Deus Ex:MD Writer:A Big Problem in Writing Games Is That We Have To Account for Those Who Don't Care

Mary De Marle, Lead Writer on Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, mentioned that one of the big problems with writing games is that the team has to account for those who don't actually care about the story.

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kaiserfranz1800d ago

I get it. Most of my friends just skip any possible conversation or dialogue in games...While I am the complete opposite. I wish more gamers would embrace the narrative potential of our medium

Kingthrash3601800d ago (Edited 1800d ago )

There are people who are gamers..and people who play games.
Gamers know what gaming is about, and reading or listening to dialogue is very important.
People who play games, just want to shoot and kill stuff.
Gamers are rare now....sadly

Alexious1800d ago

Agreed, it almost seems like some people play games just to tick off a box rather than to fully get into an experience that's unlike movies or other entertainment.

Imalwaysright1800d ago

People who play games for the gameplay alone are not gamers? Gameplay is what separates games from other art forms and is the only exclusive thing to gaming. Can't agree with you there.

sullynathan1800d ago Show
TWB1800d ago

^ he didnt say that. There is a difference between playing the games for their gameplay, and playing games just for playing them.

I would imagine that ones who care for the gameplay, want it to be great and engaging, and those who play games "just for playing them" do so to see pretty lights on the screen and kill time.

The 10th Rider1800d ago (Edited 1800d ago )

Yeah, I play plenty of games. I watch cutscenes. But when it comes to long, droning dialogue with multiple branches to peel apart the story, I just fly through it. I prefer the main story to be told as concisely as as integrated with the gameplay as possible and the extra detail to be there for those that want it. There's a lot of games out there that let things get out of hand.

The Metroid Prime games are a great example of telling the story through simple means, but adding extra depth to those that want to by allowing them to scan objects in the environment for more insight. It had some great lore, but it wasn't forced on you.

jessionpc1800d ago

Couldn't agree more, 100% spot on king.

sullynathan1800d ago

@TWB what the hell is playing games "just for playing them"? like if it is some status symbol.

Cueil1800d ago

someone who only wants to enjoy a fraction of the gaming experience... can we really call them gamers? That's up for each of us to decide for ourselves... I hate people who skip shit... I hate people who run through a dungeon on an MMO really fast so that no one can enjoy the process... I like to enjoy games I play and that means enjoying the whole of the game... for those who don't I hold no ill will... unless you impact my enjoyment with your unwillingness to let others enjoy the experience

Kleptic1799d ago (Edited 1799d ago )


You're slotting a pretty big demographic into 2 groups...and it's more complicated than that...and arguing from this angle takes on a typical attitude that 'gamers' are, in general, very near sighted about...

This has a bigger area of effect than just the story of game...You could use this same logic to say: "why do people play games on consoles, and not FAR more powerful PCs?...anyone that plays games on a weaker console is just someone that plays games; GAMERS use PC's to get the maximum experience"...

that is no different than what you're saying. The comeback is always 'consoles are more convenient, less expensive, etc.'...but why would any 'gamer' care about these inconveniences? Those are hurdles that should be overcome, yeah? And if you can't overcome them, than you're a filthy casual that 'just plays games' from time to time...

The real matter is that, in general, story telling in gaming isn't as good as movies or books...too good of a story, and all of a sudden it doesn't 'feel' like a game, it's too scripted, etc. (these are critic mind-sets btw, I've never had a problem with a game having too complex or forced a story, as long as it is well realized, i.e. MGS4)...

like it or not...casual gaming wins...everything is more focused on casual audiences because they're were the money is, and they're were the numbers are...consoles ARE casual electronics, but digging into that debate ruffles feathers for whatever reason. Some people do enjoy games for their gameplay, and are aware that a very large portion of video games have absolutely laughable, recycled, tired stories that its not worth giving them the attention...and just get down to what you want in the first interact with an environment instead of listening, reading, or watching events that you have no control over...there are better mediums for that, and always have been.

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Zorkaz1800d ago

Same here. It's such a shame! Mind you though, many game's seem to be designed around that kind of person. Personally, I've never been able to engage in any of the CoD stories, that just seem like a campaign for the sake of the game having a campaign, and maybe having some nice cinematics. Same goes for many other games that have that same mentality ...

KaiPow1800d ago

I'm occasionally guilty of this, but that's usually because I've already beaten the game once or twice and am hunting down the last few trophies.

