Jaffe: ’storytelling not cracked properly yet’

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Galaki said:
Reasonable said:
Simply offer the choices blind like real life.

If I had a choice in real life, I would be playing video games right now.

Hopefully, because I'm working from home today, I'll be doing so in a couple of hours for a... ahem, break.

Try to be reasonable... its easier than you think...

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Though I usually barely tolerate Jaffe, I kinda agree with him on this "context" thing. The good example to illustrate a bare minimum of context are WarioWare games. Here's a good review of the very first WarioWare game by Chaim  Gingold (remember Spore game?) that specifically talks about "fiction" in that game. Quite educative text, it's easier to comprehend such things on WarioWare simple examples.

Reasonable said:

Sorry guys, but ME has good storytelling for a videogame but pretty weak storytelling in context to other mediums.

QFT, though even by videogame standards I could name a few more deep and original sci-fi stories than Mass Effect space opera (e.g. look for games made by Steve Meretzky of Infocom).

Jaffe's point of view is so intelligent. I recommend watching the whole vid'. This guy doesn't do things light-headedly. It's very interesting. In the midst of internet internet hype, he stops and thinks with great insight, which I think can only be admired.

lol bioshock and mass effect?.

shadow of the colossus xO

You want good stories in games? How about hiring professional storytellers instead of letting the developers write stories themselves?


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Xoj said:
lol bioshock and mass effect?.

shadow of the colossus xO

SotC story? You can describe the whole story in 2 sentences... SotC is about mood, setting and emotions (and gameplay). The idea is quiete original and not mainstream, which is appriciated. But it is not a complex story with lots of twists etc etc. Also he is talking about the way the story is told, player immersion and more. I sincerely recommend everyone to watch that episode of GT, no Pachter and a great lineup of industry experts.

MY HYPE LIST: 1) Gran Turismo 5; 2) Civilization V; 3) Starcraft II; 4) The Last Guardian; 5) Metal Gear Solid: Rising

Reasonable said:
He's right - if he means in context to other mediums.

Sorry guys, but ME has good storytelling for a videogame but pretty weak storytelling in context to other mediums.

In my editorial, I argued that ME2 actually had great storytelling, just not in the conventional sense of the word. Its strength came through the squad members and how you treated each of them, whether you helped them out with a loyalty mission, and how you treated them onboard the ship.

The overall story, though? Yeah, still pretty weak. Where interaction can replace stagnant stories is through manipulating the environment, not the overall story. As others have said, games with one ending are often the strongest because so much effort was made in creating a cohesive environment from beginning to end. The more interaction involved, the "weaker" that cohesive story becomes.

What can games do to combat this? Take the BioWare approach, IMO. Let players really commit to their choices and let the surrounding characters mold their experience for them, even at the expense of overall story (did anyone REALLY care about the Illusive Man more than Miranda or Mordin in ME2?).

Anyway, back on topic. Jaffe has valid points here. There is still a detachment from selecting "slap that bitch" and watching it happen versus watching a slap happen in real time. Through using different parts of the brain to control the order and being revealed the action's choice before it happens, it slightly removes the player from the experience.

Or check out my new webcomic: http://selfcentent.com/

starcraft said:
He hasn't played the Mass Effect series yet.

That is all.

Mass Effect's storyline is nothing spectacular. It's basically some ancient evil is looking to destroy everything and only one hero can prevent the imminent armageddon.

Storytelling has been properly cracked for at least 20 years, and possibly longer. Games have been telling effective and powerful stories for at least that long.

The only difference nowadays is that game makers don't want to do that. They want to sell games based on pretty pictures -it is, after all, the easiest way to sell games- and so they ignore the effective storytelling methods that have been well-understood for many years in an attempt to do what they brand as "more" while actually being less.

Complexity is not depth. Machismo is not maturity. Obsession is not dedication. Tedium is not challenge. Support gaming: support the Wii.

Be the ultimate ninja! Play Billy Vs. SNAKEMAN today! Poisson Village welcomes new players.

What do I hate about modern gaming? I hate tedium replacing challenge, complexity replacing depth, and domination replacing entertainment. I hate the outsourcing of mechanics to physics textbooks, art direction to photocopiers, and story to cheap Hollywood screenwriters. I hate the confusion of obsession with dedication, style with substance, new with gimmicky, old with obsolete, new with evolutionary, and old with time-tested.
There is much to hate about modern gaming. That is why I support the Wii.

BW_JP said:
starcraft said:
He hasn't played the Mass Effect series yet.

That is all.

Mass effect has incredible story telling, but it certainly is not the best at that. It's the complete package that makes mass effect so good.

That being said, this blog, and your post took his comments out of perspective. He's talking about contextual interactive responses to progressing the story. He is not talking about the story in general. 

And he is absolutely right. Waggling around to progress a story is going to take me out of the experience because of a number of things ranging from force feedback and the fact that that the remainder of the game is played conventionally (or unconventionally in the case of the wii). 

Story telling has nothing to do with how you interact with the game. A good story is a stand alone entity. It can exist by itself without the medium surrounding it. If it can not, then it fails as a story. Mass effect could very well be a novel and its story would be just as good.

Jaffe is a very experienced game designer. He is a master of pure mechanics and has made a wide variety of games from very different genres. has anyone else here played Mickey Mania? that game was spectacular. 

That being said, jaffe has experienced presenting a story in a number of different ways. He certainly has the right to speak about story in game design and I think people are really missing his true message.

Jaffe is not trying to tell you that story has not been properly cracked, what he's saying is that until this day there has not been a game where the contextual input from the user affects the story and is believable to the point where it actually adds anything to the story.  

Motion controls are really what he is speaking of here, and while they may offer truck loads of game play intuitiveness, they are not an excuse for poor mechanics, and they certainly will not make poor mechanics better. 

Just in that same light, motion controls will not make you feel "in" the story. You cannot feel. Natal can not replace the feeling of slapping someone, it will feel unnatural. There's no force response. You're just wagging your hand. 

Natal and the motion controllers are fantastic for providing enhancements to solid mechanics. Super Mario Galaxy being the diamond studded crown of this notion. They will not provide enhancements to solid story telling.

What improves story telling? visuals, music, voice acting, character design, environmental design, mood, setting and a number of other emotional aspects of game design.

Jaffe's primary concern, for those that actually listened to him is that he is concerned that the motion control will be played as a key part to improving a story rather than simply spending development costs on those other direct relationships.

He means that until these alternative control schemes are able to actually put you in the game that they will only take away from the other parts of game design.

It is a very valid concern. 

quoting myself so future readers get the fact that the title and blog post are incorrectly stating jaffe's comments.