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Antoniades: Story is more important than gameplay

Tuesday, 27 July 2010 19:28 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

enslaved6

Ninja Theory co-founder Tameem Antoniades has said he feels story is more important than gameplay, and “if you get it right, both story and gameplay can be elevated”.

Speaking with Videogamer, Antoniades said during the development of Kung Fu Chaos he didn’t think storytelling was needed in games, but changed his mind when Heavenly Sword was being planned.

“In Heavenly Sword I thought, ‘Actually, let’s try and do a story’. Working with Andy and everyone else, working with Weta and having people talk about story as something serious – not something throwaway like we do in games – was quite eye-opening to me,” he said.

“I still see a prejudice, actually. I still come across a lot of people who say, ‘It’s a game and it doesn’t need a story’. You’re trying to make a particular point of storytelling, trying to refine it, and somebody says ‘It’s just a game, it doesn’t matter’.

“What’s more important – the gameplay or the story? If you’re doing a game, it’s got to be the story, actually [and] I’ll give you an example of where that’s true – Resident Evil 4.

“I played it from start to finish, I didn’t want to let go of the controller and I was driven through it. I just wanted to know what happened next. As soon as I completed it, you get those mini-missions, ‘Kill x zombies in an amount of time’.

“So there’s no story, it’s stripped out of all that and it’s just shoot however many zombies in however much time. And you realize – have I been doing this for the last 10 hours? Because it didn’t feel like it, as I’m bored within about a minute of doing that.

“So there is something, there is an importance. There is a symbiosis where, if you get it right, both story and gameplay can be elevated. But it’s really hard to know when you get it right or not.”

Enslaved: Odyssey to the West releases for PS3 and Xbox 360 on October 5 and 8 in the US and Europe, respectively, and you can check out our latest chat with Antoniades though here.

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34 Comments

  1. The Hindle

    This is looking a dam good game from what ive seen so far, id disagree with his statement though, you need both to make a good game.

    #1 5 years ago
  2. DaMan

    well, this is why i don’t play NT games.

    #2 5 years ago
  3. Redh3lix

    hmm, what a tosser.

    I didn’t understand a bloody thing when playing Metal Gear Solid 4 on PS3, but it was absolutely great to play.

    #3 5 years ago
  4. DaMan

    was that aimed at my comment?

    #4 5 years ago
  5. Boris Fett

    Steph, you’re better than this. You know that title is sensationalist and taking what he said entirely out of context.

    His point is that story needs to be synergistic with gameplay, not that gameplay should be sacrificed for storytelling. An engaging narrative at the right time, especially when it occurs *during* the gameplay, can take an fun moment in a game and turn it into one of the most memorable experiences you can have.

    You don’t just remember the gameplay, you remember your story motivations for your actions, the way characters reacted, and what conclusion your actions finally led to.

    #5 5 years ago
  6. Redh3lix

    lol no DaMan, sorry, not you. I was referring to Tameem Antoniades of Ninja Theory.

    Sos. I really should time my comments a little better. :(

    #6 5 years ago
  7. DaMan

    oh, I see then.

    @5 well, not really though. his point is that gameplay is useless without a decent plot. he’s saying that unless you actually care about what happens, it’s dull to play.

    oh and I for one, do remember just the gameplay in many games.

    #7 5 years ago
  8. DeSpiritusBellum

    @5 “What’s more important – the gameplay or the story? If you’re doing a game, it’s got to be the story, actually”

    I’d say that’s pretty clear.

    Fundamentally I think it’s pretty stupid to try and weigh the two against eachother. There’s no golden rule to making games, some games might need a huge depth to really get where they need to be, whereas others just rely on being an entertaining batch of mayhem.

    I’d say the opposite of his example is true for The Saboteur. I’ve rarely seen a story or a set of characters that lousy, but I still finished it because it was so much fun to run around blowing up nazis.

    (And running over nuns)

    #8 5 years ago
  9. The Hindle

    I think the best games have both personally

    #9 5 years ago
  10. Dr.Haggard

    For me he’s absolutely spot on, although obviously it doesn’t apply to all genres, and with plenty of individual exceptions. Nevertheless it’s nice to hear a developer ackowledge it openly, even if it makes no sense to treat it as a ‘golden rule’ as #8 already pointed out.

