Monday, November 5, 2007

Story Telling in Games

I recently read an article that Kotaku linked to about story telling in gaming and thought I might offer up my thoughts on it. One thing the writer of the article says is he thinks that games these days have to many cut scenes and points out Final Fantasy as an example. Now I don't know about you but when I play a RPG like Final Fantasy I'm in it for the story. And while games can tell a story without cut scenes like Half Life 2 did, that method just wouldn't fit within the RPG genre.

I have never played a RPG that I thought had to many cut scenes and I played all three Xenosaga games which by the way is my favorite gaming trilogy( yes even over halo). I was in fact slightly disappointed when the 2nd two games didn't have as much cut scenes as I had expected. I remember playing Final Fantasy XII only about a month after having finished Xenosaga Episode III and despite loving FFXII thought that it didn't have enough cut scenes. A friend of mine later joked that I had been spoiled by Xenosaga.

My thoughts are that if a story is good and worth telling no amount of cut scenes can ruin the experience within reason of course. People constantly compare Film and Gaming in the storytelling department. Very rarely do I see a movie where I get attached to the characters and really care about what happens because after all I only invested about 90mins-2hrs in the universe of this movie which isn't really all that much for me to care. However games are much longer 10-20 sometimes even up to 50hrs long. When you spend that amount of time in a universe you find yourself getting more attached to the characters there. Don't get me wrong there are movies out there that I really liked but they are few and far between. Most of the time I see a film at the box office it is because the trailer caught my eye or its a nice little diversion from everything else.

Now I know everyone doesn't think and fell the way I do and I understand that. But the Hollywood types who say film is vastly superior to games in story telling need to be silenced. They must remember that compared to film gaming is still a new form of entertainment. And they also should remember that film wasn't always the king of story telling it is today. Books for a long time reigned as best place to get a story. They must also remember that film wasn't perfect right out of the gate it took decades to get right. Story telling in games will evolve and I don't think the pestering of film critics and Hollywood types is needed for it to do so.

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