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Jaffe Ditches Games With Stories

Zonk posted about 8 years ago | from the those-are-the-ones-i-like dept.

154

1up reports on David Jaffe's latest post to his blog, where he rails against games with stories, claiming that moving forward he'll be all about play for the sake of play. From the article: "Jaffe goes onto explain his thesis, believing many modern cinematic games don't properly play upon the raw 'real' emotions videogames can elicit: tension and release, fear and anxiety, triumph and defeat, and confusion and joy over challenges. We're wondering how Jaffe intends to make us cry without playing up the story elements, but we're interested in seeing him try. Maybe Project HL will simply feature an extended Path of Hades sequence ripped from God of War. I simply loved climbing those spiked poles for over an hour."

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154 comments

no story? Baloney (3, Insightful)

AcidLacedPenguiN (835552) | about 8 years ago | (#15736564)

Good luck. I normally lose interest and never finish games if they have no story.

Plot does not always matter (3, Funny)

why-is-it (318134) | about 8 years ago | (#15736602)

Good luck. I normally lose interest and never finish games if they have no story.

I know what you mean. I mean, I simply couldn't get into Pac-Man. Why was he eating those dots? What was the backstory with the ghosts? Who could play a game like that which had no plot whatsoever...

Re:Plot does not always matter (2, Funny)

Digital Vomit (891734) | about 8 years ago | (#15736791)

Well, I never bothered to finish Pac-Man. Did you?

Re:Plot does not always matter (1)

YamadaJiro (596154) | about 8 years ago | (#15736805)

Did "finishing" even matter? Should it?

Re:Plot does not always matter (1)

Pzychotix (949807) | about 8 years ago | (#15736881)

I think the more releveant question is:

Could you? Could you finish the game? Within a reasonable amount of quarters that is.

there wasn't an "end" (1)

BitterAndDrunk (799378) | about 8 years ago | (#15738241)

Similar to Galaga and most games from that era, there was a point where the boards stop changing essentially. In Pac Man, once you hit one of the top fruits, it was unchanging in terms of speed and the like.

Ms Pacman introduced the cut scenes and "story" to the game, which (I suppose) could be said to finish when you see the final cutscene with JR Pacman. However, there was one more level set afterwards, IIRC. (that's a big if; it might have been the repeat of the board prior to getting the Jr cut scene, at which time the boards stopped repeating)

Re:Plot does not always matter (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | about 8 years ago | (#15737220)

EXACTLY! Soooo many sports are this way too! Think about Golf: is there are reason the ball wants to go to the hole? Or maybe it doesn't want to and that's the whole twist. Maybe I was the bad guy all along! Maan, that sucks! It makes it hard to concentrate. Like when I'm sacking the quarterback I sometimes stop and think -- is there a reason that he wants that lump of pig skin to make it to the end zone? Is that like ball heaven or something? As though my end zone wasn't just as good? That is why sports suck.

Re:Plot does not always matter (1)

AndresCP (979913) | about 8 years ago | (#15737221)

You laugh, but I'm almost like that, and it was a lot worse when I was younger. I really like to have some motivation for doing what I'm doing, but it doesn't take much. For instance, knowing simply that Ninjas have kidnapped the president and that only I may be a bad enough dude to save him is enogh for me.

Re:no story? Baloney (2, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | about 8 years ago | (#15736617)

I normally lose interest and never finish games if they have no story.

Really? So you must not have been a fan of Street Fighter II, Wolf3D, Galaga, Quake, S.T.U.N. Runner, Killer Instinct, San Francisco Rush, After Burner, Super Mario Bros., Sonic the Hedgehog, Starfox, Contra, Lemmings, etc., etc., etc.

How sad. :(

More likely, you've just forgotten that games can be fun without being a cinematic, first-person shooter.

Re:no story? Baloney (1)

RingDev (879105) | about 8 years ago | (#15736721)

Think of it like movies. If a movie has a crappy story, it's not likely worth watching. Unless it has some alternative perk...

If a game has mediocre game play (the vast majority of them do) then the story is what saves the game and makes it worth while. If a game has excellent game play, then the story is not as big of a deal.

It's like this movie I saw a while back, it was a collection of short skits. The acting was horrid, there was virtually no story, but each of the skits (Chimney Inspector, Pizza Delivery Man, and Wash Maids) had that little something extra that made up for the cheesy dialog ("eeeeewwww, what's up my flue?", or my personal favorite, "Toe cramp!!!!!")

-Rick

Re:no story? Baloney (1)

Valthan (977851) | about 8 years ago | (#15736753)

That sounds like a porno I watched the other day...

"eww, what's up my flue?" I think that one is self explanitory...
"Toe cramp!" she change how she was kneeling

Re:no story? Baloney (4, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | about 8 years ago | (#15736837)

If a game has mediocre game play (the vast majority of them do) then the story is what saves the game and makes it worth while.

I hate to be cliche, but go read a book. Life is too short to play lousy games just to "experiece" a thoroughly rehashed story.

Re:no story? Baloney (1)

RingDev (879105) | about 8 years ago | (#15737036)

Actually, I'm an avid reader, Book 8 of the "Sword of Truth" series is coming out in a few days and I'm totally looking forward to enjoying it.

But at the same time, a person can still enjoy a story in other mediums. I enjoy stories, whether those stories come from books, movies, TV, video games, or RPGs, I enjoy it. There have been a few games with good stories that made up for so-so game play. Both of the Vampire: the Masquerade games had interesting and exciting story lines to help out the average TPS game play. Lately, I've been playing through BG2, and I find the story, and the inter-character development quite interesting.

-Rick

Re:no story? Baloney (1, Interesting)

Gulthek (12570) | about 8 years ago | (#15737173)

How about some Faulkner, or Gabriel Garcia Marquez, or Dickens, or Fitzgerald, or Melville, or Mo Yan?

Or even some poetry? e.e. cummings, Robert Frost, William Carlos Williams, T.S. Elliot?

You know, real reading? Goodkind and others have their place, but hardly qualifies one as an 'avid' reader. Otherwise why not say, "Yeah I'm an avid reader, I read TV Guide every week!"

Why yes! I am a book snob, why do you ask?

Re:no story? Baloney (1)

RingDev (879105) | about 8 years ago | (#15737411)

Dickens and Fitzgerald bored the crap out of me.

Frost and Elliot had some interesting stuff, but I'm not a huge poetry buff.

"You know, real reading? Goodkind and others have their place, but hardly qualifies one as an 'avid' reader. Otherwise why not say, "Yeah I'm an avid reader, I read TV Guide every week!"

That's got to be one of the most retarded things I've ever heard said by someone of intelligence. That's the equivalent of an auto mechanic telling a air frame mechanic that he is not a "real" mechanic. Or a Linux network admin telling a Windows network admin that he's not a "real" admin. Or a Christian telling a Muslim that they are not "really" religious.

The word "avid" only means that you are extremely interested in the subject. So yes, someone who read the TV Guide could be called an "Avid TV Guide reader". To be an avid reader, one doesn't have to read classic literature, they just need to be enthusiastic about reading.

