370°
Submitted by UnRated 570d ago | opinion piece

David Cage Is Wrong About Emotional Video Games

David Cage is wrong about the reliance on better hardware to create more emotional video games (Culture, David Cage, Industry, Journey, PS4, Spec Ops: The Line, The Walking Dead: Episode 1 "A New Day")

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Kamikaze135  +   571d ago
To the Moon
UnRated  +   571d ago
Another great example. I have heard many good things about it but never had the chance to check it out so I didn't put it in the list.

Looks like I'll be playing it over the weekend!
MrDead  +   570d ago
The tech helps convay emotion without music or dialogue, which is what he was getting at.

But one of the most emotion filled moments in gaming was the relationship between Guybrush Threepwood and Elaine Marley in The Secret of Monkey Island, it was freaking beautiful man.
egidem  +   570d ago
I would also suggest Heavy Rain, but that's just an opinion.

Heck while I'm at it why not throw in thatgamecompany's flOw and Flower games.
HarryMasonHerpderp  +   569d ago
I agree, a completely different kind of game though that I found to be very emotional was Silent Hill 2. That game had a huge impact on my when I was younger. It had a lot of different emotions in it, it wasn't just a horror game it went much deeper.
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Godmars290  +   570d ago | Well said
Hardware limitations are responsible for some of the best emotional moments in gaming, because they forced developers to be creative and allowed players to become involved. Let them use their minds and imaginations.

What Squaresoft was and what Square Enix has become is perfect example.
RememberThe357  +   570d ago
In the opposite vein of what your saying, hardware imitation also held back potentially emotional moments and no doubt have eliminated some all together. And the ideas you mention don't require crap hardware to achieve. With more power developers can touch on more emotions, they can play with subtleties to evoke more passive emotions, and add depth to their characters that previously had to be projected by the gamer.

I'm excited to see what they're going to do. I think we'll see even more games like Journey and Heavy Rain, at least in the way they explored emotion not necessarily they're gameplay types. Better stories in our shooters? Please God!
Godmars290  +   569d ago
I'm not talking about crap hardware, but rather a dev being familiar with whatever hardware on hand as opposed to getting the best and trying to figure out how it works to the sacrifice of telling a story.
RememberThe357  +   569d ago
I get that, that's why I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you. Developers having to adapt to hardware does make them better developers. It pushes them to come up with creative solutions, I get that. But I also think the new leg room will open up new experiences for us and also present new problems for these guys to overcome. I'm optimistic that we'll get the best of both worlds, so to speak.
Godmars290  +   569d ago
But again, my point is that devs aren't becoming familiar with the hardware. At this time most - if any - are barely coming to an understanding to one graphics engine before they're generally being forced to move on to another. The leg room you're being so positive about is actually another level of complexity devs have to get their heads around before the publishing side decides they want the devs to do something different.

That's exactly what happened to FF13. It became the town-less, characters disconnected from the world they were supposedly saving corridor march it was while its teams hid behind "artistic integrity" because they weren't familiar with the hardware and HD coding. FF13-2 proved what they could do once they understood the hardware more, but because Square didn't or could spare the extra time/money to develop a different story, let the teams start from semi-scratch, that game did poorly because of its direct ties to the one prior.

Bioware and the Mass Effect series are another example. The first game being more than decent enough, but because of publisher demands and not being all to use with UE3, the buggy and general world exploration were replace with probing in ME2. Then side-quest management and even story pacing took hits in ME3 despite being well done in ME2. Publishers wanted things done at a certain time and games and gamers suffered because the devs couldn't properly use their tools. Weren't allowed to use them.
BkaY  +   570d ago
i think ppl are dragging him to the wrong side.. i can diss his whole emotional crap with one game this gen which is LA Noire..

to me its like we will be getting more facial expression than ever before. he should have said that...

most important thing is story.. remember MGS or FFIV.

peace
ABizzel1  +   570d ago
I agree completely with Cage's philosophies on evolving games, but I think he "spoke about it wrong". I say spoke, because he's proven he know what path to take with work, but he just misspoke that day.

I feel games need to provide gamers with more choice. Have their action have consequences good / bad, that affect the game world, and outcome of the story. Produce characters we care about. Give the player more control of their story, and then take control away, and see how the gamer deals with a new set of circumstances.