OhMyGandhi1800d ago (Edited 1800d ago )

What I don't understand is why people skip dialogue and cutscenes, especially in games like Witcher or Skyrim. I couldn't believe it when one of my buddies was showing skyrim to me back it when it first came out, and he would run around and talk to important people in the game, and speed through the dialogue just to complete a side quest. Is that fun for anyone? you are completely a game, rushing through all the meaty details just to get a checkmark next to quest completion and clear the map? Why is it that these people will often snicker and remark about how they "always do that", and that they just want to shoot/slice stuff instead of listening to a story being told. If I don't have the time nor patience to play a game, I rather wait until I DO have the time rather then speed through the game, I feel like it's far more respectful to the developer that you actually stop and smell the roses, and get enveloped in the atmosphere and lore of a game rather then race to the finish line. I've seen people speed run through Limbo like it was Mario Bros, and I couldn't believe it. Worse yet, I recommended The Stanley Parable to a coworker, and he came back the next day, mentioning that he "beat it", as if that's some wonderful accomplishment. How can you care about a game, or the effect it can have on you if you don't slow down to match it's pace, and relax. It bothers me when people mention Braid, and Limbo as games people can jump into quickly for "those of us with busy work schedules". How about NOT playing those games if you have a time crunch.

There ARE games that you can play in that manner, like Super Meat Boy and Rocket League. But it's the people who button mash the "a" or "x" button to skip all segments of narration with their own understanding/pride point that they'll "figure it out". I get skipping tutorials, but when a game's writer spends the better part of 4 years making a game, please don't yawn and check your phone if a certain cutscene happens to be unskippable. Pay attention. Read. Listen. You'll be back in action shortly.

I had Bioshock sitting on my shelf, unopened, still sealed a week after it came out, and was terrified that I wasn't "in the right mood to play it" on a given day. The worse thing someone can do is force themselves to sit through a game when other things are on their minds. But when a game like Deus Ex has to "figure out" how to entice those who want nothing to do with a game's narrative? there's something wrong with that. They shouldn't have to worry about that kind of gamer, because that kind of gamer has no business playing a game that is widely known to have a heavy narrative leaning.


True, gameplay is what sets games from other forms of art, but I'd argue that so much of what can be done with game mechanics has been done, and at the end of the day, a game's narrative and character development may be the only thing setting it apart from other games within it's genre. Games also provide something inherently unique to them besides gameplay; the ability to develop branching storylines and characters whose motivations change as you play through the game. I am not one to argue over the importance of gameplay over story/narrative, or vice versa, but I'd argue that those who choose to play narratively-driven titles like the aforementioned Deus Ex should not skipping through cutscenes and dialogue.

Cy1800d ago

I agree. Too many people dismiss all video game stories as automatically terrible just because they're in a video game, which is BS. I've played a lot of video games with better stories than any movie I've seen or book I've read. I hate when people look at games and see nothing but gameplay. Is gameplay important? Of course. But so is story. And in certain genres, story can be more important than gameplay. I love narrative games, especially when I have some control over the narrative. That's a unique experience you can't get in any other form of storytelling medium outside of choose your own adventure books. It would be great if more people were open to it.

Yui_Suzumiya1800d ago


Life is Strange
Metal Gear Solid
Heavy Rain
Deus Ex
The Last of Us
Mass Effect
The Witcher
Silent Hill
Dragon Age
Beyond: Two Souls

Excellent examples of games to actually pay attention to :3

Chaos_Order1800d ago

I had a friend who played MGS3 and would constantly skip cutscenes and code calls because he was bored. Then he was constantly asking "who the hell is this" or "why am I here?" It was the most infuriating thing ever.

KiwiViper851800d ago

Unfortunately, this means that cutscenes and dialogue with tell the bare minimum story line, and the rest will be hidden in collectible emails for those that care, to find and read

starchild1800d ago

In some ways I prefer the term interactive entertainment, but "videogame" is the word that stuck .

It seems to me that videogames can be many different things and that people prefer different types of games and have different motives for playing them.

Gameplay itself is not truly unique to videogames either. Chess or Go have gameplay. So does a game of soccer/football. The way you interact with the game elements may be different, but it's gameplay either way.

I think one of the things that makes videogames unique is the way it fuses together so many disparate elements, such as storytelling, art, music, and dynamic gameplay that often evolves and expands as you progress.

That said, videogames can be many things and can include a different mixture of elements depending on the game.

bobtheimpaler1800d ago (Edited 1800d ago )

A lot of responses here are just completely reductive and absurd.

Narrative is only one way that any medium can communicate to it's audience. What makes games different and what can make games more than just retreads of narratives found in books and (mainstream) film is that they can break away from the restrictions of narrative. I doubt games will even push the boundaries of narrative given how sensitive and politically correct people are. Vast majority of people just don't appreciate literature to begin with, but that's another arguement for another time. Games can be art without narrative being spoon fed to the player or the game taking away agency at every turn to look at an "awesome" cutscene. Look at the soulsborne games for instance.

I do appreciate stories in games, I don't like Cod....the gameplay design and AI in those games is just scripted trash. And unless you want a walking simulator or a game where you just push forward and occasionally "Press X for automatic awesomeness" Game design and gameplay that has depth and is rewarding MATTERS in games.

If games are just copying narratives from books and mainstream movies and delivering unsatisfying gameplay, I'd rather just read or watch a movie.

Take the Order 1886. interesting story, albeit something we've seen before in one way or another, gameplay was ok but could have been a lot better, and is a trudge to get to such points. Could have been more enemy variety that required strategy awesome boss fights that required skill and use of fun gameplay mechanics....none of which would have taken away from the narrative.

