nothing to do with the first and should never have been called far cry 2. But then I also dont like other completely sand box games like gta, or fallout 3.
Art, art is too subjective for anyone to claim to define; the simple reality is people are told what art is. Its not something that most will embrace on their own, that will "make us more cultured, civilized, and empathetic." The Mona Lisa is art because your taught its art, while graffiti is just vandalism. Beethoven's Fifth is art, while a rap song is commercialized noise, because someone told you that's not art. What is and what isn't art cant be summed up by some all encompassing definition; it is dependent upon each individual, because what is interpreted from each individual piece is a product of each persons individual experiences.
the listed examples of games that Moriarty has played--why would anyone call those art? and COD? really? i guess if you regard the story of the game as a separate medium, i guess you could say that games aren't art, but there are plenty of games with "artful" stories in them. as for gameplay itself, i think little indie games, with their freedom to explore different ways of interaction in the game, can come close--if not all the way--to art.
Excellent article, I do think that Cliffy B might want to reconsider his career though, sounds to me like he belongs in the advertising and marketing industry, not the AAA gaming industry.
Just give it a decade or so and we'll have an article titled "When games forgot they were games". Not a good thing in my opinion - games should strive to raise the bar in gaming not try to become cheap movie replacements. That's not to say that certain games shouldn't try that, but I hope that's never the majority.
thats all very well but i don't want to play a game which is basically a romantic comedy, or 'the hand that rocks the cradle'. There is a fine line between playing a game or realising you should just be watching a film!
Hey, very nice article! I think about scripted versus sandbox (etc) a lot of times when I become frustrated with games. Being a RPG fan, more often than not I feel like I'd like to merge many games I love into one percet game, but I fail to imagine how could that be done. I guess devs are also thinking what I'm thinking, so it's at least a hope - if they succeed, they'll create RPGs I'll love to play.
wow lots to think about... i've always liked making my own decisions (elder scrolls IV oblivion) but i like it when they tell good stories too (final fantasy x) so i dont know which to prefer. Still, it's good to know that developers spend so much time thinking and working on their projects. The future of entertainment in games looks bright.