"Games can never be as emotionally powerful as movies" - Amnesia dev

Our medium needs experiences like Schindler’s List, says Amnesia creator Thomas Grip – but games will always struggle to hit the emotional highs of films, he says, especially if they keep trying to mimic them.

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MrGunny942290d ago

Yes they can.. for example i've never cryed in a movie but i did in fact cryed in ALL metal gear solid games

Muerte24942290d ago

I Heavy Rain was suspenseful and that "Kara" tech demo definitely proved that games be emotionally powerful. My wife thought it was a television show.

RedDead2290d ago (Edited 2290d ago )

While I also agree games can be just as emotional. Kara was not a game. It was a Tech demo. It was a few minute long cutscene. It's a 'movie' Not a game.

Also, I think these devs mean in gameplay and narrative in a game. Anything emotional that happens in a cutscene may as well be a movie.

Ico and Ico 2 are great example's of were the devs are wrong in the article, it is hard to deliever emotion with gameplay but they are trying and succeeding in a few games.

These devs anyway, they want to combine Story and gameplay. That's what they say in the article, they are trying to drop cutscenes from the game's.

Muerte24942290d ago (Edited 2290d ago )

Clarified the tech demo was to showcase the MO-cap engine that they have been working on. You can't call it a movie since it was running in real-time on the ps3 under the GAME engine. As far as narrative, why do people think God of War and the Uncharted series are so successful? Cutscenes are needed to carry the player from level one to level two. But I do think all cutscenes should be interactive that way it doesn't pull the player out of the experience.

Objective2290d ago

Jesus, what's so emotional about Heavy Rain or MGS4?? Either you guys are not reading / watching real literary works or just plain defensive. Games are games, the developers are focusing a lot on technical and gameplay matters, and throw in the fact that a computer generated character can never be as expressive as a real actor, I'm not at all surprised and I'm certainly not expecting games to be anywhere as emotionally powerful as movies can be.

Muerte24942290d ago

Each and every person has what we like to call "free will". What might be emotionally moving to one person, may be considered dull to the next. MGS story was considered great by many including myself. I enjoyed Heavy Rain and felt that David Jaffe's take on Greek mythology was sublime. Or am I only being disagreed with because I fail to mention any 360 titles?

NukaCola2289d ago

I just finished Journey. At first I was like, "yeah it looks good" Then as I am playing I see the influence from Flower and all, but towards then end I was like holy heck my heart is beating really fast. I was emotionally driven and it was something that just put me from a feeling of hopelessness to overwhelming joy in a matter of a second. Just as good as Flower but 10x as powerful at the ending.

Journey proved games can be emotionally driven just as a movie can and that games can be recognized as art.

reznik_zerosum2289d ago

i dont agree about heavy rain,for me it was badly written pretentious and unoriginal mess,and that kara thing have nothing to do with gaming its just a video,more like a short film.
no game,for now,is emotionally powerful as a coca-cola commercial.

irepbtown2289d ago

Metal Gear solid has touched me, but so did Call of duty 4. That ending made my heart sink completely.

I think games have the capabilities but lately, I dont see much of it.

Outside_ofthe_Box2289d ago

You guys are missing the point. While games can indeed get you emotional, movies are more "powerful" at getting you emotional, generally speaking.

He said games can never be emotionally powerful **AS** movies NOT that games can never be emotional at all.

sikbeta2289d ago

The problem are the gamers that need to compare games to movies, it's like if you can't live without the approval of others, so what if gaming is not a form of art and can't make you feel something? who cares what other say when you enjoy gaming

syanara2289d ago

Emotional Storytelling is totally possible in Video games, if reading words in a book can bring emotion, and if watching things on a TV screen can bring emotion then who's to say a video game can't do the same? an interactive element should make it possible to be even MORE emotional than tv, movies, or books because the idea of setting the viewer in a position to alter the outcome of what happens brings more responsibility and guilt towards the player in the emotional moments of a game. This is not true for everyone nor do I claim that this is fact but it is definitely a logical take to say that games (if given the right material) can be more emotionally engaging than any other form of media.

DragonKnight2289d ago

When the day comes a dev makes a game where you have to choose between saving the lives of, say, your child or your significant other, that's the day games will have surpassed movies in being emotionally powerful. Today, they are definitely at least as emotionally powerful, perhaps moreso, since you actually play a part in the story as opposed to just watching it happen. The Amnesia dev doesn't know what he is talking about.

ZombieNinjaPanda2289d ago


Infamous, you either have to choose between saving your girlfriend, or saving all the scientists.

DragonKnight2289d ago

@ZombieNinjaPanda: yeah, but that doesn't have the right kick to it. they didn't do enough to build that bond between Cole and Trish because most of the game she hates you so you don't really give a damn about her when the time comes. and the scientists are nobody. i'm talking a REAL choice.

thats_just_prime2289d ago

"i did in fact cryed in ALL metal gear solid games"

guessing you were crying over the money you wasted.