A game that can tell a good story without feeling the need to hold your hand every step of the way is a far more satisfying "experience" than a game like The Order and many other AAA games that come out every year.

Imagine if the stealth section in that game was actually good?!?!?!

This whole arguement about "Gamers" and "people who play games" is just arbitrary. Like any art form/ or entertainment medium, people are allowed to be involved as much or as little as they want. At the end of the day, like with most books and movies, games are largely entertainment and most people just want to be entertained. Nothing wrong with that.

Gameplay matters.

1799d ago
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annoyedgamer1800d ago

Not necessarily, if a game has enough fans, catering to the lowest common denominator will not matter.

Number-Nine1800d ago

Why account for a small minority?

Alexious1800d ago

I'm afraid it's not a small minority at all.

Walter_Official1800d ago

I have to agree with Alexious, nearly all of my friends get straight to the gameplay when i let them borrow a game completely passing up the cutscenes ( no matter how much i plea to them to play the story ).

Number-Nine1800d ago

I don't or can't believe that the majority of people who buy a game like this neglect the story.

Maybe in general, especially when a game doesn't establish that it has a heavy story, the majority doesn't care about a plot.

Ashlen1800d ago (Edited 1800d ago )

Alexious is right.

You only have to look at what sells. I mean look at Overwatch it has zero story but in its first week it will basically sell more copies than Uncharted 4 or Quantum Break will in there lifetimes.

The masses don't care about narrative or story they just want to run around and point the center of the screen at things.

And as a reply to your earlier statement Alexious it's pretty much the same with movies. You can have a totally heart wrenching story in a movie but it will never pull the numbers of an action movie with big explosions.

showtimefolks1800d ago

My friend we are the minority. We are the vocal minority

Why do you think cod sells every year. Most people that play cod never go to a gaming site. They buy 3 to 4 sane franchises yearly to play online


There is a reason star wars battlefront sold 14 plus million with the amount of content it had

Erik73571800d ago (Edited 1800d ago )

Majority of people who buy dues ex mankind divided probably are into reading dialogue and not skipping cutscenes though....

I have friends wanting to get this game too, a lot more people know about deus ex mankind divided than dues ex human when it came out.

Ashlen1800d ago


Yeah, but do you think it will sell even 1/4 of the units as the games Showtime listed? Of course not.

CanadianTurtle1800d ago

Well games like CoD that continue to sell millions, and successful games like League of Legends shows that most gamers prefer gameplay over story. That's not to say that gamers who enjoy story oriented games are a "minority." There's still a big market for games with strong narratives, it's just nowhere as big as games that focus on online gameplay.

Number-Nine1800d ago

Those who are buying Deus Ex are getting it for different reasons.

coolbeans1800d ago

As others have mentioned here, you'd be surprised at the sheer size of that 'small minority.' It'd be interesting to see some expansive survey's results of just how many people want to skip any story bits to get right into the gameplay. While this is just anecdotal evidence, I believe more of my close gaming friends don't want to invest much into any game's story like this writer details here.

moegooner881800d ago (Edited 1800d ago )

Agreed. One time Ubisoft started a poll on Facebook about what mattered most in AC games and 78% chose story. So yeah, very small minority

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showtimefolks1800d ago

Single player games cost a lot more to develop than MP.

The recent trend of only focusing on MP is kind of scary. But 2016 is filled with story driven games

I can't wait to buy dues ex. I think this game will be the sleeper hit contender for game of the year. They have taken everything frI'm human revolution and made big improvements

Combat is a real option

The 10th Rider1800d ago

I honestly think it's the biggest contender left this year. So far it's either Uncharted 4 or Overwatch (as much as people on this site love the former and hate the latter, they're both going to be big contenders come award season.) There's still a few games that could really mix things up—No Man's Sky, Gears of War 3, etc... But I think Mankind Divided is the biggest contender that's yet to come out.

Human revolution was fantastic, and the director's cut already handled a lot of its flaws. Everything I've seen about Mankind Divided seems to indicate that they've made a lot of progress in areas the last game was lacking. Assuming the game comes together well, it could be a huge hit.

showtimefolks1800d ago

overwatch will most likely win FPS of the year but i don't see game of the year winner being MP only game

but i could be wrong

uncharted 4
dues ex
gears of war 4

and maybe a couple more. i see these being on the list

Alexious1799d ago

Also, bosses are totally skippable from what they've said.

Kreisen1800d ago (Edited 1800d ago )

If you look at recent trends you can tell publishers are coming around to the idea that you dont need to make good games anymore. Games with proper mechanics, level design, healthy variety in enemies, well written characters etc. You can make a shitty one, throw a massive marketing campaign behind it and you have a success on your hands.

Spending millions on a statue in the middle of time square is more important now then hiring a good writer or coder.

Alexious1799d ago

Well, there have also been some pretty spectacular failures after these huge campaigns. So I'd say a good game is still needed regardless.

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