According to one veteran designer, games like Uncharted, Telltale’s The Walking Dead, and Heavy Rain are all not doing what video game stories should do; collaborative storytelling.
According to Warren Spector, the industry veteran known for the original Deus Ex and Epic Mickey, games such as Uncharted, Heavy Rain, and even The Walking Dead, don’t make the most of the medium.
Speaking at a PAX Australia keynote, Spector emphasised what he called “collaborative storytelling”, and how it’s not found in many of today’s big franchises, including the ones mentioned earlier.
“If all you want to do is show off how clever you are, get out of my medium! Go make a movie or something, because that’s what you should be doing,” he said – as reported by PowerUpGaming.
Spector called games with little player agency ‘low expression’, with medium and high categories assigned to games that offer freedom of choice. Citing Uncharted as an example, Spector said, “You have very limited ability to express yourself; it’s about how do you accomplish a predetermined path to get to the next plot point.
“It’s a great story – a better story than I’ll ever tell in a game – but it’s not a player story; it’s not your story.”
As for for The Walking Dead, which he placed in the ‘medium expression’ category, “I love The Walking Dead, but the choices you have to make; they’re compelling choices… but they’re designer driven, not player driven.
“Every choice in a game like this has been pre-scripted and handwritten by a designer somewhere, and the effects of that choice have been predetermined by the developers.”
Spector added that ‘shared authorship’ is what games should strive for, which he says is unique thing only games can offer.