    Of course gameplay’s important, that goes without saying, but in many single player games story is more important.

    How many of what are considered the medium’s greatest achievements would still be anything like the amazing experiences they are without their stories? Not many.

    #10 5 years ago
  11. Dr.Haggard

    @9 Of course, and that was essentially his point.

    #11 5 years ago
  12. DaMan

    disagreed with that notion myself, there is such a thing as a game aimed at certain audience.. one that has both will make more money, sure. there have always been different approaches to games, there was Myst and Duke Nukem, Sega arcades and Sierra’s adventure games. for some genres, the plot does nothing but distract you from experiencing the game.

    I might hate it, the other guy might like it, simple as that. it’s all about preferences, how you like to spend your time.

    #12 5 years ago
  13. GwynbleiddiuM

    NO, Gameplay is as important as Story. Sorry Mr. Antoniades you’ve failed.

    #13 5 years ago
  14. Johnny Cullen

    I do agree that gameplay is important, but so is story, and in some cases, is just as important as gameplay.

    I guess you have to find a perfect balance of the two, depending on what the game is.

    Me? I’m more of a story person then gameplay.

    #14 5 years ago
  15. AHA-Lambda

    @14 – yeah thats basically it :P

    #15 5 years ago
  16. Stephany Nunneley

    Just think though, some of our games from childhood didn’t have stories. Asteroids, Space Invaders, Dig Dug, Qbert, Pac Man etc. Heck, even Donkey Kong and Super Mario didn’t have stories, just premises, like: save the princess from Bowser or a giant Gorilla with a thing for blonds, really.

    #16 5 years ago
  17. Anders

    I would finish a game with horrible story if it had great gameplay, but I wouldn’t finish a game with great story and horrible gameplay. Comes down to personal opinion, I guess. As always.

    #17 5 years ago
  18. DeSpiritusBellum

    It’s just the idea that story and gameplay are somehow posed against one another. It’s not a black and white thing, and to me it seems narrowminded to say that one somehow adds more than the other. They should both serve the same purpose – Completing the game.

    Mario strikes me as a good example. The story is completely retarded, but it totally fits together with the rest of the game, and justifies the gameplay. People accept it as a package, and so it becomes more than the sum of its very simple parts.

    Hindle is obviously right that the game that does the most things the best, comes out on top, but I still think that’s more about making things fit together well, than simply focusing on any singular quality.

    @16 Amen, sister.

    #18 5 years ago
  19. asdfasdf

    yes

    #19 5 years ago
  20. Johnny Cullen

    @17 Bingo!

    #20 5 years ago
  21. G1GAHURTZ

    no

    #21 5 years ago
  22. DaMan

    take a fighting game like SF, or Tekken. or After Burner. or Left 4 Dead. they need a decent plot as much as a great soundtrack. a nice bonus aspect, but that’s about it. charismatic protagonist(s) and immersive atmosphere are more than enough for those. different experiences. it’s like, let’s say travelling or something.. you don’t really need a ‘reason’ to do that.

    it’s like saying one that does both SP and MP is better, some games don’t need one of those modes.

    #22 5 years ago
  23. elronathon

    Games that we grew up playing in the playground or in parks didn’t have explicit narratives necessarily. Similarly, many timeless forms of videogame need scarcely any plot.

    Many great films have wafer-thin plots but excellent dialogue, acting and pacing. I can’t think of a medium that requires an explicit narrative (though an implicit one is often drawn)…games included.

    slightly misleading title – a touch sensationalist maybe :)

    #23 5 years ago
  24. Freek

    WOW. How can somebody be in the video games industrie and not understand games at a fundamental level?
    Yes, story is important in a narative driven experience, but it should always be fun to play and whereever possible the story should be told through the gameplay and compliment it.

    Never, ever should story come first and everything else second. Wich was a major problem in Heavenly Sword, the level design felt off, the combat wasn’t that fun, the difficlutly spikes were horrible. But it had nice cutt scenes, that diden’t exuse the rest of the game.

    If you cannot deliver on that, then you should be making movies or writing books instead.