"My wife thought it was a television show"

sorry to hear about your wife being blind.

Anyways I'd say they are probably right there has never been a rocky of video games. I still think Bioshock set the bar for storytelling in video games. Nothing I've played before was about to pull me in to the game and story the way bioshock did. However I dont even think of bioshock as being "emotionally powerful" it more like an edge of you seat type thriller.

syanara2289d ago

Another thing to note as well is that a video game's success is based more on the gameplay than on the story. Heavy Rain was a game that tried to make the more emotional and story driven aspect of the game the real reason to play it rather than gameplay. of course this attempt brought a lot of mixed reactions but in the end it showed that a game CAN be emotionally engaging (whether you got an emotional reaction out of Heavy Rain or not) it still sent a message saying that it is entirely possible given the right resources.

Kurt Russell2289d ago

No, there are some good games but they are not as emotionally powerful as films. That's not to say they will never be, but currently they are not...

I think games have some brilliant stoylines and characters and who knows what the future holds... but currently no game has the same impact as something like Shindlers List, Requiem For A Dream, American History X and many others.

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knifefight2289d ago

Be careful, man! Laxman is gonna come in and lecture your ass for not listing any Western games now! He's gonna call your pick emotionally shallow and make an assessment on your life based on virtually no information, then recommend how to be you better than you are being. At you.
Take cover!

dark-hollow2289d ago (Edited 2289d ago )

Well that's given because in movies, story is the most important aspect of film making, well unless you are making mindless actio/comedy movie but you get where am coming from.

Games can get away with crappy/non existent story because gameplay can make up for that.

Games like Mario, cod, battlefield, etc. All are great despite their lack of good story writing.

ljh2172289d ago

Several Spoilers from older games:

The dog in Fable 2.
Shepards Betrayal / Ghosts Death in MW2.
Kaiden/Ashley death decision ME1.
Deaths of companions on suicide mission ME2.
The tension created in Dark Souls.

They're just a few quick examples of great emotional moments in games that far surpass any film I've watched. They've made me angry, or upset or both! There are many games out there that are more story driven than films.

bayport2289d ago

Yeah, what about Aeris in FF7? That's one of the most memorable moments for me in all of gaming. Or even more recently, when John Marston at the end of RDR.

And on top of that. This makes me want to play FFX again. God damn i can't wait for that remake.

Omnislash2289d ago


People are forgetting that games have become more sophisticated story telling machines. Theres more to games than FPS's...

ATi_Elite2289d ago (Edited 2289d ago )

.........Go Play Half Life 2 Ep 2!!

I'm still sad and I'm still angry and waiting to get some PAYBACK!

Most movies i forget how I felt by the time i realized how muched i just spent on Popcorn and Slushies!

Nimblest-Assassin2289d ago

Agreed I have never cried during a movie...

But I shed man tears playing Uncharted 3, Infamous 2,Half Life 2 Ep2 and Mass effect 3.


duplissi2289d ago

mass effect 3 has been pretty wrenching at times... especially those dreams..

ginsunuva2289d ago

Infamous 2's endings were tear worthy.

And above ^^, Me3's dreams were the most cheesy pieces of crap ever.

Xof2289d ago

Games can NEVER be as emotionally powerful as movies. Rather, games have the potential to be the MOST emotionally powerful artistic medium ever conceived. They may not have reached that point yet, or even come close, but the potential is there. In any other medium, you don't feel genuine emotions--you feel sympathetic emotions. Even the most similar characters on screen or in a book are still just that--characters who are not ourselves. We can sympathize with them, sometimes to a great extent, but the feeling conjured will never exceed sympathetic emotion.

Games are different. Even in narrative-heavy titles where player choice has no impact on the narrative, you are never simply watching or reading about a character--you ARE another character. The person on the screen is not someone else, it is you. Because of this, games have the capacity to instil in the players genuine emotion.

Problem is, gaming is too new a medium. It took film decades to start telling emotionally involving tale. It took literature CENTURIES. People who try to compare gaming unfavorably to other narrative mediums usually have zero understanding of either medium--and never have any understanding of its history.

hardcorehippiez2289d ago (Edited 2289d ago )

i know where you are coming from, but heres my take on it. ANGER is an emotion yes ? I get very angry when playing online against cheaters. that is a strong emotion envoked when playing games that i wouldnt get watching a movie or reading a book because they arent interactive. games have already surpassed both them mediums a long time ago. Not only online but how many times have you thrown down your pad because you get stuck on a part of a game . Frustration sets in . frustration an emotion no ? or how when you finally do beat that bit and finally master the game, happy ecstatic overjoyed content ? all emotions no ? As i said i think its past it a long time ago.