As for Goodkind, I find his mix of character and inter-character development, military strategy, and action sequence writing to be quite entertaining. If I had more time I would re-read the whole series before picking up the new book, but it's my birthday later this week and I have a feeling my wife may have already ordered it ;)

-Rick

Re:no story? Baloney (1, Offtopic)

Gulthek (12570) | about 8 years ago | (#15737708)

Avid: Ardently desirous, extremely eager, greedy.

An avid reader reads *everything*. I am an avid reader, I will read anything by anyone as long as I can understand it (and sometimes even if I can't, e.g. foreign language books).

"Or a Linux network admin telling a Windows network admin that he's not a "real" admin."

I actually agree with that one.

Have you tried George R. R. Martin?

How about the others on my "classics" list? 'One Hundred Years of Solitude' is an amazing work.

It depresses me when someone says that they are passionate about reading and then cites Goodkind as their very first example.

Why yes! I am a book snob, why do you ask?

Re:no story? Baloney (1, Offtopic)

RingDev (879105) | about 8 years ago | (#15737874)

Avid: Marked by keen interest and enthusiasm

And Avid reader doesn't NEED to read everything, they just have to be enthusiastic about reading.

""Or a Linux network admin telling a Windows network admin that he's not a "real" admin."
I actually agree with that one."

The funny thing is, for how rock stable most *nux systems I deal with are, it takes a far more skilled and intelligent person to maintain our Windows solutions. So put your fanboi zealotry away.

"It depresses me when someone says that they are passionate about reading and then cites Goodkind as their very first example."

It depresses me when someone as well read as you shows that despite their obvious intelligence they have chosen to be bigotish and close minded.

-Rick

Re:no story? Baloney (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15737370)

Ouch... I've quit goodkind... the last one had a 300 page randite rant,
full of self indulgent crap, setting up straw men and paper tigers
for his ubermench to rip through.

First two were good, went dramatically downhill from there.

Re:no story? Baloney (1)

Threni (635302) | about 8 years ago | (#15737768)

> Think of it like movies.

What have games got to do with movies?

> If a movie has a crappy story, it's not likely worth watching. Unless it
> has some alternative perk...

Like being interactive, you mean? Where, instead of passively watching some overpaid (but hey, he's good looking) twat act out some generic revenge based bullshit violating the laws of physics in the process, you take control of a character and try and beat other characters in a virtual environment?

Re:no story? Baloney (4, Insightful)

AcidLacedPenguiN (835552) | about 8 years ago | (#15737076)

You can't sit there and tell me there's no story in Street Fighter (maybe initially, but by the alpha series there was a shitload of backstory) and to be honest I did enjoy most of those games (don't try and tell me that STUN Runner or SFRUSH are good games though)

I though impulsively that they'll make FPS games with no story, and no that we've seen close to a bajillion FPS games, the only thing now that can really make one better than another is story. Story and Gameplay. and if someone like Jaffe could make a game chock full of gameplay w/o the story, don't you think it would have been done already?
Also fun never had anything to do with what I said earlier. I had a shitload of fun playing GTA2, but did I ever finish that? hell no.
GTA3 and Vice City though, had me hooked enough on the story to actually want to finish them. same with HL 1 and 2. Not the same with Doom3. . .

And one more thing I wanted to bring up is that, all those games are old school. Try and find a good storyless game like those in the past 5 years? Did you? I didn't think so.
Old school games are fun because that's all they are, old school games. They were often hard or challenging, which kept you saying "Just one more level" or "I just need to hold on to the spreader until the boss."
Now however, videogames are just as much digital expression of either technological advancement or creative expression as they are games now.

Re:no story? Baloney (4, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | about 8 years ago | (#15737223)

You can't sit there and tell me there's no story in Street Fighter

I can and I will sit here and state that Street Fighter II was without a story.

don't try and tell me that STUN Runner or SFRUSH are good games though

Don't try to push your personal preferences on everyone. STUN Runner and SFRush are awesome games. Just because you don't like them doesn't change the fact that millions of fans would agree with me.

if someone like Jaffe could make a game chock full of gameplay w/o the story, don't you think it would have been done already?
[...]
Try and find a good storyless game like those in the past 5 years? Did you?

Allow me to introduce you to my good friends Sid Meier [wikipedia.org] and Will Wright [wikipedia.org] . Say hello guys! Hey, can you tell us about your great new games like Civilization IV and The Sims? How many millions of dollars did these games net you? You know, I hear that you guys managed to pull off these games with no storyline what-so-ever! That's just incredible! I've heard about games like Roller Coaster Tycoon [wikipedia.org] , but your offering take the cake!

Isn't technology incredible? Now back to AcidLacedPenguiN for a gloomy weather forecast.

Re:no story? Baloney (0, Flamebait)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | about 8 years ago | (#15737378)

I can and I will sit here and state that Street Fighter II was without a story.

Street Fighter II had a story; in fact, it had a different story for each playable character. True, all eight of them were simple variations on "I must beat the last opponent because of reason x, but still.

STUN Runner and SFRush are awesome games. Just because you don't like them doesn't change the fact that millions of fans would agree with me.

I doubt that millions of fans even remember S.T.U.N. Runner. That doesn't mean it wasn't a great game; actually it seems like many of the Atari arcade titles of that era had a unique style that made them really stand out. Klax, anyone? Rampart? Xybots?

Re:no story? Baloney (2, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | about 8 years ago | (#15737509)

Street Fighter II had a story; in fact, it had a different story for each playable character. True, all eight of them were simple variations on "I must beat the last opponent because of reason x, but still.

You consider an ending sequence to be the same thing as a narrative story? Ooo-kay.

I doubt that millions of fans even remember S.T.U.N. Runner.

It made it into the Midway Arcade Treasures 3 [wikipedia.org] pack right alongside Rush 2049. So it must be at least somewhat well remembered. ;)

Re:no story? Baloney (1)

Total_Wimp (564548) | about 8 years ago | (#15737833)

I though impulsively that they'll make FPS games with no story, and no that we've seen close to a bajillion FPS games, the only thing now that can really make one better than another is story.

Not exactly true. Battlefield 2 has very little in the way of story. What story is there I just ignore. It has distinguished itself quite handily from the competition. Counter Strike similarly distinguished itself with no story (who are those hostages? Why are you rescuing them? No one knows or cares). I know they're not FPSs, but living in a similar universe are driving and sports games. I don't really play sports games, but I hear they can be a hoot, even with no story. I really enjoyed Need for Speed Underground with no story and I thought NFSU 2, which had a story, was actually inferior.

If you like competition, you don't need a story. What the article is saying is you make your own kind of competition emotions, such as fear of losing or exileration of victory, without having to have your heart strings tugged by the gamemaker's yarn. And I hate to be rude here, but most game stories are simply not that great. If I want cry over a story, whether in joy or sorrow, I'm much more likely to do it over a movie or a book.

TW

Re:no story? Baloney (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 8 years ago | (#15737298)

Wolf3D, Quake, Super Mario Bros., Sonic, and Starfox all did have stories! (I bet some of the others did too; I just haven't played them to know.) Granted, they might not have been very complex or detailed, but they were there.

