Sections

David Cage: Game creators should write stories about themselves – not space marines

Tuesday, 22nd March 2011 05:53 GMT By Nathan Grayson

This may come as a something of a shock to you, but Heavy Rain creator David Cage is a bit full of himself.

Perhaps, however, that’s not such a bad thing.

“I hear many developers in the US saying the same thing – ‘look, I’m 40, I’m fed up of writing games where you shoot at everyone. It was fun when I was twenty but now I want to do something else. I don’t watch the same movies as I did when I was 20, I don’t listen to the same music, but I’m still making the same games!’ Developers are fed up – they want to talk about their families, politics, whatever – why not in a game? Why not?! There is no reason,” Cage told The Guardian.

“[Heavy Rain] is the one I was dreaming of. I worked so hard on the story, and it’s the first I ever wrote that was based on something personal. It was not about space marines fighting aliens, it was about my relationship with my first son and how he changed my life – and also about how loving someone without expecting anything in return was something totally new.”

That, Cage argued, is where videogame stories should come from: the heart – and not some marketing firm’s collective brain.

“There should be more people trying this,” he said. “Don’t write about being a rookie soldier in WWII, because you don’t have a clue what that’s like. Talk about yourself, your life, your emotions, the people around you, what you like, what you hate – this is how the industry will make a huge step forwards. I’m fed up with space marines.”

Say what you will about Heavy Rain, but damn. Do you have any envelopes that need pushing, because – yeah – we’ve got a guy. Now if only we just had more.

Breaking news

21 Comments

Sign in to post a comment.

  1. Crysis

    Well I don’t know about you Mr. Cage, but I’m excited for Relic’s upcoming Warhammer 40000: Space Marine.

    #1 3 years ago
  2. Telepathic.Geometry

    This is what I liked about Dead Space 1. You were just an engineer in a shit situation, struggling to survive.

    #2 3 years ago
  3. DeathJynx

    …heavy rain was great, but this guy needs to shut up already..

    #3 3 years ago
  4. Phoenixblight

    @3

    I agree and whats worse Quantum Dream doesn’t have a game out and he is just attacking everyone like he has a chip on his shoulder. Maybe because his 10 hour movie didn’t make that much? Great story and all that but I shouldn’t have paid 60$ for a 10 hour movie.

    #4 3 years ago
  5. osric90

    @4 Yes, I really preffer going around shooting everywhere in my shallow FPS games.

    #5 3 years ago
  6. Phoenixblight

    @5

    Did I say that? No, I did not. I actually prefer RPGs or survival horror games over FPS. SO nice try, thanks for playing.

    #6 3 years ago
  7. RockTwist

    “Don’t write about being a rookie soldier in WWII, because you don’t have a clue what that’s like.”

    If all writers thought that way, creative writing would be tremendously boring and dull. It also begs the question, why write about a serial murderer who drowns kids if he has no clue what that’s like.

    The only thing I think of reading this article is a character with Matrix like abilities, running from a legion of police officers and Kung Fu kicking a helicopter. *cough* Fahrenheit *cough*.

    #7 3 years ago
  8. Zurtech

    I dost think he misses the point in a lot games, they’re there for fun and a touch escapism. Personally I’d much rather play a game that’s not about real life, is enough shit in the world as it is.
    And I really don’t wanna know about Developer’s lives, I want to know about the stories they can tell.

    #8 3 years ago
  9. Blerk

    It would be nice to have a few more games which didn’t feature shooting people in the face. Just for the sake of variety, like.

    #9 3 years ago
  10. itsucks

    “Don’t write about being a rookie soldier in WWII, because you don’t have a clue what that’s like.”

    Oh Mr. pretentious douchebag, but you would know what it is like to be a private eye or a killer, would you? It’s a little thing called history research you asshat. Someting you wouldn’t know going how atrocious and mediocre your writing skills & plotholes are and the shitty stories you try to shat out.