That's one reason why I enjoyed The Walking Dead Game so much. I wanted to try and save as many people as I could in every situation. One instance that really got to me was:

**********************SPOILER S************************

When Carly died. I actually liked Carly as a character, because she was honest, had Lee's back in every situation, and she was able to hold her own. SO when she was killed I restarted the game and tried every situation so I could save her, but once I realized I couldn't I moved on.

Now that's the kind of thing games need more of. Bashing zombie heads in will always be fun, but when a game makes you want to save the characters, and challenges your actions and choices then it becomes an EXPERIENCE rather than a game.

That's how games surpass movie IMO.
sobekflakmonkey  +   570d ago
it's the emotional connection's that you make with the characters that's important, and no matter what the graphics look like, the connections are still plausible, take novels for example, you don't see anything, its all words, all you do is read, but at the same time the writer is still able to convey emotion and make you feel scared for the characters or sad for the characters, writing trumps all, you have nothing without good writing, I do however think there is some merit to his claims, but I think he went about it the wrong way.

To see a person cry evokes a sadness in people, and for it to look realistic helps, and that's also important when we're talking about film and video games, sometimes a physical representation can drive the point across, the better the representation the more the point is driven across, so I do see both sides of the coin, but, I think he took it a bit far, mainly because a game like Machinarium can really get to you, and theres almost no dialogue but it was still designed and written in a way that's engaging.
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KiRBY3000  +   570d ago
a game is an experience, you shouldnt separate both terms.

interactivity is what makes video games different than movies.
ABizzel1  +   570d ago
@KiRBY3000

You know what I meant. I want more games with meaningful events that make me think about my actions and how they'll affect the outcome of situations.

Right now I'd say the ratio is 99 : 1 right now, and hopefully with the next generation of consoles that ratio will change, as we see more Heavy Rain's, Beyond's, Indigo Prophecy's, Walking Dead's, Journey's, etc...
Y_5150  +   569d ago
My favorite series from this generation is inFAAMOUS, simply cause it had pretty much everything I want in a game. It had a great story, engaging characters, very fun gameplay, free roam/open world, choices to choose a different outcome. It was cool being good or evil and you get rewarded differently for choosing a side. inFamous 2 was a experience like no other and it's one of my favorite games of all time cause of that.
3-4-5  +   570d ago
Everyone Remember Wind Waker and how Link in that game was the most emotive out of all the characters, and the one you could actually tell what he was thinking or feeling.

And those weren't great graphics, but a Great Art Style.

Art Style trumps High end graphics every time.
j-blaze  +   569d ago
i didn't play To the Moon but i heard a lot of great things about it, but David Cage wants both high visual quality and realism in his games and to be honest i liked Heavy Rain more than TWD

and for those saying Mr. Cage is arrogant see this and judge who's the arrogant http://kotaku.com/5867643/n...
M2-   571d ago | Trolling | show | Replies(3)
ShugaCane  +   571d ago
Even though he is one very arrogant person, I think he just wanted to sell his engine. There's no denial the guy knows how to get the player involved in his games. I nearly cried watching the 5 min Kara demo, and it wasn't because of the graphics.
Kalowest  +   571d ago
"Even though he is one very arrogant person"

WTF... David Cage isn't a arrogent person, he's very passionate about what does and wants to bring games with depth to the industry. I can't name another game that is mature and emotional like Heavy Rain.
Chaostar  +   570d ago
While I won't call him arrogant, as I have never met the guy, he can come across a little condescending and pretentious. That said I'm going to defend his position here.

I believe what Cage was trying to put across in his PS4 presentation is that technology has come to the point in which reading emotions on game characters has become easier and next to life-like. I don't think he was trying to say that older games can't elicit emotion from players or that emotion couldn't be read in game characters before this point, just that now it is about on par with cinema and even the most subtle gestures can be conveyed more convincingly.

As gamers, hell, as human beings, we can become attached to things that do not resemble anything in reality and can empathise when they face emotional distress or joy. Take Final Fansy 7 and Aeris' death scene, it was never lifelike or even animated all that greatly (although fantastic at the time) but gamers still felt saddened by her untimely demise.