Examples of games without stories would include stuff like chess or Tetris, and that's about it.

Re:no story? Baloney (3, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | about 8 years ago | (#15737383)

Plot != Storyline

The plot is the fairly static concept of what you're doing, while the Story is the narrative that slowly exposes the plot. The old games had a plot, but they lacked any sort of narrative short of an end-game sequence. This has been hashed, rehased, and hashed again every time this subject comes up on Slashdot; always to the same conclusion.

Sorry.

Please deposit 25 cents for another lesson.

Re:no story? Baloney (1)

Crysalim (936188) | about 8 years ago | (#15737618)

You sure do waste a lot of time commenting about an invalid point.

Just because you think these games don't have a story, doesn't mean it's true. :)

Re:no story? Baloney (1, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | about 8 years ago | (#15737665)

You are an intrepid Slashdotter on a mission to collect karma points. Armed with only your trusty language skills, you must brave the dangers of trolls and downmodding. Can you do it, or will you be the next to end up at -1...

Look ma, I wrote a story! *rolls eyes*

Re:no story? Baloney (1)

DrMcCoy (941651) | about 8 years ago | (#15738131)

So you must not have been a fan of Street Fighter II, Wolf3D, Galaga, Quake, S.T.U.N. Runner, Killer Instinct, San Francisco Rush, After Burner, Super Mario Bros., Sonic the Hedgehog, Starfox, Contra, Lemmings, etc., etc., etc.
Well, I for one enjoyed (and still do) Maniac Mansion, Zak McKracken, Indiana Jones 4, Monkey Island 1-3, The Dig, Day of the Tentacle, Loom, Sam'N'Max, Simon the Sorcerer 1+2, Broken Sword 1+2, Full Throttle, etc., etc., etc, instead...

Re:no story? Baloney (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | about 8 years ago | (#15738201)

Oh, I fully agree that there is a place for interactive fiction. Those who know me, know that I've been decrying the lack of new graphical adventure games for a while now. My only point is that a story is NOT a requirement to make a good game. :)

No story is OK if the games is fun. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15736681)

Chess and Go and Poker kept my interest longer than most computer games ever did. And of computer games, Tetris was fun, and I know plenty of people who sunk man-years into Minesweeper, and Solitaire (tells you something about windows users).

Re:no story? Baloney (2, Interesting)

happy_place (632005) | about 8 years ago | (#15737073)

You make a good point, but I think in terms of game development, it's so much easier to ditch story. It is costly and you've gotta find some poor bloke to do the story. (I've written stories for games, and well... even when I tried to leave a certain franchise, I got pulled back in at the last minute, because the guy that thought he could do it just stopped returning emails, etc...) Story is a pain, because you have to have all these extra features through which to communicate it, and because stories are sequential they they tend not to loan themselves to games... because if the choices you make in a game "matter" they will inherently change the ending of the story.

So either you make a story and the actions in each "level" have no real impact. Or you provide a limited number of choices. Or you try to leave the game open-ended and the story often doesn't make sense... It's a balancing act between the game choices and a scripted "meaningfulness" provided by players.

Some games allow players to make their own stories. They tend to be open environments with lots of features, and the players create their own worlds and craft their own stories. Or they provide level editors so that if players want a story they can create it themselves, thus absolving the developers the need of creating such things.

Finally, RPGs tend to have no story, save a few catastrophic events that players are expected to "show up at" and stop and fight, and if you're strong enough you succeed, and they play the beautifully rendered siliconized barbiedoll cut-scenes... and well... with the success of games like Final Fantasy, I can't see this type of game disappearing anytime soon... but for smaller developers, such extravagant graphical eyecandy is still too expensive.

Best to stick to tight and fast games... until folks get tired of those, and ressurrect Space Quest IV

--Ray

PS. What makes you think a game developers WANTS you to finish their game? They just want you to buy it, and few gamers actually finish games to the end, even with story...

Re:no story? Baloney (1)

Crysalim (936188) | about 8 years ago | (#15737660)

This almost sounds like the rationale used to stop a game from having seamless controls, sensical characters, or fun "gameplay". Each facet of a game isn't to be worked on individually - they must all come together, or they all fail.

By the way, saying RPGs don't have story isn't a good way to prove your point.

Re:no story? Baloney (1)

happy_place (632005) | about 8 years ago | (#15738637)

Sure does... but games cost money to develop, when it could be on the shelves collecting dust, and just like testing, story tends to be the last thing most game developers think about... often when they've cobbled together an engine and such, the story is something pinned to the engine, anywhooo... In my experience (and it's limited to things like turnbased strategy games) the story has to fit the game, one doesn't start with a story idea. That comes last... in a way it's more an exercise in rational apologetics than actual story development. --Ray

Re:no story? Baloney (1)

twistedsymphony (956982) | about 8 years ago | (#15738079)

...few gamers actually finish games to the end, even with story...
Do you have anything to back that up? I'd beg to differ and with the handy dandy Achievement system on the Xbox 360 I can actually see how many people have completed their games [mygamercard.net] . I myself have completed about 15 games for the console already.

It's true that there are many more people who buy games and DON'T finish them then there are gamers who buy them and DO. But I would hardly call the number of gamers who finish games "few". Then you also have to ask why the person did or didn't finish the game. Did they get bored with it or just get to a point that was too difficult to pass and gave up? Was their driving force to see how the story turned out or just because they were having so much fun... either way with some creative achievement searching you can see that there are more then a few.

Here's the link to the blog post - skip 1up (2, Informative)

Pvt_Waldo (459439) | about 8 years ago | (#15736575)

http://www.davidjaffe.typepad.com/ [typepad.com]

Why someone would put up a news post with a link to a news post about a blog post is beyond me - unless they just wanted to drive traffic to 1up ;^)

EA will rejoice (2, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about 8 years ago | (#15736613)

After all, without a story you can do "sequels" (read: Count up the release year and sell it as a new game) more easily.

Games with a harebrained story are a thing of the 80s. Where you could come up with some lame excuse for a story that's not even thin enough for a B-movie and have the player pretend that his block is some kind of soldier shooting some other blocks that represent enemies with smaller blocks pretending to be bullets to free a block that's supposedly the prince... whoops, sorry Mario.

But seriously. What do you want to sell a game with if not story? Graphics? We're already past super realistic 100% accurate graphics. If anything, story is a seller. A good story that keeps you on your toes, making you demand to see what's next, even hard enough that you overcome the most annoying obstacle just to see how it will continue, who that stranger was, who fired that shot in the dark, who is Luke's father...

You can't even sell a beat-em-up anymore without a decent story. Simply because all the rest is, essentially, the same as every other game. What's the huge difference between Half Life and Doom if not the story?

One word (3, Funny)

BlackCobra43 (596714) | about 8 years ago | (#15736772)

Luminosity.

Lumines? (1)

tepples (727027) | about 8 years ago | (#15737518)

Lumines for PSP doesn't have a story to speak of either. Neither does a free software clone of Lumines [pineight.com] .