    #24 5 years ago
  25. theevilaires

    Sorry its not and thats why I haven’t finished Heavenly Sword. the game was a fucking button smasher and I hated it for that reason. Story was nice though :)

    #25 5 years ago
  26. Dannybuoy

    And custard is more important than jelly in a trifle…. Yeah right! They are both as important as each other

    #26 5 years ago
  27. Filofax

    Gameplay is king in my book, very few games get any kind of balance between gameplay and story. Its easy to forgive a game with a shit story, but how many times will you return to a game that plays like shit.

    #27 5 years ago
  28. Crysis

    gameplay> features(unlockables, variety, customisation etc)> story> graphics, that’s just my opinion, but it may vary depending on the genre, like with a generic fps & even sports & racing games, graphics would be more attractive than story

    #28 5 years ago
  29. _LarZen_

    I would pick a good story over good gameplay any day. Im so sick of these BRAIN DEAD PICE OF SHIT GAMES.

    #29 5 years ago
  30. Crysis

    if story is so important, then why do mario games sell like hotcakes? it’s the exact same story over & over again, save that damn princess, i say LET THE GIANT TURTLE KILL HER!

    #30 5 years ago
  31. OlderGamer

    Story is far more important then gameplay is … if your a book/movie/or TV show.

    Really, for me personialy, I need just enough story to keep me interested and make me care. Beyond that, imo, the story should stay out of my way and not at anytime stop me from playing and enjoying the said gameplay.

    #31 5 years ago
  32. ivycrew707

    Reminds me of Red dead Redemption, I’m sooooooo bored with the story. After Mexico it just got dull, skipped every cut scene after that

    #32 5 years ago
  33. Newbie101

    Does he really, really believe this? Or is it another case of someone saying something stupid to get their game publicity? I can tell you countless great games which had awesome gameplay and a rubbish story but I can’t tell you many games which had a great story and rubbish gameplay because no-one cares about them. Gameplay always wins IMO.

    #33 5 years ago
  34. Sleazy Bastard

    I love a good story but ultimately, for me, in a game the most important thing is it’s gameplay. Out of all the games I’ve played, only a couple of them had what I call a great story (Read Dead Redemption and Braid, of the top of my head). These two were maybe the only games were I was playing to learn more and more about the story and what would happen. For example, I love Halo but I think it’s insane how so many people think the game has a great story. But even so I’ve play it over and over…

    #34 5 years ago

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    GAME has announced two exclusive versions of Halo 5: Guardians, and both are now available for pre-order exclusively through one of the retail chain’s 318 stores or online. The £79.99 Limited Edition Halo 5: Guardians, which delivers new digital content wrapped in a steel book. There’s also the £199.99 Halo 5: Guardians Limited Collector’s Edition […]

  • Deals with Gold: Far Cry 4, Assassin’s Creed Unity, Bioshock Infinite, more

    Microsoft has announced its latest Deals with Gold discounts for Xbox Live Gold members. Franchises on sale include Far Cry, Call of Duty, along with individual titles Assassin’s Creed Unity and Bioshock Infinite. The full list is below. Bioshock Infinite discounts are available for both Xbox Live Gold and Silver members. Xbox One Far Cry […]

  • Wolfenstein: The Old Blood has released, watch the launch trailer here

    Wolfenstein: The Old Blood has launched on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. You can watch the launch trailer for it below. Boxed copies in Europe arrive from May 15, and in Australia/New Zealand on May 14. You can grab digital copies from the following online services: Steam, PlayStation Network, Xbox Store.

  • GOG’s online service GOG Galaxy is now in open beta

    GOG Galaxy, the DRM-free online gaming platform from the folks at GOG, has left Alpha and is now in open beta for all to try. As previously announced, the online service, similar to Steam, is option. Players do not need to play online as all games are stored by the service and can be played […]

  • DayZ-inspired Goat Simulator DLC GoatZ is out this week on Steam

    Goat Simulator players can download DayZ-inspired DLC this week called GoatZ. According to Coffee Stain Studios, GoatZ is “the only survival game on Steam that isn’t in Early Access.” Jokingly of course. The DLC features: Mandatory crafting system because everyone else is doing it. Zombies that bug out. There’s a pun here about actual living […]