In short, I don't think Cage put his point across clearly enough and some people have misunderstood.
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KiRBY3000  +   570d ago
Cage is arrogant because he is convinced he knows better than everyone else. he makes a lot of assomptions about what gamers need or even the industry as a whole.

i dont mind the guy being obsessed with graphics (im obsessed too) but he cares too much about mimicking reality when his games lack compelling gameplay.

i had much more emotions from MGS3. wont spoil the story but i would say it was more mature too, the game really made me think about what loyalty is. Heavy Rain didnt make me think at all, the game is automatic and basically plays itself.

Shadow of the Colossus told me a better story than Heavy Rain without 10 000 polygons face models or even voice acting.

Walking Dead had a good story and an interesting narrative that makes you involved in the game because many times you will have to make choices. i remember before Heavy Rain came out, Cage kept saying the game is all about "making choices" but now that i've completed it, all i can remember is me pushing the buttons that appear on screen. i never felt making a choice in my HR playthrough.
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BkaY  +   570d ago
@Chaostar

spot on bro...

peace
KiRBY3000  +   570d ago
so basically, im trying to say the same thing Chaostar said but he's getting agrees and im getting disagrees... i dont get it.

arrogant/pretentious, whatever you call it. he makes me think of Molyneux sometimes. he could be more humble.

some people see Cage as the one who brings focus on emotions but focus on emotions started with PS2, before Heavy Rain. they called the PS2 chip "Emotion Engine" for a reason.

his tech demo at PS4 event with the old man's face is similar in concept to this one from the PS2 tech demo.

https://www.youtube.com/wat... skip to 1:30
SAE  +   569d ago
@Chaostar
I would give you an agree but i love number 14. Bubble for you ^^...

you to Kalowest
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CGI-Quality  +   570d ago
How is he arrogant, exactly?
Irishguy95  +   570d ago
He's not arrogant, he's just ignorant. He's not a gamer. It's like he thinks his games are the only Mature games out there. He mentions Cod and other shooters like they are the only games out there. He doesn't realize that Majority of Cod players(you know the ones I mean) would NEVER play his games. And that hardcore gamers that have actually played his games and read his interviews.. seemingly have more knowledge on the industry and it's games than Cage does.

arbitor...that's no all he said, he said alot more than just emphasizing what you say he did.

Honestly he is simply not a gamer, some of the things he stated are downright ignorant. There is no room for interpretation in "Who wants to mash buttons? I want them to challenge my mind" or whatever it was(was even more direct than that), he unknowingly dissed the entire hack and slash genre which many people love. And then heavy rain was heavily reliant on 'reflexes' Which he dissed too.

And then about Emotion...really? MGS is my favorite series because of the Emotion AND the gameplay. Heavy Rain...while I did like it alot...is neither my favorite story, doesn't invoke the emotions other series have..nor is it's gameplay about my favorite games series. Ask anyone what the saddest scene is in gaming, I doubt people will choose Heavy rain scenes. How about Aerith? The boss? Agro(SotC). I could go on and on about it. Even back as far as the Snes games have been able to invoke emotion well.
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Allsystemgamer  +   570d ago
He doesn't like games. He is a failed film industry man. His games are good but he's not a gamer.
ElitaStorm  +   570d ago
YOU are watching too much invisible walls
arbitor365  +   571d ago | Well said
Cage wasn't saying that no games had emotion up until this point. he was simply emphasizing how new steps in tech could allow us to better convey these characters and emotions.

its good that we still have devs who are interested in storytelling and emotion, and not just blowing things up
jacksheen0000  +   571d ago
@arbitor365

well said!
Qrphe  +   570d ago
Exactly, Lee Everett and Martin Walker only had more emotion according to the author for the obvious reason that he played through said games (emotion was given from the plot).

If someone who has never played any of those two games, were to be shown Everett's, Walker's, and Cage's demo face they'd probably say the tech demo has more potential more emotion.
Squall5005  +   570d ago
I have to agree too. I love what Cage is doing and I'm glad he's so passionate about giving us emotional and involving experiences.

Yes, great graphics and story-lines aren't essential for evoking emotion (Journey comes to mind) but I'm just glad that there are people out there that are trying to hit us right in the feels. Like you say, it's not just about explosions and body counts.