Re:EA will rejoice (1)

PaulMorel (962396) | about 8 years ago | (#15736880)

I disagree.

X-Men Legends II is a great action RPG. The mixture of fast paced group gameplay with character leveling/customization is truly unique.

The story blows. Having read the comic books and seen the movies, I can say that they would have sold more copies of X-Men Legends II if they had just cut the story. It's just the same old story rehashed.

I think there are other games that fit into this category as well. For instance, adding a story to Mariokart would be pretentious and just distract from the great gameplay.

Stories can sell games, obviously, but gameplay alone can also sell games.

Re:EA will rejoice (3, Insightful)

winmine (934311) | about 8 years ago | (#15737071)

What do you want to sell a game with if not story?

What about gameplay? As in, the expansive decision making process that defines games as a distinct art form?

What's the huge difference between Half Life and Doom if not the story?

You're being aggresively ignorant; I don't see how it's possible not to see the difference between Doom's constant survival action and Half-Life's paced and thoughtful puzzle mechanics intermixed with unique and hectic battles. They're practically polar opposites from map architechture to the underlying mindset the game expects out of its players.

Re:EA will rejoice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15738075)

"We're already past super realistic 100% accurate graphics."

See an optician immediately. I'm quite serious. If you can't see the obvious joins between polygons on videogame characters, or tell that all the enemies look and move exactly alike, or tell the difference between SDTV and HDTV (given good viewing conditions), or notice the fact that the rocket launcher you can blow up tanks with doesn't scratch doors, or tell the difference beween a videogame tree and a real one from a few meters, then you're either insane or half-blind.

Graphics look good nowadays. We have 3D cartoons down, no need for more work there. However, proper you-really-can't-tell-the-difference realism is one or more decades aways. The same-shit-but-shinier business model has a lot of legs left in it.

Re:EA will rejoice (1)

Total_Wimp (564548) | about 8 years ago | (#15738078)

Couldn't tell if you were all tounge in cheek, all serious, or a combination. I'll take it at face value just for fun.

After all, without a story you can do "sequels" (read: Count up the release year and sell it as a new game) more easily.
One thing I've learned from my movie watching experience is how awesome sequels can be. The beauty of Star Trek 3, 4, and 5 after the mediocre Star Trek 2 totaly sold me on this concept. Terminator 3 and Blair Witch 2 were triumphs along with Friday the 13th 2 - 13. I will never forget Matrix 2 and 3. I cried for Neo.

But seriously. What do you want to sell a game with if not story? Graphics? We're already past super realistic 100% accurate graphics. If anything, story is a seller.
How about fun? Competition? Rivalry? Curiosity? The promise of a challenge? Novelty? Reality? Discovery? All these things can be present in non story-based games. They sell well.

I leave you with the story of the Sims. The Sims had no story, yet was the the best selling game of all time [gaming-age.com] . It's 3d and fits every definition of modern gaming you might want to measure by. The Sims 2 sold quite well too and, yes, mostly by updating the graphics. It featured the promise of a challenge, novelty, reality, dicovery and plain old fashioned fun. Oh yeah, and no one had every really done anything like it before. That's what I want the next new game to be... new. And if they build it, I'll bet a lot of people will buy it.

TW

Re:EA will rejoice (1)

LunarCrisis (966179) | about 8 years ago | (#15738370)

"What do you want to sell a game with if not story? (. . .) A good story that keeps you on your toes, making you demand to see what's next, even hard enough that you overcome the most annoying obstacle just to see how it will continue (. . .)"

Hmm. . . I don't know. . . how about a game without most annoying obstacles?

I dunno, he's got a point (3, Insightful)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | about 8 years ago | (#15736616)

My favorite types of games lately are dungeon crawlers (Grandia Xtreme, Diablo 2, Dynasty Warriors sorta). I've tried Oblivion but the payoffs are simply too few and far between -- I can only finish maybe one quest a sitting for a grand total of like 43 gold and some rat meat.

For me, FF7 was a good blend of story and action (I've read several references to it being the first "boss rush" game). If only they'd let you skip cutscenes entirely (not just fast-read through 5 or 10 minutes worth) I'd be a happy camper.

I think this has promise (1)

Jimmy King (828214) | about 8 years ago | (#15736629)

If it is done properly, this could work out well, imo. I love a game with a good story, for sure, but you know, I don't actually go back and play those games more than once. I know what's going to happen in the story after I've played through once, so a story centered game has little point for me to play again. The games that I play over and over have little to no story, from the old NES and Atari games, to newer stuff such as Guitar Hero, Gran Turismo, or Katamari Damacy (which you could argue has a story, but it's hardly important to the gameplay). These are the games that I play again and again, because it's about the gameplay and none or very little of the enjoyment is tied into watching the story unfold.

True for other things as well! (1)

KingSkippus (799657) | about 8 years ago | (#15736841)

If it is done properly, this could work out well, imo. I love a movie with a good story, for sure, but you know, I don't actually go back and watch those movies more than once. I know what's going to happen in the story after I've watched it through once, so a story centered movie has little point for me to watch again. The movies that I watch over and over have little to no story, from the old Jean Claude Van Damme and Jan-Michael Vincent movies, to newer stuff such as Jet Li, The Rock, or Jackie Chan (which you could argue has a story, but it's hardly important to the movie). These are the movies that I watch again and again, because it's about the action and none or very little of the enjoyment is tied into watching the story unfold.

Wow, I can't believe that I used to be pretty silly, enjoying all of those movies with good stories! ;-)

Re:I think this has promise (1)

rholliday (754515) | about 8 years ago | (#15736902)

I love a game with a good story, for sure, but you know, I don't actually go back and play those games more than once.

You know, that's a good point I hadn't thought of yet. You do tend to play the "story" games once then never again. There are some exceptions (like KoTOR 1/2) where there are enough branching plotlines or the option to play from a completely different side, but in general it's only action or twitch games where you can get involved quickly that get the repeat play.

On the other hand, it's these same story-based games that tend to have the longest actual gameplay, barring repeats.

So fucking what? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15736637)

Man, fucking blogs as news stories? pull your head out of your ass. This is pointless filler and nothing more. What the hell has happened to this place?

Re:So fucking what? (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | about 8 years ago | (#15736718)

Slashdot's demographic is young males, a group who just so happens to like video games. It's quite simple.

Re:So fucking what? (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | about 8 years ago | (#15737218)

I don't think it's that young, though. Considering the love that Nintendo gets around here, and the fact that the people posting aren't 8 years old, I'd guess the average age is at least in the high 20s. If there were more teens, you'd get more love for the Xbox.

Re:So fucking what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15737657)

It's not about the games. I guess you're just too dumb to read the GP. It's that simple.

Umm... (2, Insightful)

CSZeus (593470) | about 8 years ago | (#15736665)

Wouldn't a better response to the situation be "People aren't doing a good job with cinematic style games, so I'm going to write good ones?" It seems kind of non-intuitive to say "You guys suck at this type of game, so I'm going to focus on making the kind of game that you get right."

