Talking to Gamasutra as part of an in-depth new interview, Epic design director Cliff Bleszinski has been discussing why context and motivation still matters, even in brute-force action games such as Gear Of War 2.
When discussing Epic’s Unreal Engine 3-powered sequel, which is due exclusively on Xbox 360 nex month, the Gamasutra interviewer puckishly suggested that some people would ask – “why bother finding a writer you click with, because it’s an action game”.
However, in return, Bleszinski suggested that good use of context and narrative shouldn’t be ignored in genres that he works in, commenting:
“There’s a certain amount of people that will always not care about the action. I’m a big believer in empowering the user. If the user wants to skip all the cutscenes, if he wants to ignore the collectibles, if he doesn’t give a crap about the story, fine, let him do that.
But if we can grab you with the first couple cutscenes and show you this is something that’s compelling, then maybe people will want to hang around and pay a little bit of attention to what’s going on in the universe. Because if you don’t have a certain context to your game and your game mechanics, it’s not as powerful.
I think if you can believe in what’s going on in the world around you and really believe that this is a desperate situation, and that [game protagonist] Dom is becoming increasingly frustrated with the search for his wife, those are narrative hooks.
And… theater has been getting by with plot points for hundreds if not thousands of years, right?
So if you can infuse a little bit of that in your game, why not? Because ultimately, if you fail, and your game’s still fun, you still have a great game. But if you have a great story and your game is fun, then you just might have a classic, like Silent Hill 2.”
You can now read the full Gamasutra interview with Bleszinski, including lots more detail on the game’s design philosophy, structure, and the design director’s attitude to game creation.
Last Updated: October 27, 2008