But this article seems largely irrelevant anyway. It's not like we have to choose one or the other. There's plenty of room both.
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JackAndJizz  +   570d ago
Thats not true, not so great hardware can also cause an emtional response. Anything RING a bell?
DaThreats  +   570d ago
Stupid article is stupid.
GCO Gamer  +   570d ago
huh? I think they're saying that he's wrong that we need new tech to get that level of emotion.
#7 (Edited 570d ago ) | Agree(3) | Disagree(3) | Report | Reply
tigertron  +   570d ago
Well, I just gave Heavy Rain another play today and guess what? it's just as great as I remember. The visuals gave the characters emotions and I look forward to seeing what Cage and QD can do with the PS4. Hell, I'm looking forward to Beyond on the PS3.
abc1233  +   570d ago
Graphics is one way to elicit emotions as he showed with the old man tech demo. Specs Ops, Journey, and the Walking Dead all had their own methods of eliciting emotion, Cage is simply trying to achieve the same thing with a different method so what's the problem with that? Though he was wrong about implying that all current gen games have failed to reach the so-called "holy grail"
plaZeHD  +   570d ago
Stupid article, but I see what they mean, yes emotions can be expressed without visuals, like dialogue for example. But It's more effective with graphics.
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Hydralysk  +   570d ago
Graphics help convey the action the character are taking and can show facial expression, but none of these things require photoreal levels of detail like cage seems to be saying.

Did you care any less about Clementine because she had a stylized look and didn't look exactly like a real child?

What we need for better emotion in games isn't more realistic graphics, it's an increase in the quality of work that writers put into their characters and story.
edonus  +   570d ago
The best way to incorporate emotion in a game is by adding value and loss. Mass Effect 2 came the closest it actually achieved it.

What you do is have give something value like a character that fixes specializes in fixing your weapons and upgrading them. This make the character valuable to you then put the character in harms way to were if you lose them the dynamics of your playing changes brecause now you have to level up gain skill and equipment to do what that player did for you.

The next thing is real consequence make the point of saving the character very challenging and make going back a task. This adds more appreciation for the character or item or situation. That set the landscape to make the subject of the emotion actually mean something.
Baka-akaB  +   570d ago
Dunno i dont feel it made such a good job through the triology of making you feel thoses losses .

Pretty much all losses from me1 ... me2 or me3 were balanced by a replacement character or NPCs .

I agree with the concept of using choices , loss and consequences , but it was very superficial in mass effect imo .
edonus  +   570d ago
Like said Mass Effect 2 came the closest. Remember if you diidnt do the characters quests you also didnt get the ship reinforcements that you needed to get to the final mission.

And in the last battle if you were using a character that didnt have the full loyalty of they would die. Then they wouldnt be around in ME3.

Gamers are a squirrely bunch. They are always looking for ways around so unless you put brickwalls in front of them that forces them to stop and take notice emotion will be a hard thing to accomplish.

Look at how FF7 did it they killed the girl with Cloud so all the leveling up you did for her and potions used were all wasted. Then they left her slot there to remind you of the loss. I remember playing and always having a little thought in the back of my head that hey would bring her back.

I think developers today get caught up in trying to tell stories through graphics and mechanic instead through words.
chronoforce  +   570d ago
Me1 showed value and loss, saving kaiden or Ashley and having to put down Wrex. the second game added expendable squadmates, there were too many characters as well as a being forced to conversate with them to get their loyalty mission. At least they realized and gave us a smaller roster and the original squad in Me3
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telekeneticmantis  +   570d ago
He's right and wrong
Gamers might no NEED amazingly realistic facial expressions to feel connected, but some non gamers do. Take for example my girlfriend... the more realistic the game seems to be the more she seems to get an emotional attachment to it, it ends up becoming like a really good movie for her, and it does something similar for core gamers like myself also, but it does hep definitely why wouldnt it.
HeavenlySnipes  +   570d ago
I haven't played Journey, but the writer of this article has it wrong.

The tech demo specifically displayed a man FACE. Why? That is where you see the most emotion, outside of the tone of voice. The same was done in The Walking Dead. Outside of it being based on a comic book, a big reason they took that artstyle was because they were able to better display facial expressions on the characters, so you could tell how they were feeling based on how they looked.