Hades (2, Informative)

BenjyD (316700) | about 8 years ago | (#15736687)

I'm glad I'm not the only one that got fed up on the Path to Hades. It just seemed to take the least fun part of the game and stretch it out for ages, just when my interest in the game was already waning. Especially annoying combined with God of War's crappy camera.

Need a story? (1)

eighty4 (987543) | about 8 years ago | (#15736700)

Counterstrike, Katmari, The Sims, Gran Turismo, Championship Manager... Nah, there's no good (or at least popular) games without a story...

Wow, totally opposite. (1, Interesting)

Aladrin (926209) | about 8 years ago | (#15736702)

I'm just exactly the opposite of him. I ONLY play games for the 'story'. (I call it an adventure, cuz generally the plot is a little lame.)

When I get a new game, I want it to be new. New characters, lands, weapons, magic, story, and yes, new challenges. A 'perfect' game for me has all of these. A game with only 1 or 2 is nearly useless to me and I'll quit in minutes. (Tao's Adventure for DS.)

This guy is exactly the opposite. He just wants challenge for its own sake, apparently even if its been done a million times.

Wow.

Re:Wow, totally opposite. (1)

YamadaJiro (596154) | about 8 years ago | (#15736790)

"Challenge for its own sake" may have been done before- that's chess. But just like how chess isn't Street Fighter 2, there's no reason to believe that challenge-based games will be boring, "even if it's been done a million times".

And they don't have to be multiplayer to be interesting. I can still pick up Robotron or Pac-Man and enjoy it. However, I can't replay the old great Lucasarts/Sierra adventure games, even though I played the hell out of them when they came out.

If Jaffe can come up with something innovative, it'll last far longer than a game with standard gameplay and a decent story.

Re:Wow, totally opposite. (1)

Aladrin (926209) | about 8 years ago | (#15736909)

Yeah, but no company in their right mind will releases exactly the same game under a new name and sells it again. They add things to it, and one of those things is plot.

Soul Calibur is a great example. It's Street Fighter with a plot. The plot is very basic, but instead of taking away from the experience as Jaffe suggests, it adds to it. Enough that I played it for quite a bit longer than all the other 'street fighter'-type games in the last 5 years combined. You can't honestly tell me that game would have sold better if they'd stripped the plot out.

Oh, and with the exception of Arkanoid, I -can't- pick up old games like that and have fun with them still, but Loom and Sam N Max Hit The Road still tickle me.

It's maddening (1)

tepples (727027) | about 8 years ago | (#15737884)

but no company in their right mind will releases exactly the same game under a new name and sells it again.

Some people's ignorance of how the video game industry works maddens me.

Re:Wow, totally opposite. (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 8 years ago | (#15737389)

can still pick up Robotron or Pac-Man and enjoy it. However, I can't replay the old great Lucasarts/Sierra adventure games, even though I played the hell out of them when they came out.

And that's exactly why game makers ought to be focusing on games with stories: there's no reason for people to re-buy Pac-Man, but they'll keep buying new stories.

Re:Wow, totally opposite. (2, Insightful)

Chibi-Hikaru (969350) | about 8 years ago | (#15738030)

And that's exactly why game makers ought to be focusing on games with stories: there's no reason for people to re-buy Pac-Man, but they'll keep buying new stories.
Huh, I own Mario Kart 64, Mario Kart Double Dash, and Mario Kart DS. By your logic there's no reason for me to buy anymore than just one of those three games. There's no story. GOOD GOD THERE'S NO STORY?! What ever could possibly drive me to buy those sequals??? Might be because there's new tracks, new karts/characters, new weapons. Ie. New CHALLENGES (what games are REALLY about) due to new EXPERIENCES (the other thing games are about). Games are not about telling stories. They MAY tell stories but they are essentially about challenging you through various different experiences. If we were to extract this into the real world, soccer and football are similar games. The goal is to get the ball to the opposite end of the field. The reason to play both is that while similiar your experience during the gameplay of each is different. You also replay these games because they are challenging and you will experience a different game each time. No matter how many time I've played Mario Kart, it has been a different experience. How much of that can I say for something as horribly linear as FF7? You will eventually end up beating Sephiroth (essentially getting first place) and you will be all the other enemies/bosses/etc (the other racers) going from Midgar to the hole in the ground at the end (essentially the exact same damn tracks in the exact same damn order). So instead of giving us more games with more story (good god, read a book, watch anime, go see a movie), give us more challenging games. It's the only reason I'm looking forward to the Wii and not the other consoles is because with the new control design there is potential for new challenges and experiences.

Re:Wow, totally opposite. (1)

YamadaJiro (596154) | about 8 years ago | (#15738107)

You're assuming that there are limited gameplay possibilities, but unlimited (or extremely large) story possibilities. I'd argue the exact opposite: story possibilities have been hashed out through books and movies, while gameplay is unique to video games and is still very new.

I have yet to see a story in a game that couldn't have been told in a book or a movie... some have been done very well and I've enjoyed those immensely, but many seem to become "hunt the cutscene", with boring gameplay designed only to get you to the next pretty picture. Gameplay is the core of all video games, but people have settled for bland gaming with "interesting" stories.

Re:Wow, totally opposite. (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 8 years ago | (#15738200)

I have yet to see a story in a game that couldn't have been told in a book or a movie...

Well, if you include those "choose your own adventure" books, that's true. However, that kind of interactive storytelling is much better suited for computer games than it is books -- flipping pages all the time like that was annoying!

Re:Wow, totally opposite. (1)

YamadaJiro (596154) | about 8 years ago | (#15738308)

It's interesting you mention "choose-your-own-adventure" books (which were a lot of fun; why'd they stop making them?), because very few games praised for their story are actually like those. In a CYOA book, you could have ten completely different stories in one book; in your average story-driven game, you have one story with a few different endings.

Final Fantasy VII is completely linear- nothing you did would change the story (okay, you could date three different girls in a subquest). Even games with multiple endings, like the Star Ocean series, tend to make all the changes at the very end. The games most remembered for their divergence, like the Fallout series, are rarely made and are apparently unprofitable... it's a real shame. As for sandbox games like GTA, they like to let the player mess aronud, but then force them to continue the rigid story eventually.

So yes, I haven't seen a game story that couldn't have been made into a book or movie. I look forward to the day they make one.

Re:Wow, totally opposite. (1)

Teach (29386) | about 8 years ago | (#15737847)

I'm just exactly the opposite of him. I ONLY play games for the 'story'.

And I'm opposite from you.

If I want a story, I'll read a book. And I liked FF-II (US) but not FF-VII, because the latter had too much plot. Diablo II was good; Metroid was good. Whereas Metal Gear Solid III was brilliant but not my style. Even a game like Half-Life has, what, maybe fifty pages' worth of story? But yet it takes me fifty hours to play, which is just an unsatisfying story::time ratio, IMO.

In this big world we live in, there is room for all sorts of gamers.

