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Why Beyond: Two Souls is Better Than a Movie (Gamespot)

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Mr Puggsly said:
pezus said:

But you do choose quite a bit, even though it might not affect the ending much, right? 

No, not really. The biggest decisions seem to be who I'm fucking at the end.

Also, why do I have to choose between Zoey and Ryan? I can't visit Zoey? Maybe call and say what's up? This game is a mess.


Actually, yes, really. If I understand the original question correctly, what's being asked is whether or not there are lots of decisions to make that DON'T affect the ending. If so, then those definitely are plentiful.

And I don't think it's fair to say that the game is a mess because it gives players a very different, very definitive ending depending on their choice. Surely Jodie could keep tabs on everybody, but I prefer the choice of whom I wish to focus on, because I know who meant the most to me in my first playthru.



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Hogwash as usual. The main problem with 'games' like Beyond: Two Souls is that it's using elements from videogames to tell a story. This is very much a case of using the wrong tools for a job. Videogames thrive on interaction, stories (at least good ones) thrive on structure. It is simply not possible to construct a great story and also have it be interactive. It breaks with the most fundamental aspects of story telling. To even get close, you have to severly restrict how much impact the interactive elements have on the story, or create a sort of "Choose Your Own Adventure" video game.

Anyone who remembers the Choose Your Own Adventure books will also remember that the stories in those book were (still are? if they are still being made) absolute garbage. It's the same with interactive story video games. The story either becomes completely useless (compared to a well formed story in a book or a movie for example) or the game element becomes irrelevant to where the interaction devolves into picking meaningless actions that have no or very limited impact on the actual story. There is no way of bridging this gap. It's like trying to create something that both is and is not at the same time. It is impossible.

To try to pretend that the story in Beyond: Two Souls is better than what could be ever told in a movie because you get to decide when the character brushes their teeth is a sign of not being able to identify a good story in the first place. I don't understand the obsession with trying to justify these so called interactive story games or whatever. It is what it is. If people enjoy pressing buttons to progress through a series of movie clips, great! Do it all day long. Just don't pretend that it is somehow advancing either video games or story telling. It will forever be a medium trapped between two very different forms of entertainment, and it will by it's very nature never be able to create excellent games or excellent stories. But it doesn't have to. Chose Your Own Adventure books still sell to people who get into that stuff. People who love good stories will laugh at it, and people who love great video game design will look down on it, but who cares? If it's something you enjoy, then enjoy it.



impertinence said:

Hogwash as usual. The main problem with 'games' like Beyond: Two Souls is that it's using elements from videogames to tell a story. This is very much a case of using the wrong tools for a job. Videogames thrive on interaction, stories (at least good ones) thrive on structure. It is simply not possible to construct a great story and also have it be interactive. It breaks with the most fundamental aspects of story telling. To even get close, you have to severly restrict how much impact the interactive elements have on the story, or create a sort of "Choose Your Own Adventure" video game.

Anyone who remembers the Choose Your Own Adventure books will also remember that the stories in those book were (still are? if they are still being made) absolute garbage. It's the same with interactive story video games. The story either becomes completely useless (compared to a well formed story in a book or a movie for example) or the game element becomes irrelevant to where the interaction devolves into picking meaningless actions that have no or very limited impact on the actual story. There is no way of bridging this gap. It's like trying to create something that both is and is not at the same time. It is impossible.

To try to pretend that the story in Beyond: Two Souls is better than what could be ever told in a movie because you get to decide when the character brushes their teeth is a sign of not being able to identify a good story in the first place. I don't understand the obsession with trying to justify these so called interactive story games or whatever. It is what it is. If people enjoy pressing buttons to progress through a series of movie clips, great! Do it all day long. Just don't pretend that it is somehow advancing either video games or story telling. It will forever be a medium trapped between two very different forms of entertainment, and it will by it's very nature never be able to create excellent games or excellent stories. But it doesn't have to. Chose Your Own Adventure books still sell to people who get into that stuff. People who love good stories will laugh at it, and people who love great video game design will look down on it, but who cares? If it's something you enjoy, then enjoy it.


I just love when people let you know that you're wrong, but they'll deign to allow you to be wrong.

I enjoy the game. I love it. I want more like it because it does more for me than most traditional formats of storytelling. Why can that not be an advancement for my tastes? Because it isn't for you?



Beyond might be a great game, but it simply cannot compare to a movie in terms of storytelling. No game can.

I'm not saying games are incapable of deep, involving, moving stories -- of course they are -- but they operate in a way totally different from movies. Games have rules, boundaries, objectives, and can be won. Movies can only be watched and experienced.

So while I'm confident that Beyond the game is more enjoyable than a lot of movies out there, I absolutely reject the notion that a video game could ever beat a movie at its own game, so to speak :P



Veknoid_Outcast said:
Beyond might be a great game, but it simply cannot compare to a movie in terms of storytelling. No game can.

I'm not saying games are incapable of deep, involving, moving stories -- of course they are -- but they operate in a way totally different from movies. Games have rules, boundaries, objectives, and can be won. Movies can only be watched and experienced.

So while I'm confident that Beyond the game is more enjoyable than a lot of movies out there, I absolutely reject the notion that a video game could ever beat a movie at its own game, so to speak :P


The Last of Us broke that for me, otherwise: sure.



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dirtylemons said:

I just love when people let you know that you're wrong, but they'll deign to allow you to be wrong.