With Cage's engine, we can get games that use the regular realistic graphics approach and yet have faces that broaden the range of emotion we can see on people. It will make story telling more engaging and important if the characters look and behave more like real people

Obviously, you need great writing and voice acting, but advancements in facial animation are a huge help to conveying emotion in your game
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WeAreLegion  +   570d ago
I feel like this guy doesn't listen. Old movies conveyed emotion well, but sound, color, and modern SFX can take a film much further. It's the same with games. Obviously, some games like To The Moon, Mother, and Metal Gear Solid conveyed emotion without modern graphics. Look at Metal Gear Solid 4 though. You can see the pain on Snake's face!
yewles1  +   570d ago
There's a difference between expressing emotion and emitting emotion. At New York, David Cage was only talking about the uncanny valley, and nothing more.
Thatmattkid  +   570d ago
Cage has a point though that the writer does not mention in his article, and that is during the early days of film actors had to exaggerate their actions to emphasise how they are feeling at the time.

I can't state enough just how many video games also do this, just look for an AI acting scared in a game for example, they run away flailing their arms, and slump to their knees shaking ad begging. It's over the top and unconvincing. What Cage is simply stating is that (hopefully) these animations and methods of acting will make way for a more credible and believable performance in the near future.
dennett316  +   570d ago
Look at LA Noir. As great as those faces looked, the emotion shown was extremely exaggerated at times....it didn't look natural or subtle. That was Cage's point, better tech can facilitate a broader range of emotion, can give the faces in games the same sort of range as the best actors can with subtle gestures rather than overblown gurning.

Cage takes a lot of crap for being passionate, yet other devs who are just as confident and passionate about their work don't seem to come in for the same level of flack. I wonder why that is? I wonder if it's because he's French and talks about emotions rather than explosions that makes people automatically call him arrogant and pretentious?
Honest_gamer  +   570d ago
im 50/50 for instacne mgs4 when big boss died and he is like "this is good, isnt it" that was sad as hell! but the better graphics just add more connectivity i guess? not quite sure how to word what im looking for, either wya its not just the graphics, most times than not its the background music and if done well the voice acting, for instance one piece is a plain looking anime but dam when they burnt sunny that got me teary eyed so its not just the graphics that matter i guess if ur deaf it is thought
Baka-akaB  +   570d ago
He is neither right or wrong ... he just chose a path of his own , wich is working fine for him .
NorthernOracle  +   570d ago
I think Cage is wrong about a lot of things. I enjoy his work, but I'm glad nobody's attempting to emulate it.
Picnic  +   570d ago
When every single Playstation console is announced there are people dying to show they can create 'emotional' games.
It's a little bit egotistical really. What I regard as emotional should be entirely up to me. If I got more moved by Sonic's steady attempts to get around a loop the loop than by anything since how do you prove that I'm 'wrong'?

The PS2 had the 'Emotion' engine and it's clear from some games on that system that it wasn't just a marketing term. The cut scenes in Silent Hill 3 show that the PS2 was capable of realistic faces (although the Dreamcast was the first 128 bit console and had decent facial expressions it only had a couple of years to get in its stride). Every console since has just made incremental changes to that. Note : Voice acting and subtlty of expression haven't necessarily improved since the PS2 age, just the number of polygons available and the conveyance of certain possible types of material which itself runs the risk of looking hyper-real rather than real.

It's a bit like considering cinema. Just because technology will have improved it doesn't mean that there was a greater children's film than The Wizard of Oz for several decades at least.

Saying how the PS4 is like the PC bores me, even worries me that games will look a bit more standard 'off the peg' than the customised engine of the PS2 and PS3. It's the games that matter.

If you haven't even played most of the niche indie games on the PS3 like Datur and The Unfinished Swan, then you are just being seduced by mere filmatic advances, like a few more lines on an old man's face.
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Erudito87  +   570d ago
unknown journalist vs actual game dev who is very sucessful and has made some of the best games ever i think the latter wins the vast majority of time
Kennytaur  +   570d ago
His point was that it's now easier to portray visual emotions with characters in videogames. And it's hard to argue with that.
quarkist  +   570d ago
I played heavy rain, one of the best games I ever played. David cage is genius, and is not for stupid gamers. He thinks differently, and have deep art in his games. Some biased journalists should just shut up if they do not like some kind of game.
v0rt3x  +   570d ago
One prime example: Mass Effect series. Wasn't the best graphics - but hey - it got people so much involved - they went complete crazy on the ending - it managed to make people cry and in some extreme cases, at least one person committed suicide.