What about dynamically generated stories? (4, Interesting)

spun (1352) | about 8 years ago | (#15736711)

Anyone who has GMed a RL RPG should know about the 36 plots [rpglibrary.org] , and anyone familiar with drama should know about Aristotle's Poetics [wikipedia.org] , which outlines the science of drama: plot, tension, characterization, all the way down to things like color, shape, harmony, and rhythm. We understand all that is necessary to dynamically generate interesting story lines which raise and release dramatic tension. Done by a computer, this could be customized to create stories the individual player finds interesting. Brenda Laurel [wikipedia.org] did some intersting work in this field with her game company, Purple Moon. Although it was a commercial flop, the time may now be right for her approach. She also wrote a great book on computer-human interaction, analyzing it throught the lens of Aristotalian Poetics.

Re:What about dynamically generated stories? (1)

bigbigbison (104532) | about 8 years ago | (#15736957)

Chris Crawford has been trying to do something like this for years and years and hasn't gotten very far with it.

Re:What about dynamically generated stories? (1)

spun (1352) | about 8 years ago | (#15737127)

I think the key is to have some kind of a sim running in the background. Have the sim provide detail and structure to the story elements, have the story elements effect the outcome of the sim. You aren't going to get the requisite level of richness and detail from a simplistic fill-in-the-blanks, mad libs style story generator.

Not to belittle a man who's done far more with his life than me, but I don't think Chris is that brilliant of a game designer, and Storytron is (from what I understand) more a tool for creating multi-branching plotlines than actual completely dynamic stories.

Re:What about dynamically generated stories? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15737498)

We understand all that is necessary to dynamically generate interesting story lines which raise and release dramatic tension.

Um, yeah. That will work for games at the same time that it will work for novels, plays, and movie scripts.

Good luck with that.

Re:What about dynamically generated stories? (1)

spun (1352) | about 8 years ago | (#15737687)

It does work for novels, at least on a commercial level, if not on an artistic one. Can't remember which publishing house it was, but one of the big romance novel publishers actually developed a "program" (more of a flow-chart, really. This was before computers) that outlined the various plot elements necessary to create a commercially successful romance novel. The publisher hired unkown authors who would basically fill in the blanks according to the formula.

See my comment below about filling in the details from a sim. The sim can provide a lot of detail for the story generator to use, and the story can impact the sim. We aren't talking about having a computer generate great art here, just a random story that still adheres to the rules of drama.

But thanks for your constructive criticism of my ideas, I'm always grateful when someone gives me a thoughtful critique delivered in a civil tone.

Re:What about dynamically generated stories? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15738622)

You may be thinking of the old Hardy Boys/Tom Swift/Bobbsey Twins/Nancy Drew archetypal plot outlines. They date back to the 1930s at least, possibly earlier. Once the plot outlines were generated, the publisher could simply farm them out to starving anonymous writers.

That's a far cry from having a computer generate the fictional elements and "render" (author) them in English. That technology has never made it out of the research stage, and if you actually take a look at the results it's achieved to date, you'll see why.

I can think of no better definition of "strong AI" than a machine that can tell stories that humans relate to. It'd be at least as hard to accomplish as any other implementation of the Turing test. Frankly, it's a dumb thing to even try to do, in my opinion. You might as well attempt to build a radio that can win triathlons.

Misuderstood... (1)

UberMench (906076) | about 8 years ago | (#15736738)

I think that Jaffe is probably hinting more at incorporating story INTO the gameplay, as opposed to using gameplay only as a segway between cutscenes. Including dialogue without taking away the player's control of the character will create a game that's fun to play, not watch. However, have no fear, you will always have the Final Fantasy and Metal Gear Solid games to tell you good stories.

Narrative could use a break (2, Insightful)

MrNash (907751) | about 8 years ago | (#15736783)

Personally, I don't think I would miss narrative being removed from games, as much of the time the stories in games just aren't very good. Maybe it's simply that I'm getting older (dangerously close to 30), but I have much greater expectations from the sorts of stories that games present now. However, much of what is released comes across as something intended for a gamer in their late teens or early 20s. That's all well and good, and if gamers in that age bracket are enjoying these narratives, kudos to them.

Nonetheless, with all of this talk about "graying gamers" I have to wonder how much of it is just lip service from publishers' spin doctors. If we're such an integral part of the future plans of the industry, as some pundits claim, why aren't there more stories that older gamers can get into? It seems that for every Planescape Torment that is released, there are a dozen games that feature banal, emo tales revolving around angsty teeny boppers.

Considering the state of most stories in games, I for one wouldn't necessarily miss them if they went away, as I have little faith that we're going to see a noticeable shift to better crafted stories in the foreseeable future. Sex and violence does not a mature story make, and I really wish people would abandon this 15-year-old, high school kid mentality on the matter.

depends on the game genre (1)

Magus2501 (899681) | about 8 years ago | (#15736813)

It really depends. There's no way you can have a good RPG without a good story. In fact, the whole point is playing out the story. I've replayed Chrono Trigger more times than I can count because of the story.
With FPS games, the story sets up the universe and helps me get my head in the game. There's a difference between Unreal and Wolfenstein in feel, but the two draw on the same set of skills.
The same goes for RTS. Starcraft and C&C are essentially the same game, and the story sets them apart. You need to know the subtleties, but playing one is not far from playing the other. C&C isn't the equivalent of a sport in any country.
Another point to bring up is that multiplayer (except for co-op mode) doesn't have a story. I think that some people like games without a story because they may prefer playing against other people, not NPCs.
Some people don't care about the story at all. Some like RTS games or FPS games because they just like that style of play. They want to play the game, regardless of the story. A game without a story will appeal to that segment of the market.

Jaffe Ditches loves games with story... (4, Informative)

grumbel (592662) | about 8 years ago | (#15736893)

If you read the actual blog instead of that summary of a summary, you will find out that he is not tired of games with story:

As a game player, I find myself enjoying single player action adventure games more than I have since I was a kid. I get immersed in them more, get more wrapped up in the stories (even the ones told thru cut scenes), and actually feel like I am living the adventure.
So he isn't tired of playing them, quite the opposite, he loves them, what he is however tired of is developing those games, since the experience developing them is a lot less entertaining then the experience playing them.

Re:Jaffe Ditches loves games with story... (1)

mgblst (80109) | about 8 years ago | (#15737439)

Yes, I found a similar thing when I was working in a bar. Not quite as much fun working behind the bar.

No such thing as end-all-be-all? (2, Insightful)

MrSquirrel (976630) | about 8 years ago | (#15736897)

I'm not sure I'm understanding him clearly... it sounds to me like he's not just making one game without a story, but sticking to an ideal that he's going to be different by making no games with stories. The way I see it, stories CAN be an integral part to a game -- it depends on the type of game though. Let's say you're playing DDR... it's not the type of game that would go well with a story ("Okay... uhm... street-toughs took your girl and you have to dance to free her!"). Now, take that same "story = bad" mentality and apply it to a game like Half-Life ("I have a gun... uh... I guess I'll go shoot some people. ...'nah, I'll just sit here at my desk and sip coffee -- a resonance cascade is only theoretical anyways"). Story can make or break a game, but it whole-heartedly falls on the game type.

I personally enjoy story games, particularly open-ended or multi-pathed ones where there is a good base story but your character doesn't stick to a script.