I enjoy the game. I love it. I want more like it because it does more for me than most traditional formats of storytelling. Why can that not be an advancement for my tastes? Because it isn't for you?

I just love it when people act as if there are not standards to jude by because tastes are different.

In the real world, there are criteria for story telling, there are criteria for a game. David Cage doesn't like that people actually try to use words within their agreed meaning, but that doesn't make him right.

The criteria for telling good stories are in direct conflict with the criteria for making a game. That is why the merger of story telling and video games will forever be held back as it needs to compromise either game play or story or in the case of Beyond : Two Souls and similar games: both. This is not my opinion, it's a basic fact and failure to akcnowledge that fact comes from failure to understand exactly what constitutes a game and a story (or a good story I should say).

Again, there is nothing wrong with enjoying what I call interactive stories. If that floats your boat, excellent! Enjoy that experience all day long. If you like it better than movies, HURRAH! I am exhalted on your behalf. That doesn't change the basic fact that the story by necessity will have to be compromised from a pure story telling point of view. And that is my beef with the BS from the OP: Adding interactivity to a story does not improve on the story telling, it detracts from it by nature.



impertinence said:
dirtylemons said:

I just love when people let you know that you're wrong, but they'll deign to allow you to be wrong.

I enjoy the game. I love it. I want more like it because it does more for me than most traditional formats of storytelling. Why can that not be an advancement for my tastes? Because it isn't for you?

I just love it when people act as if there are not standards to jude by because tastes are different.

In the real world, there are criteria for story telling, there are criteria for a game. David Cage doesn't like that people actually try to use words within their agreed meaning, but that doesn't make him right.

The criteria for telling good stories are in direct conflict with the criteria for making a game. That is why the merger of story telling and video games will forever be held back as it needs to compromise either game play or story or in the case of Beyond : Two Souls and similar games: both. This is not my opinion, it's a basic fact and failure to akcnowledge that fact comes from failure to understand exactly what constitutes a game and a story (or a good story I should say).

Again, there is nothing wrong with enjoying what I call interactive stories. If that floats your boat, excellent! Enjoy that experience all day long. If you like it better than movies, HURRAH! I am exhalted on your behalf. That doesn't change the basic fact that the story by necessity will have to be compromised from a pure story telling point of view. And that is my beef with the BS from the OP: Adding interactivity to a story does not improve on the story telling, it detracts from it by nature.


All I'm refusing to acknowledge is that YOUR standard is THE standard we all must follow. Because you are talking about something that is totally subjective. Tell me exactly where 'Beyond: Two Souls' objectively fails. Now, I'm not about to say that it's perfect, and I enjoy lots of imperfect stories, but you're discarding an entire medium of storytelling. That is just ridiculous. I don't see as how you've made your case that interactivity and a story conflict with each other, you've merely stated that it is so.



dirtylemons said:

All I'm refusing to acknowledge is that YOUR standard is THE standard we all must follow. Because you are talking about something that is totally subjective. Tell me exactly where 'Beyond: Two Souls' objectively fails. Now, I'm not about to say that it's perfect, and I enjoy lots of imperfect stories, but you're discarding an entire medium of storytelling. That is just ridiculous. I don't see as how you've made your case that interactivity and a story conflict with each other, you've merely stated that it is so.


No, what you are refusing to acknowledge is that there is a standard for good story telling. It's not my standard, it is the universal standard. Of course, story telling is not mathematics and leaves room for a range of creative implementation, but that doesn't mean that there are not standards for what makes something a good story.

Again, that you enjoy the story in Beyond: Two Souls is great. I am happy for you. I am not discarding the format at all. As long as people still create games that I want to play I don't care if David Cage and 100 000 other developers make millions of interactive stories.

As for why interactivity is inherently in conflict with story telling it's pretty self evident. There are many conflicts, but let me just outline one:

A great story is coherent, meaning the different parts of the story fit together. One essential tool to do this is foreshadowing. That means that when the story is getting established, items, events, characters are already set up and pointing towards the conclussion of the story. That is why great stories are often written 'backwards' where the ending is clearly defined before the begining is crafted to fit it. When you introduce interactivity this link becomes very difficult to maintain. You could of course create two seperate endings and link those to a specific choice made in the initial setup of the story (i.e. did the character steal the bread or not? This should in a good story lead to two distinclty different yet coherent story arches. If the stealing of the bread is inconsequantial, in a good story it is not included). Of course, interactivity could be used to control a number of sub plots and how they play out, but again, a subplot needs to tie into the whole story arch for it to have much value. A story that springs of into a myriad of small side stories that don't really effect the overall story arch is not a good story.

So, the choice is to either build a myriad of tightly connected storylines that introduces true interactivity and still stays coherent (this would be awesome, but the complexity is too much for my mind to comprehend, it would be down right impossible the way I see it and it most certainly has never been done in any interactive story that's ever been created) or to craft a story where the interactive choices don't really change the course of the main story. Perhaps you end up with a different reward if you do this or that, but the main plot elements have to stay the same so you can arrive at the story conclussion somehow reasonably. This is the approach used by all interactive stories I've seen and it's a compromise that breaks down the quality of the story by introducing a bunch of fluff that should ideally either be cut or present a much more solid link to the story conclusion, and it also breaks the game aspect as the choices you make are basically immaterial.