  • No, Far Cry 4 is not currently free on PSN

    You may have seen a few Tweets from people saying that the PS4 version of Far Cry 4 is available to download from PSN for free. This is not true. A few readers have tipped us off to what looked like a glitch on PSN that allowed players to download the full version of Far […]

  • Metal Gear Solid: The 1984 Collection confirmed to be a clothing line

    Konami is teasing a Metal Gear Solid thing called “The 1984 Collection.” The Metal Gear Solid Facebook page posted this image about an hour ago: The caption reads, “Step back into the 80′s with our new MGS collection coming very soon! Stay tuned!” This is supposedly in reference to the clothing line that was announced […]

  • Portal, The Simpsons, Jurassic World & Scooby Doo packs listed for Lego Dimensions

    Lego Dimensions is likely getting a few unannounced content packs. One of which is themed around Valve’s Portal. A set of unannounced content packs for the upcoming Lego Dimensions have been revealed by US retailer Walmart. The listings include packs for The Simpsons, Scooby Doo and Jurassic World, and most interestingly, Portal. The listings have […]

  • This is the most authentic recreation of GTA 2 in real life ever

    Affordable drones have many uses. Most of them are not nearly as exciting as recreating GTA 2 in real life. I am surprised it took us this long, but someone has finally captured footage using a drone that resembles the protagonist’s experience in the classic GTA 2. These aren’t just shots of cars from a […]

  • PlayStation 4 sales reach 2m in the UK

    Sony has sold 2 million PlayStation 4 consoles in the UK, faster than it did with the PlayStation 2 – the company’s best-selling machine in the country. MCVUK is reporting that as of last weekend, 2 million PlayStation 4s have been sold in the UK. The data is based on GfK Chart-Track estimates. This makes […]

  • H1Z1 gets female characters, skin colour options planned

    In an effort to improve diversity in the game, H1Z1 developer has added female characters. Female survivors can now be found throughout the world of H1Z1. Developer Daybreak added the new feature in a patch released last Friday. You will be able to choose a female avatar in the main game and in Battle Royale. […]

  • Possible teaser site for Castlevania creator Koji “IGA” Igarashi’s new game opens

    Either Castlevania creator Koji “IGA” Igarashi is working on a soon-to-be-launched Kickstarter for his new game, or someone is pulling an elaborate prank. At PAX Prime last year, during Keiji Inafune’s Mighty No. 9 panel, a flyer was handed out to attendees that showed what appeared to be a 2D game of some sort with […]

  • Destiny weekly reset for May 5: Heroic and Nightfall strikes detailed

    Tuesday is here and Destiny’s weekly reset is also here. Bungie announced that your weekly Destiny grind has now begun. The Nightfall and Heroic strikes are now live too. This week’s strike is Winter’s Run. Rainbow burn is back for the Nightfall, which means you do more damage with all elemental weapons, but also receive […]

  • PC version of Project Cars delayed in Australia due to severe weather

    Recent weather conditions in Sydney, Australia are responsible for a slight delay of the PC version of Project Cars in the country. Sydney recently suffered from storms that caused flooding in some areas. One of those is the place where publisher Namco Bandai was storing PC copies of Project Cars. The stock was “severely damaged,” […]

  • Twitch’s new process makes it easier for streamers to appeal flagged content

    Twitch has updated its appeals process concerning videos that have been flagged by the audio ID system. Towards the end of last year, Twitch introduced a new audio recognition system that scans archived streams and automatically mutes the audio whenever copyright music is identified. The system has been in-use ever since and Twitch has today […]

  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has a day one patch, but it’s not a major one

    The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will indeed have a day one patch, to make the first-time experience as smooth as possible. Like many modern games, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will have its day one patch. According to the developer however, it wasn’t born out of necessity. Miles Tost, level designer at developer CD Projekt […]

  • CoD: Advanced Warfare owners get free pistol today

    Advanced Warfare developer Sledgehammer Games is adding a new pistol to the game, free to all players. The M1 Irons is a new pistol that comes to Advanced Warfare starting today. The weapon is offered as a thank you gift from the developer. Sledgehammer says the Irons is good at range and packs a punch. […]