Stories in games are like stories in movies -- if the cinematography is a certain type, it's fine to not have a story... but it is not possible to apply a blanket policy of story/no story to every piece of film.

Re:No such thing as end-all-be-all? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15738424)

I would disagree with story being inapplicable to some games. The invention of the modern "music game" came from Parappa the Rapper, which is extremely story-based. And the story worked reasonably well as a game story, despite not involving alien invasions, voluptuous girls or muscular men, shooting, explosions or car chases, gods or conspiracies.

It's just that the kind of story one might apply is non-obvious when the only story we think of is "hero saves world." It's quite possible to concieve of stories for games like Chess, or Tetris. To be truly effective, though, they *must* be tied into the gameplay on some level, not just slapped on as an extended metaphor.

Oh editor of limited imagination... (1)

idontgno (624372) | about 8 years ago | (#15736942)

We're wondering how Jaffe intends to make us cry without playing up the story elements

Two-word answer: gank camping.

Cry (1)

Spazmania (174582) | about 8 years ago | (#15736943)

We're wondering how Jaffe intends to make us cry without playing up the story elements

If I want to cry, I'll read a sad book ($6.00) or buy a sad movie ($20.00). In a video game ($50.00) I expect any story to follow me, not the other way around. Since I'm very good at wandering off in directions the designer didn't expect and computers aren't very good at creating stories on the fly, things generally work better if there is little or no story to begin with.

Story and gameplay are not mutually exclusive (1)

Astarica (986098) | about 8 years ago | (#15736959)

People always seem to assume game design is a zero-sum game, as if Miyamoto will be forced to draw polygons for 'even better than ever graphics' or write the story of the next Metroid game if he wasn't a game designer. The skillset for gameplay, graphics, and story are pretty much mutually exclusive so just because you do away with one, it doesn't mean you gain or lose any other component of the game.

As for whether it's viable to have a game without a story. Sure it is quite possible. You take a game like Grandia or Diablo 2 or Shining Force Neo, the game's story is pretty much an excuse for there to be more stuff to kill because the game evolves around the game engine, not the story. If there was no story in these aforementioned games, it wouldn't bother me very much, if at all (I'd ask to at least have the names of the characters I'm using, though). In fact consider there is no one I know of known for story-writing in games, it'd be far more likely to have a good game without a story as opposed to a good game without say, gameplay or graphics.

No way (2, Interesting)

elzurawka (671029) | about 8 years ago | (#15736973)

Story is what carries you through the game? How many FPS's is there out there now adays? How many more can u create...there is only so much you can with the game play? I dont buy a new FPS because it has an awsome new Particle Cannon or something like that, i buy it for the Story.
The way that you play the game isnt the most important aspect, its weather it draws you in, and keeps you interested.
I dont know who here has played the game Farenheit for the Xbox, but its probobly one of the BEST games ive played to date. And the complexity of the game play is pretty much, move the thumb sticks back and forth....w00t! Not hard, but the story in the game made it like a movie, you were excited to see what happened next, and it was cool because it was like your part of a movie. The game was completely story based, and i enjoyed it more then most games i have played in the past few years.

Story line is 1 of the only ways remaining to make your game original. Sometimes people figure out a good new type of game, but mostly its the same old rehashed ideas, with new stories....that is what makes the half life serice so much better then Quake...and so on...game play can draw u in for a few hours..but eventually it will just repeat. If you have a Story that playes out over 30-40 hours, then then is always something new, and you want to see what will happen next. If all your doing it killing your way through a level, just to get to the next 1, and kill some more things, whats the point?

Cinematic??? (1)

bigbigbison (104532) | about 8 years ago | (#15737010)

OK, every time this word comes up, I want to know what people mean by it (in fact it is the current post on my blog. plug... plug...).

The 1up story has the phrase, "cinematic games," but Jaffe's post doesn't mention the word cinematic at all (commenters have, but not Jaffe).

So, what is so "cinematic" about games? I can understand when people are talking about cut scenes, but other than that, what is so specifically like cinema about some videogames? (Unfortunatly, I don't have a PS2 so I haven't played God of War, so I don't know if there is anything specially "cinematic" about that game.)
   

Re:Cinematic??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15737426)

Play Knights of the Old Republic (especially II, which is the only one I played). Sure, it LOOKS kind of like a game but it is basically an animated "Choose Your Own Adventure".

Re:Cinematic??? (2, Insightful)

MojoBox (985651) | about 8 years ago | (#15737455)

There isn't. Games that claim (or are claimed by others) to be cinematic consist of two parts, the cinematic and the game, and ne'er shall the twain meet. Yet anyways. I suppose the game that has gotten closest to this is Half-Life 2 (or just HL if your going to get pissy about HL2), but while they admirably did away with cut scenes, they still had to find artificial ways to lock the player into cinematics, effectively cutting the game into the two previously stated parts. They also had to make your character a mute, but that's neither here nor there.

Re:Cinematic??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15738493)

I disagree. Jedi Knight: Jedi Outcast was very cinematic in its gameplay, particularly the lightsaber battles. The camera would rotate around a battle in slo-mo when a death blow was dealt, which was not only fun to watch but helped you see what else was coming at you and take action, since you still had control while the camera was moving. I believe Max Payne also did this, but I never played it.

Also, do a search for video from the upcoming Indiana Jones game. If my above examples didn't convince you that gameplay can be cinematic, the new Indy game should.

Stop paying attention to this guy (3, Interesting)

StocDred (691816) | about 8 years ago | (#15737222)

Jaffe is just dropping quasi-incendiary weblog bombs to keep his name out there. He has one of the shortest resumes in the business, but everybody bends over backwards to hear his latest "insight."

The division between gameplay and story is a false one. You can have great games with great story, and great games with no story. Why do people feel the need to argue about this? It's not like Jaffe is suddenly going to banish all bad games forever just based on his next non-story project. More than likely he's just out researching something public domain that he can decorate in spikes and blood anyway.

"Story games suck! My guy has tribal tattoos and bitchin' attack chains!" Yeah. I'll pay attention to Jaffe when he stops being mediocre.

Re:Stop paying attention to this guy (1)

Sage Gaspar (688563) | about 8 years ago | (#15737689)

Well, it's on 1up. I mean, if the forerunners of video game journalism think it's news... oh wait. Yeah, you're right.

Re:Stop paying attention to this guy (1)

Mac Degger (576336) | about 8 years ago | (#15738213)

Mediocre? Sorry, but that is n otapplicable here; his game sold millions of copies. By definition, he is good at what he does (ie make video games which sell/people like).
Sure, it might not be high Art (thank god for that...Art is usually boring and only for the elite top 2 % of snobs...look at James Joyce's Ulyses)...just remember that Shakespeare was a soap opera writer too.

His credentials established, you might want to read what the guy has written: all he said was "I have made a story heavy game, and whilst I like playing those kind of games, I have found that at the moment I really don't like making them. Therefore I am now making a game based on gameplay only."