Xof2289d ago

@Hippiez: But you're not angry at the game itself, you're angry at other players in the game. The game does not incite that emotion, it simply provides the setting for you to have the emotion.

Frusteration is similar. Generally speaking, different emotions have different "depths." Anger and frusteration are relatively simple (read: primal) emotions, and easy enough to conjur. I don't think these are the emotions people have in mind when discussing the medium as a narrative art form--we're talking about more complex emotions. Pathos. Think envy, scorn, pride, ecstasy, malice. There's a vast spectrum of human emotion out there, and for the most part games barely touch the shallow end.

There are many, many different variable to consider in a conversation like this, too. In general I think the biggest reason games have yet to reach the same level as other mediums has to do with the fact that games have so many MORE variable to consider. Player actions, game mechanics, sound effects, voice acting, writing, script, lighting, animation, textures... all of these elements work together to form the final product.

In fact, the best way to outline the complexity of gaming as a narrative art is probably the most obvious. Text is mono-dimensional--you can only perceive it on a single level--through the eyes. Film is two-dimensional, you can perceive it through the eyes and ears.

Games, however, operate on many more dimensions that other media are incapable of: you see, you hear, you touch--and often, you speak. The geometry is considerably more difficult to perfect.

Sheikh Yerbouti2289d ago (Edited 2289d ago )


I think comic books are an example of your theory there. I think the medium follow its audiences tastes, and right now the audience is more Gears of War and Call of Duty. If a dev wants to make the game emotional, his knowledge, skills and technology are all that limit him. The Kara demo shows the medium is making progress in the latter.

justpassinggas2289d ago (Edited 2289d ago )

I cried in Final Fantasy 6. And that was just a bunch of crappy, pixellated sprites! I don't even recall crying during a movie or even getting choked up.

This is because people get more invested in game characters than they do with movie characters. You form bonds and friendship with other game characters. In movies, you're just following someone else's actions. Some of these actions are retarded and something you'd never have done. This decreases our affinity towards the protagonist in a movie.

Bob5702289d ago

I never cry for any book, movie, game or anything like that. Ever. But MGS4 had me teary eyed and I was starting to choke up. No movie has ever brought me to that point.

Kahvipannu2289d ago (Edited 2289d ago )

Really, all of them? MGS was pretty amazing, . MGS 2 was just silly, and subjective I know, but still, Raiden was awfull main character, I just hoped he would had died away so I could play with Snake. MGS 3 was best story wise, and still one of the best cinematic gaming experiences out there. A true masterpiece. MGS 4 was a total joke, after MGS 3 I guess the expectationd were a bit too high, but I could not had believed how bad the ending was.

Actually, now that I think of it, I cried too watching MGS 4 ending. Not becouse it was emotionally effective or something like that, but becouse it was awfull, and cheezy beyond cheezy. Worst part is, I waited years to see how it all ends, and I really, really hoped it would have made honor to the franchise.. I'm still bitter and can't really believe how people praise that ending, or maybe they are just in denial.. It was just terrible.

2289d ago
SilentNegotiator2289d ago

I can't believe a person involved in making one of the best fear-inducing games of our time would say something like that. Seems ironic, as fear is an emotion.

Perjoss2289d ago

I agree, and here is a perfect example: film = 4 hours max running time compared to some games that can easily go 5 times that length without stepping into repetitive territory. So a 20 or 30 hour game has much more time on its hands to flesh out characters and actually make you care if something bad happens to them (Or if the devs really have balls, they die)

Frankfurt2289d ago

I thought you were joking. Crying to MGS's writing?

Then i looked at your avatar. Hilarious.

I've felt sad watching movies, but never with games. I can enjoy the writing in a game (say, Alan Wake) and even think the "acting" is good (Enslaved's facial capture and voice-work are amazing). But no game has ever come close to being as emotional as even a random drama.

CarlosX3602289d ago (Edited 2289d ago )

Hey, Amnesia dev/Thomas Grip...

Metal Gear Solid 4 says hi.

THESONYPS32289d ago

6 words: uncharted series and mass effect series

gedapeleda2289d ago

I cried to the first MAFIA back in the days.
The story is so powerful it's unbelievable...

DrAlgy2289d ago

I cried at the end of Fatal Frame 2, Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, and etc. I even cried loudly during an episode of FUTURAMA(a cartoon tv show) where Fry chose not to revive his stone trapped dog. That dev guy is an idiot.

Play2Win2289d ago

As much as I love Games there is still a giant gap between Games and Movies according to emotions. And that's ok for me. A few days ago I was watching "Into The Wild" and I really doubt that a Game will ever match the feeling I had after watching this freaking amazing movie.