  • Fall down the Skullgirls Big Band music video rabbit hole with me

    Skullgirls is a pretty amazing fighting game, but did you know it’s also a passable music creation suite? Earlier today I was idly perusing an episode of PlayStation Underground showing off Skullgirls 2nd Encore, a re-release of the indie fighter packing in loads of new features and coming to PS4 – with full cross-play! – […]

  • The many uses of Wolfenstein: The Old Blood’s pipe weapon

    Wolfenstein: The Old Blood adds a sick new weapon to BJ’s arsenal: a pipe. In Wolfenstein: The Old Blood, a pipe is not just a pipe. Not only can you bash nazis with it, you can use it to climb walls, reach hatches, and even break through some walls. Plus? You can dual wield it. […]

  • Mortal Kombat X teaser gives first look at Predator

    Mortal Kombat X’s next celebrity guest was teased during the latest Kast. Today’s Mortal Kombat X Kast was mostly about all about Jason, but also included a very brief nod to Predator. You can watch the full livestream to see the tease in situ if you’re really keen, but IGN shared this convenient edit: There’s […]

  • Rock Band 4 has count-ins, drum fills and vocal harmonies

    Rock Band 4 will more closely emulate the feeling of being a real musician with some neat personalisation touches. For Rock Band 4, Harmonix elected to double down on player ownership of their experience rather than technical precision. To this end, it has implemented a number of cool new features. I am wildly envious of […]

  • Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z, Lost Planet 3 developer shuttered

    Spark Unlimited has gone down with all hands. The Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z and Lost Planet 3 developer has been shuttered and all staff laid off. Chief technical officer John Butrovich confirmed the news in a statement issued to IGN. “Spark Unlimited is closing as a video game developer. The ongoing opportunities for smaller mobile […]

  • PS Now subscription available on PlayStation 3 this month, Vita coming soon

    PlayStation Now’s all you can eat service has finally been dated for PS3. Subscriptions to PS Now, Sony’s cloud-based gaming service, will be available on PS3 from May 12 in the US. The all you can eat package will also be made available on select Bravia TVs and Sony Blu-ray players on the same date. […]

  • GTA 5 is even better with a gravity gun

    GTA 5 modders have made a dream come true, adding a gravity gun to your arsenal of mayhem-causing weaponry. GTA 5 isn’t ready for this. It looks like a heck of a lot of fun, but the poor old Los Santos po po can’t deal with the resulting carnage at all. If Rockstar were ever […]

  • “Mod makers should be able to make money from their creations,” says DOOM creator

    DOOM co-creator John Romero has weighed in on the paid mods debate. Paid mods are a hot issue right now. For years, Valve has been enabling content creators to make money from their work on Counter-strike: Global offensive, Dota 2 and Team Fortress 2, but when it partnered with Bethesda to offer the same for […]

  • Watch WRC driver Kevin Abbring smash through a DIRT Rally challenge

    WRC driver Kevin Abbring has been participating in Dirt Rally’s daily events – and kicking ass. Dirt Rally seems to have ticked one of the most difficult to attain boxes of racing development – creating something professional drivers like to play, and which rewards their years of experience. Codemasters published the video below showing Hyundai […]

  • Mortal Kombat X patch to bring PC version up to console standard

    Mortal Kombat X PC will be fixed tomorrow, NetherRealm has promised. The PC version of Mortal Kombat X has come under fire for poor performance, including stuttering frame rate and bugs as plenty. About 45 minutes into a recent Twitch stream, NetherRealm boss Ed Boon said an update will drop tomorrow to address many of […]

  • Destiny House of Wolves: all new Crucible maps detailed

    Destiny’s House of Wolves DLC will add four new maps to the Crucible, the game’s competitive multiplayer mode. Let’s take a look at all of them. Alex brings you new footage showing all of the four maps that will drop with House of Wolves. He goes over the layout, landmarks, gameplay styles, and other important […]

  • Custom Xbox One Star Wars controllers look very tempting

    Microsoft is celebrating May 4 by showing off concept designs for Star Wars-themed Xbox One controllers. May 4 is of course Star Wars Day and the controller concepts you’re about to see are just that, concepts. Or at least that’s what they said they are. There are four designs and they don’t look very practical. […]