    Oh, but do keep on going crying out to every media outlet how great, pioneer YOU & your games are, forgeting the subpar opionions people have about your crap games. If only “journalists” grew a pair and confronted you with your crap, and wouldn’t just let it go like this: http://www.joystiq.com/2010/03/19/interview-spoiling-heavy-rain-with-david-cage/

    #10 3 years ago
  11. Blerk

    Maybe he goes out at the weekend murdering people. We don’t know.

    #11 3 years ago
  12. Shonak

    I don’t see as radical as he does, but I appreciate it in books for example when an Author builds in personal stuff, experience, knowledge, acknowledgement for other authors (and I think, “oh hell yeah, he likes hemmingway, that’s the way to go”) and so on. However, Games are a different thing and e.g. the beginning of Heavy Rain was just dull to play, as was this entire game kinda. So, like all the others, I don’t agree with him.

    #12 3 years ago
  13. viralshag

    “Talk about yourself, your life, your emotions, the people around you, what you like, what you hate – this is how the industry will make a huge step forwards. I’m fed up with space marines.”

    Yeah this sounds like a great idea… Then in ten years we can have another developer talking about how boring it is to have all these “boring” games about peoples lives and emotions.

    Sorry, bro, but I rather play a game about a space marine than Heavy Rain 2: Developer Stories, a story about a programmer that can’t patch a bug as it continues to rampage through peoples games ruining their experience.

    #13 3 years ago
  14. OlderGamer

    I am a writer, I know spelling/typing jokes aside(that’s what spell check is for). And while it is important for a writer to be able to relate. I wouldn’t want books, movies, or games to play like someone’s twitter page. The reason I never played HR was it didn’t look exciting or fun in any shape or form.

    Games have certain templates. From George Lucas to Tolkien, from Mario to FF, from Halo to CoD. Most stories are reused and clichéd anyway. I would NEVER buy a game for its story only. To me a Game is about its GamePLAY. Aren’t you PLAYing the game, after all?

    Stories are nice additions to that. But I couldn’t care less if I am plumber trying to rescue an often lost and captured princess or if I am an escaped wrongly imprisoned peasant who becomes a hero and saves the Kingdome, or if I am a space marine with a super suit trying to save the planet from alien invaders.

    What I think does happen is that gamers play too many games. Become exposed to too many games to the point where they all begin to blur together. I said it before it bears saying again, you will get sick of mainstream stuff, you will become cynics, and you will be jaded.

    No matter how good the movies, if you only watch movies, all of the time, you will get sick of watching movies. Same thing with games.

    But if this guy thinks that mundane tasks can be worked into entertainment he is foolish. I don’t want to play A Toothbrush: Brushing for Smiles or the Toilet and You: Flushing the Big Ones.

    Of course he is talking about more emotional and interpersonal connections lending themselves to make well rounded and more believable chars inside of our video games. But still, tread lightly, the games we have today sell for one main reason and one main reason alone – people enjoy them.

    Revolutionize them too much and people may not enjoy them.

    #14 3 years ago
  15. FredEffinChopin

    There are some people on this site who seem to have some kind of mental or emotional condition that prevents them from reading articles past the title, yet doesn’t hinder their ability to comment. It’s ok, don’t be scared. I’m here to help you.

    “[Heavy Rain] is the one I was dreaming of. I worked so hard on the story, and it’s the first I ever wrote that was based on something personal. It was not about space marines fighting aliens, it was about my relationship with my first son and how he changed my life – and also about how loving someone without expecting anything in return was something totally new.”

    He is not claiming anything about the features a story line includes, rather the underlying themes, the heart of a story around which all of its components revolve. He doesn’t claim to know anything about serial kllers, he is talking about his love for his son.