Zeixama2289d ago

In these days , movies are alike almost all over the world ; cry in this part , get angry at that part , be sad at this part ... in other words , in today's movies you will know it is coming that when characters are gonna cry or be stupid emotionally .

If you wanna watch unexpected and emotionally good movies , focus on Japan movie industry .

Lately I got emotions on playing Elder Scrolls and Mass Effect and I can't recall any new movie that lately I have watched got me to emotional level .

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KentBlake2290d ago

They're STILL not as emotionally powerful as movies. That doesn't mean they'll never be.

Journey, Heavy Rain and a few others show that games are evolving in this aspect.

Pl4sm42289d ago

coming from a hardcore gamer . the ending of red dead redemption .... i felt so sad and angry , no other movie has done that to me

Bebedora2289d ago

And do not forget - Never is a very strong sentiment. Do 'never' use it, you'll only look like a fool when doing so.

Sevir2289d ago

Its a game that really takes you through plenty of emotions, from yearning, to fear, to hopelessness to anquish, to joy! especially the last 20 minutes of the game! i dont think my heart was ever so overwhelmed with emotion playing any game! Heavy rain and SOTC came close and even Uncharted 2&3 with their expert writing didn't impact me the way Journey did! I have to say I can't wait for the result of Quantic dream's new game! "Kara" really had me choking up! I hope that level of writing carries over into QD's next titles!

iamnsuperman2290d ago

I think they can be but it is much harder to achieve. I find over a series off games then there is a more emotional attachment to the characters but in a single game the attachment is less to non existent. I get where he is coming from but some games do have some emotionally powerful moments (looking at games from Flower all the way to Assassin's Creed- not going too much into that but it defiantly had one big emotionally powerful moment in the series)

Akiba962289d ago

I agree completely. The metal gear solid series did more for me emotionally than any movie ever has. But that was a gaming SERIES. There are some movies that affected me emotionally more so than a single game from the MGS series. So like you said, it can be done, its just harder to achieve (it took a series of games to better a single movie).
I hope that makes sense.

knifefight2290d ago

Shadow of the Colossus, ICO, Final Fantasy Type-0, and Nier say hello.

Laxman2290d ago

All those games are kind of underwhleming in terms of emotion. Sure, the stories are there and all good, but I think most people only get emotionally attached to believable looking characters (realistic graphically). Hence why the likes of Mass Effect and Heavy Rain are often cited as getting some of the most emotional responses in gaming. You should try more western games.

knifefight2289d ago (Edited 2289d ago )

Yeah I guess you're right crying isn't an emotional response and my opinion is probably wrong.


Edit: I have the games you mentioned.
They were amazing but kind of underwhelming in terms of emotion. Sure, the stories were there and all good, but I think most people only get emotionally attached to what hits home with them personally (through a strong narrative, which tends to be deliberate in Japanese games and left to powerful subtlety in Western games, making both very emotional). Portal 2, on the other hand, had both the story quality and the emotion pulling, from where I'm sitting ^_^

You should really try a wider variety of games and not judge others' emotional responses based on the region of a few sample games on a shortened list of their posts.

JoySticksFTW2289d ago (Edited 2289d ago )

I dunno...

Happiness and excitement are emotions too.

Uncharted game burst with those fun qualities as much as an Indiana Jones movie

And MGS3's flower patch fight and outcome, and MGS4's scenes building towards the end are pretty sad

SotC when you find out what you're really up to is sad.

And heck Demons Souls' environments alone can leave you feeling desolate, hopeless, and alone

Simon_Brezhnev2289d ago

I have to agree with knifefight. I love western games but when you focus on 1 character like in most jrpgs and even wrpgs(Witcher) it makes the emotional responses a lot better. I think 1st time i actually felt emotional response was probably FF series. Heavy Rain did it but not ME if anything bioware ruined ME series.

beastlysensation2290d ago

i completely disagree with this. Some games are so well written they make you cry. Its not just about the cutscenes, but about the writing as well. Bioschock 1 had amazing writing, me2 had an insane ending that had me cheering more than a cheesy black people inspirational movie, witcher 2 had me intrigued in its political scrambles full of racism and sex, alan wake was like watching a tv show with good writing and many more.

Laxman2290d ago

"cheering more than a cheesy black people inspirational movie"

Possibly the best thing ive ever read on this site!

BubloZX2289d ago

this only shows the ignorance of some people.

Simon_Brezhnev2289d ago

funny how you try to throw that racist joke in.

unknownhero11232289d ago

even funnier that laxman thinks it's the best thing he's read. wait, mental handicaps aren't funny. I'm so sorry to those I have offended.

mttrackmaster382289d ago

What's so racist about that? Stop being so sensitive.

Sevir2289d ago

Because all "black people films" are cheesy!!!! >_> I'll file that under narrow-minded and ill researched!