  • Project Cars launch trailer is an anthology of race cars, set to the beats of Deadmau5

    Project Cars comes out this week and there’s just enough time for one last trailer. Project Cars, Slightly Mad Studios’ ambitious racer that has been in development for ages, is finally coming out this week. The racer received plenty of changes throughout its development based on community feedback and the final product will be in […]

  • Star Wars Battlefront dev reveals planet Sullust

    Sullust, a planet that has not been previously shown, will be featured in one of Star Wars Battlefront’s maps. Star Wars Battlefront developer DICE revealed today that planet Sullust will be one of the game’s locations. The planet was mentioned in the films and other Star Wars works, but was only shown today. DICE posted […]

  • Destiny House of Wolves: Tower vendor changes

    House of Wolves will change the inventory of some of Destiny’s vendors and add new roles to others. Here’s everything that has been announced so far. You know that House of Wolves will bring a new social space to the game in the form of The Reef. But did you also know that the good […]

  • Nintendo apologises for Amiibo shortages, will reissue some out-of-stock figures

    Nintendo released a statement today to apologise for fan’s frustrations in finding some Amiibo figures and promised to handle distribution better going forward. Nintendo has been criticised recently for its lack of communication when it comes to new Amiibo figures. Something which has lead fans to not know if certain figures are limited to some […]

  • Halo: MCC “a black eye for us,” Halo 5 won’t suffer the same fate, says franchise director

    The development of Halo: The Master Chief Collection was of an “outrageous complexity,” which was one of the reasons it suffered a horrible launch. None of that will happen with Halo 5: Guardians, according to Frank O’Connor. Frank O’Connor, Halo franchise development director opened up to Xbox Achievements about the difficult task of developing The […]

  • Destiny House of Wolves: weapon Reforging explained

    When House of Wolves drops in a couple of weeks, you’ll be able to change the stats of some in-game weapons. This process is called ‘Reforging’. Alex goes over all the details Bungie revealed about the new Reforging system. This covers the materials you need, the weapons that can be reforged and much more. Make […]

  • GTA 5 PC: control the in-game phone with your iPhone using this mod

    GTA 5′s latest mod lets you control the in-game phone with your real-life iPhone. Reddit user Planetleak wanted to see if he would succeed in getting his iPhone to control the phone in GTA 5. He did it and has a video to prove it. It’s not a mod per-se, but it emulates mouse and […]

  • SoulCalibur dev wants to know fans’ favourite characters for “something huge”

    SoulCalibur developers are probably working on a new game, because they’re asking fans to vote on their favourite characters. Project Soul, the longtime developer of the SoulCalibur series is soliciting feedback on fans’ favourite characters. The developer said as much in a post on its Facebook page. “Calling all SoulCalibur Fans! Project Soul would like […]

  • Jason Voorhees doesn’t look out of place in new Mortal Kombat X trailer

    Jason Voorhees comes to Mortal Kombat X starting tomorrow and it’s time to celebrate his arrival. Jason Voorhees, the first DLC character for Mortal Kombat X has been given the trailer treatment. Jason is part of the game’s Kombat Pack, owners of which can start using him tomorrow, May 5. Being an iconic horror character, […]

  • Dragon Age: Inquisition – Dragonslayer DLC announced, free to all this week

    Dragon Age: Inquisition is getting a multiplayer expansion this week. BioWare has announced that all owners of Dragon Age: Inquisition will receive a new multiplayer expansion, for free. The expansion is called Dragonslayer and it’s centred around fighting dragons, hence the name. Three new playable characters will join the roster as you explore an all-new […]

  • Sonder is still happening, and this is the best news of the week

    Sonder is a really interesting-looking new indie adventure, which I am quite excited to remember exists. We first heard about Sonder in late 2013, when its debut trailer introduced us to a Kamai Media’s ambitious vision. In the intervening months Kamai has been hard at work on its space station management sim slash non-linear narrative […]

  • Twitter axes playable Internet Archive embeds

    The dream has died: Twitter has disabled Internet Archive game embeds. Remember how for a few days you could tweet a link to an a game on the Internet Archive and it was playable direct from that tweet? Well, Twitter has cancelled that. All those tweets now just show links. GamesIndustry suspects it has something […]