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Warren Spector: The Last of Us's Genre is Easier to Tell Interesting Stories Through

Warren Spector is an innovator in the gaming industry, who is responsible for creating some amazing games. The dev recently spoke about narratives in gaming, some that stick out to him and which genres are supposedly easier to tell stories in.

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SCW1982163d ago

Agreed and game play and narrative are not sacrificed. I would rather have a wide linear playground than a bloated open world any day.

morganfell163d ago

Did you look at what it is with which you are agreeing?

"I think it's a lot easier in the sort of interactive movie genre, like The Last of Us and Uncharted, to convey messages and tell interesting traditional stories in that format."

Interactive movies? Really Warren?

While he calls them interesting traditional stories (versus non-traditional stories I guess) overall the remark has the air of a slight about it. It also sounds like an excuse for failed games that are not what he considers traditional.

And Warren Spector was an innovator. I played most of his early titles on release day. But the operative word in that analysis is "was". System Shock remains for me a landmark game (as is the second) and I loved the work of Ion Storm. But facts are stubborn things and while he calls Uncharted and TLOU traditional, he himself has not broken any new ground recently.

bluefox755163d ago

Yeah, he seems a little bitter taking shots at successful games when he hasn't done anything comparable in years.

Big_Game_Hunters163d ago

Its like half and half, TLOU has pretty alright enough gameplay imo, in between cut-scenes and game-play however are significant segments of walking and talking/moving ladders and talking.

The 10th Rider163d ago (Edited 163d ago )

Oh please. He didn't say anything negative about the genre. He didn't even call them interactive movies, he said "sort of" interactive movie genre. It makes sense. They're linear games with set-pieces, the story sometimes told through dialogue as you're playing the game, etc . . . He never said it was a bad thing, just that it's easier to tell stories that way.

Anyone should be able to agree it's easier to tell a story in a game of that style than a story like the first couple Mass Effect games, some of Telltale's games, Dishonored, Dues Ex, etc . . .

@bluefox755,

He developed a post-graduate program in game design the past few years.That's certainly a notable feat and worthy of commendation. It's not like he's some washed-up old developed who doesn't know what he's talking about. He's still a significant industry figure and almost certainly knows more about game design than this entire comment section combined.

Imalwaysright163d ago

morganfell

Warren Spector doesn't have anything to prove to you or anyone else. His influence and contributions to this industry speak for themselves and you can clearly see them in many games today. I find your attempt at diminishing his opinion laughable not only because you see his influence today and WILL continue to exist as long as this medium exists but also because revolutionary games or games that introduce something completely new are FAR, really FAR from being the norm.

NewMonday163d ago (Edited 163d ago )

Firewatch and Oxenfree are great recent examples of gaming as a story narrative medium.

they couldn't be done in a movie or a book because player choice is an essential part of the narrative, not because of the outcomes but because they change who the character is and the relationships he has with others.

rainslacker162d ago (Edited 162d ago )

Wouldn't be a Spector quote without having an air of something surrounding it.

I agree that while the man can be brilliant, he hasn't shown off that brilliance in a while. Epic Mickey was the last game which was good IMO, and I wouldn't even call that brilliant, but quite good.

He's one of those people that unless he's working on something to show us what he's talking about, I'd rather he not say much. David Cage I can suffer because at least he's making an attempt at doing what he talks about, while Spector just seems to want to critique what others are doing, while making rather generic games, which may be good, but don't really advance the genre or medium.

@The 10th

I think it's a matter of people don't realize he's saying that it's easier, not that it's the only way it can be done. There are several notable examples of games which have really good stories, but don't follow the same format. However, linearity obviously would make things easier, because you don't have to fill it in with supplimental stuff, and can remain focused. I'd say writing a series of books which focus on one story arc is easier to tell a story in than writing a bunch of books with coexisting and overlapping storylines like the Discworld series.

Given that's it's an obvious notion, seems rather odd that he would even talk about it.

+ Show (3) more repliesLast reply 162d ago
AspiringProGenji163d ago (Edited 163d ago )

That is what made The Last of Us special to me. ND married Story and gameplay flawlessly. The gameplay did not distract me from the story, nor the story distracted me from gameplay. I was torally invested from beginning to end. And that ending got a lot of people arguing whether Joe did the right thing or not. That is when I realized that they did something great with this game

Goldby163d ago

Those are my exact reasons too why I loved the game and also in regards to Hellblade.

Pandamobile163d ago (Edited 163d ago )

I feel like that's a given. The cinematic adventure genre is pretty much the easiest thing for competent developers to nail. String some well made levels together with high production value and a cohesive linear narrative and boom you've got yourself a hit. Naughty Dog are the masters of their genre, but I'd love to see them try to branch out a bit and create a game that's a little more dynamic.

Thatguy-310163d ago

If it was as easy as you claim we would see more developers nailing it which we honestly don't.

AspiringProGenji163d ago (Edited 163d ago )

Exactly!

Maybe the tech isn't there to make storytelling shift at every hour yet, or maybe dynamic storytelling is possible at a certain degree like ME series does throught illusion of choices. Also I believe Quantic Dreams are actually doing Dynamic storytelling with Detroit. I'm very excited too see how that turns out.

rainslacker162d ago

That comes more from the fact that they can't write good stories. Story is often disregarded, or game play is often twisted to work around the story.

A game has to have both done in equal measure to be done well, and very few games really do that.

bluefox755163d ago

Perhaps easier, but still not easy, seeing how rare a good story is in gaming.

PhoenixUp163d ago

Naughty Dog may never return to platformers

strayanalog163d ago

Sadly you may be right, but maybe Naughty Dog will get bored eventually and go back to their roots.

Trilithon163d ago

this guys day came and went. yeah he made some good innovation titles for the time. but those days are over. whats he done lately other than offer an opinion.

The 10th Rider163d ago

He created a post-graduate program in game design at the University of Texas at Austin. That's certainly a notable feat. He didn't leave that until last year and now he's working at OtherSide Entertainment on System Shock 3 and Underworld Ascendant (a sequel to Ultima: Underworld).

rainslacker162d ago

I think the guy talks too much about things he hasn't really worked towards in a while, and is often critical in a very broad sense which makes his comments next to worthless on how to remedy things going forward. However, he is very accomplished, and I don't mind that he expresses what he does, I just wish he'd do it with better detail to explain what he's talking about better.

While I am of the notion of "what have you done for me lately", I don't think it's worth completely dismissing what he says just because he hasn't made some impecible game in a while.

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