Jaffe: Cinematic narrative focus is a “bad idea, waste of resources”

Thursday, 9 February 2012 22:30 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Twisted Metal and God of War creator David Jaffe’s DICE 2012 presentation accused the games industry of getting too excited about story – and not about gameplay.

According to Gamasutra, Jaffe said an over-emphasis on narrative “is a bad idea, waste of resources, of time and money and worst, has stuffed the progress of video games, to our own peril”.

The designer said games or sequences within games which have “the intent purpose of expressing a story or giving the player the designer’s narrative” fall down. He criticised Batman: Arkham City for a short section which promotes story over gameplay, in which the player is handcuffed and unable to do more than walk around and look.

In contrast, he praised games in which the gameplay itself “is so compelling and engaging that the player by the very nature of playing the game is the story”, name-dropping The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

Those who focus too much on narrative are in the wrong business, Jaffe declared.

“A lot of these people will say ‘I have something to say, I have a story to tell.’ If you’ve really got something inside of you that’s so powerful, like a story you’ve got to share or a philosophy about mans place in the universe, why in the fuck would you choose the medium that has historically, continually been the worst medium to express philosophy, story and narrative?” he scorned, as reported by GamesIndustry.

“Why wouldn’t you write a book, why wouldn’t you make a movie? It’s like being one of the world’s best chefs and working in the world’s best restaurants, you ply your trade in McDonalds.”

“I think we need to adjust our thoughts, we need to change what we think this medium is. We’ve let the gameplay muscle atrophy,” he added.

Jaffe has made similar comments in the past, but has directed them to press and fans rather than trade events.

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