The kind of game like, well, maybe like Extra Extend, or Rez, or even Streetfighter II, or Dance Dance Revolution (go Google). You know, games which have no story, but the gameplay is just fun. Sure, GREAT games can have an amazing story and great gameplay...but then there's also Tetris: pure gameplay.

As for your comment on public domain; standing on the shoulders of giants, man...never heard of that?

OK, no-one read the article and started bitching (1)

Alphager (957739) | about 8 years ago | (#15737248)

Jaffe says that he immensly enjoys playing games with a good story. However, as a developer, he cannot enjoy playing the games he worked on, because he allready knows the story and every twist of it. Thus, he decided to not make a story-based game, because he does not enjoy doing story-based games. Hard to grasp, n'est-ce pas ?

Here's how to make us cry (1)

DeeDob (966086) | about 8 years ago | (#15737293)

"We're wondering how Jaffe intends to make us cry without playing up the story elements, but we're interested in seeing him try"

1) Hire people to hype the game over the internet and in the medias.
2) Increase the price of the game by 20$.
3) Make the game unbeleivably hard.
4) Make the end of the game unneccesary boring.
5) Make the game very short.

The results:
Millions of copies sold for an overhyped, overpriced game and millions of people crying for their lost money.

Story itself is not the problem. (1)

MojoBox (985651) | about 8 years ago | (#15737357)

The problem is how Story is approached in most videogames. Most developers desperately want to be in Hollywood, from the looks of things. Games traditionally considered to have great stories (Oh, say, FFnth and MGS) told that story pretty much exclusively through cut scenes. This is bad, this is wrong, this is not how videogames should proceed. Cut scenes should be done away with. Completely? Yes, completely. For that matter, linear naritive structure should be done away with as well, but one step at a time. Videogames stand on the threashhold of becoming a very powerful story telling medium, but it's not stories like we get in books or movies, the game isn't TELLING you a story, YOU are telling the game YOUR story. The game itself is a pallete for the individual artist/gamer to express themselves with, for each player it should be an individual experience, uniquely crafted by you. Whether the technology is capable yet or not is debatable, but undoubtedly this is the way in which developers should proceed with "Story" in videogames.

Re:Story itself is not the problem. (1)

StocDred (691816) | about 8 years ago | (#15737431)

Or maybe, we could have games that do it both ways? You know, because the world is big enough to support several approaches, rather than Only What MojoBox Decrees?

Because everytime hear bullshit like this, I think back to those poor scientists in Half-Life, trying to move the plot along while I was running away from them to make their audio sink into my speakers.

Gameplay Story (1)

phhan (989565) | about 8 years ago | (#15737361)

The gameplay is the most important aspect of the game, hands down. That said, the story is what can enhance or destroy the gameplay experience. Let's face it, most games require repetitive actions with little to no variation. You can only go on so many quests in RPG's or build up a town and crush an enemy town so many times in an RTS, or shoot so many people in an FPS before you just get bored of the game. Sure, they can combine elements from the different genre's and make certain actions or skills unavailable until later in the game or whatnot to expand the gameplay enjoyment, but eventually you'll get bored or tired of the game. Like a previous poster had done, I've played Chrono Trigger about 20 times (and I'm actually thinking about starting it up again) after the year 2000 (game was released for the SNES) because 1) the gameplay was great (anything you did in the past effected things in the future) and 2) the story was captivating and kept me and still keeps me wanted to continue to play more and more to see all the different endings available. I've played 2 of the many C&C games and only finished red alert, but I've bought every Blizzard RTS as soon as they've hit the shelves. Why? Because Blizzard knows how to combine great gameplay and a captivating story to keep you interested in doing the same thing over and over again. Hell, I played that last mission in WCIII 10 times before I beat it. I was completely frustrated with how hard it was, but I kept trying because after all those hours of gameplay, I wanted to see how the story ended. The same didn't happen for me with the other C&C game (can't even remember which one it was) because after trying 3 times to finish it the hardest mission (not even the last mission) I just got frustrated and stopped playing. That being said, if the gameplay was crappy, I'd never play the game. I heard the Spellforce story is pretty good, but after 20 minutes of frustration trying to get used to the crappy controls, I gave up on the game.

Jaffe needs to stfu & gbtw (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15737796)

Some of us are lucky enough to enjoy all three steps in our day jobs: we enjoy the industry, we enjoy being able to contribute to conceptual designs and, we enjoy developing and completing projects.

So David doesn't like the workload required to implement his cool ideas. Two out of three ain't bad.

Or perhaps I'm reading his essay wrong.

And the thing is, once you have the IDEA, your fun- as a designer- is really over.
I'm thinking he's got a very limited view of his role here.

Can't you have both? (1)

whyrat (936411) | about 8 years ago | (#15737849)

Why is it people generalize games saying "all games with stories are inferior to games without" or vice versa.

People play games for different reasons. To me it's like you're comparing reading a book with playing a sport.

Read a book: there's story, character involvement, emotion, closure, etc...

Play a sport: there's competition, victory / loss, teamwork, patience, dedication, joy / sorrow / regret, etc...

Sometime I want to play a game like counterstrike, where it's fun to try and get a high score, or just blow off some steam.

Other times I want to play a game like Final Fantasy, where there's characters to learn about, a world to explore, motives to uncover...

Anyone spouting commentary that all video games should conform to one playstyle is building a picture with half of the puzzle pieces :( Video games should not be homogeneous... that more than anything else would alienate players. Variety is the spice of life right?

Shadow Of The Colossus and Ico (1)

taeric (204033) | about 8 years ago | (#15737947)

I feel like I'm beating a dead horse using these two as examples, but they really do show how a beautiful story can be told with video games. Especially if you are concerned with emotions being elicited by the game.

Granted, it also dawns on me that these two games may fall inline with what he means. Sure, they have a lead in story cinematic, but for the most part the entire contents of the game are removed from story elements.

Must kill programmers (1)

Franio (964631) | about 8 years ago | (#15738133)

The strongest raw real emotions in videogames are usually not the result of the story. Bad camera angles and controls during endless platform jumping often cause anger, rage, and even physical retribution when the controller meets the wall. One starts to ponder how cruel the world is. Fear and anxiety - random crashing does the job. Will I make it to the next savepoint? Triumph and defeat - what greater defeat is there than finding out 80% through the game that you can't finish Beyond Good & Evil because the key you need to continue appears above the ceiling and while the problem is known, there is no official patch.

It's not that he's against stories. (1)

kinglink (195330) | about 8 years ago | (#15738612)

Most of the people commenting on this are missing his point. He's not against the story, he's against large scale stories that are all told in cutscenes, I must agree with him. Half-life 2 does what few others have done, have interactive "cutscenes". It works well though it's not for everything, Doom 3 and Quake 4 both had well done systems where story is told through out the mission and cutscenes only happen once in a while when you MUST.

I wouldn't say his God of War game was too cutscene heavy though the cutscenes definatly killed the action and feel of the game. Instead of watching as the titan gets close and you jump on him, why not do it yourself as a voice over tells you the story, and then you'd climb up the titan, it'd take a while but the payoff in the size and feel of the game would be bigger.
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