I suppose that also makes another point very clear: Getting your players emotionally evolved brings a lot of responsibility - if those people are emotional people from the start.
GribbleGrunger  +   570d ago
Cage isn't saying that there shouldn't be games like journey or the walking dead, he's saying that the power can now offer us deeper characterisations and a more meaningful relationship with the characters in video games. Every game and every film he mentions in this article have an old fashioned way of demonstrating emotion. An exaggerated frown to show sorrow, a bowing of the shoulders to show sadness or disappointment, a music score to cue us on what emotion to feel... etc. Journey had emotion but not in the way that Cage is describing. The scenes you travel through and the finale, which was a counterpoint to the beginning, gave it emotion.

If we are to take games to the next level then we have to mirror great acting in films, not the over exaggerated nonsense you get in Transformers or Rambo, but rather the subtlety of There will be blood or Atonement (I'm talking emotions here so please don't come back with 'Who'd want to see a game like that?')

For TLOU or Uncharted or Infamous or Tombraider to reach the next level, they have to have great acting in them, not the usual telegraphed responses that we are used to seeing in games at present. Yes, someone holding their arms in front of their face when someone is about to hit them might give the impression of fear, but to be able to do that with the face alone is, as Cage points out, the Holy Grail of gaming (as it should be in films.)
MikeMyers  +   570d ago
This is true and the demo he showed on the PS4 can show emotion much better just by facial expressions with such detail.
uuaschbaer  +   570d ago
A good game (or film/book etc.) can be ruined by putting too much emphasis on emotion. It can be a cheap superficial thing, hiding the fact that the game/book/film etc. has no story, or no thought behind it. Soap dramas, thrillers, romance novels ... please keep it out of games Mr. Cage.
yaz288  +   570d ago
some games can really benefits from this shit (The witcher, mass effect). Look at halo 4, does anybody remember that old lady? I do. now halo 3, NO.

fuck this shit. I like what cage is doing. I want this shit to be the standard in every game.
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solid_warlord  +   570d ago
Any gamer who really thinks that games should have more emotional story telling is clearly bordeline delusional. I remember Gears 2 scene with dom and his broken wife...i found that to be funny as hell and make the game feel SHIT titanic style joke. There's a reason why shooters rule the console world. Gamers in general, love shooting and Destroying things. As a gamer, i feel introducing an Emotional storyline really mocks my masculinity. David Cage is in the wrong mediam to force upon his ideas if he thinks it will succeed. He should keep his radical ideas for the
Hollywood. Movies and Console gaming never works and never will do.
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HonestDragon  +   570d ago
Those were some good games that he had listed for giving good emotion without relying on heavy graphics. Journey, The Walking Dead, and Spec Ops: The Line were all great games and at that great games that had great emotional points. Each of them hit each note right with great gameplay elements.

It's like I say, graphics don't solely make good games. In the case of graphics needing to provide good emotion, I disagree with it. Good writing and voice acting help convey the right emotion needed, not how realistic a character looks.
Hicken  +   570d ago
He's not saying that graphics are NEEDED. He's saying that more power can HELP CONVEY emotions better. Journey, which has NO facial expressions whatsoever, is the most emotional game I've played in my life.

But what Cage is talking about is being able to emulate the human face's ability to display emotion. Better technology, more power means increased capability to show such facial expressions. When used correctly, they'd be incredibly invaluable in portraying a character's emotions.

Of course, everything else needs to be in order, too. If the dialog is bad, if the voice acting is poor, then the emotional depth enabled by the technology will have been wasted.

But when done right... Remember Kara? That was amazingly moving, and it was the combination of the great voice acting and great facial expressions that made it possible.
KillrateOmega  +   570d ago
While you don't NEED better hardware to more effectively create emotional moments in video games, it can only help. After all, it lets you to go past your previous limits, hence why it's an upgrade.

You can create a deeper, more fleshed out story which will function so as to allow for a deeper emotional connection between the player and the character. The increased graphical output allows you to create more detailed facial expressions and movements. You can argue that better voice acting and writing are all you need, but facial signs are huge in conveying emotion in real life (Slight twitches, glances, reddening of the face, etc.). There are only benefits.
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Review: Risen 3: Titan Lords – Shallow Waters

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Bandai Namco Announces English Version of Genkai Tokki Moero Chronicle

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