BioShock creator Ken Levine famously avoids cutscenes wherever possible, and believes if you need one to tell your story – well, maybe it’s time to get a new story.
“I don’t believe there’s any medium that doesn’t have its advantages and disadvantages relative to other media. You just have to play to the strengths of the medium as best as you can,” the Irrational Games boss told Gamasutra in reponse to a question about the drama potential of first-person games.
“I think what you lose in being able to pull the camera and show emotion, you gain in immersion, and you gain in mood.
“What you’re left with at that point is to then figure out what your strengths are in the medium, and making sure you leverage those strengths, and wherever you have to tell a story you say, ‘Okay, here’s a beat of story I need to tell. Here are the 15 tools I have to tell it, whether it’s animation, whether it’s something you write on the wall as graffiti, whether it’s a piece of art in the world, whether it’s A.I. talking to you in your ear, or it’s Elizabeth, those are the tools. What’s the best way to tell this piece of story?’
“And you sift through your toolbox and then find the best tool. And sometimes you go ‘Well, there’s no good way to tell that story. Maybe I should tell a different story.’ Then you change the story so it fits your toolset better. Whenever you find yourself fighting against your toolset, you’re not going to win that fight.”
Levine’s next game, Bioshock: Infinite, is due this year on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.