    I’m one of the first people to jump on one of these outspoken developers’ backs, and indeed they shouldn’t talk if they don’t want the internet to respond, but one should still pay attention to what it is they’re shitting all over. The man has a point here, and it isn’t to say that stories about space marines have been and will always be lame. It’s that a lot of games are based around soulless plot-lines, with nothing but shiny decorations an tried & true cliches to carry players through the narrative. When one is writing about something they care about, it tends to show in a positive way through their work. That’s when people call something “inspired”. As opposed to something like Vanquish (don’t gt me wrong, I loved the game), whose story is uninspired and therefore totally forgettable; grunting man deliver one-liner >> grunting man kills baddie >> grunting man delivers another one-liner.

    The proof is in the pudding, really. I can’t think of another game where I was as emotionally wrapped up in a character’s predicament as I was with Ethan Mars in Heavy Rain. So I guess Cage’s knowing about the unconditional love of a father certainly did prove his point.

    Writing about something you know is usually a good idea. This concept isn’t news either, people have been saying and following this for along time, in film, literature, and even games. The most recent example of an artist discussing this I can think of is an interview with one of the (probably lead, I don’t remember) developers of Last Guardian, where he talks about how it was inspired by a new dog he had gotten. So when you play Last guardian and find a heart-warming tale about the relationship between the protagonist and his luck-dragon-like friend, you might understand what Cage meant. The writers of Last Guardian know nothing about riding giant flying creatures. They know about the bond that can exist between a human and an animal.

    #15 3 years ago
  16. YoungZer0

    It actually would be nice to see less FPS (Really, Homefront, did we need at all?) and more games like Heavy Rain, that try to push the boundaries of what a Game can be.

    @1: Warhammer & StarCraft are the only games that should have Space Marines.

    #16 3 years ago
  17. DaMan

    thanks but no thanks. comparing his games to Ico is like comparing psychedelics research to drinking with a buddy in the kitchen.. a matter of taste.. and why would you want to play Simon says based off something you can experience daily anyway.

    #17 3 years ago
  18. Rosseu

    I agree with #15, the game was short, but it’s story is one I’ll never forget. I really liked Norman Jayden’s perspective, and his acting was top notch too. Couldn’t relate too much with Ethan as I have no son/daughter but I feel I’d do the same if I was in his situation.

    #18 3 years ago
  19. KL

    @15 at least someone makes sense here,well said :)

    #19 3 years ago
  20. osric90

    Almost all of you have no freakin’ idea what David Cage really means. It’s not about A GAME ABOUT TAKING A CRAP IN THE TOILET or toothbrushing, it’s about getting you very personal experiences into something that improves the gameplay and let’s you experience the same.

    Saving a kid from drowning happening in the two games, coincidence? Playing with the kids in the yard made my eyes teary as being a father is something I didn’t experience yet and I had the chance thanks to this game. Every character is very, very well developed, every situation despite its plot holes which exist but for many reasons (one of them the final editing given to the game) and really, aren’t you sick of space marines running around and saving the day? They said it in Bayonetta (and don’t come mentioning the Diva May Cry stuff) and even Vanquish mocks of it (Vanquish always mocks of people, other games and situations taking itself not that seriously and using some cliché, parody, etc… but when it takes it seriously does it very good) and not everyone gets it. I’m pretty sure here David Cage is talking about Mass Effect (BATFAS anyone?) but he didn’t play it… a total mistake because the game is more than space marines. And yes, you’re commiting the same mistake so if David Cage can look dumb to you right now, you look the same way for all of the readers.

    #20 3 years ago
  21. startsumtin

    For is so called great innovation, has any other gamers noticed that this “type” of game has already been done? I.E. “Beyond Good and Evil”, Sega’s title “Shenmue”, Silent hill (maybe not so much), but you get the idea. What makes this pompous ass think he’s so great to put down other genres that are far more popular than HR with or with out his awards. No real original thought what so ever. A story about is relationship with his son? Yes let’s clone his game and make more. lol give me a break

    #21 3 years ago