Pratchett Talks Games

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I liked the things she wrote for PC Zone but I haven't really played any game she worked on long enough to have an opinion. When saying that games shouldn't only try to be Hollywood action movie knock offs I couldn't agree more.

Her more famous dad has done a fair amount of commentary about games in the past so maybe putting her first name in the title would have been a good idea.
 

Asehujiko

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nilcypher said:
She also expressed some concern with the writers themselves, feeling that they were too enamored with gritty anti-heroes.
Says the person who came up with the Jackknife plot arc of mirror's edge.
 

the1ultimate

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Yes, many games do play a little too much like movies. With quicktime events.
There's nothing wrong with some of the games with straightforward plots - yes I believe we should have moved past supersoldier-in-power-armour-beats-bad-guys-by-shooting-everything by now - but they should be part of the video gaming experience spectrum.
Speaking of moving away from movie plots, how about the mirror's edge storyline? Didn't play like a movie at all did it? Very innovative that sequel set-up as well.
 

Lexodus

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SomeBritishDude said:
Lexodus said:
We do need more writers involved in games. Not 'game writers' but actual writers. They know how to craft a story and make things special, and [b/]nowadays[/b] that's all being forgone for the latest graphics and 'gritty realism' (total bullshit).
Now that is bullshit. Game storys are getting better. Not amazingly so, but a lot of them can match up to hollywood action fliks. The games of the generation before last couldn't even do that.
Exactly. Matching up to Hollywood action flicks, which, by definition, blow. The story in a Hollywood action flick is 'Rargh, kill bad people and show gratuitous boobage when you rescue the girl'.
 

Rigs83

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DanniXXX said:
Rigs83 said:
How about they make a game where you try to commit a crime and not attract attention by shooting anyone or blowing things up. Many years ago when Sega still mattered they had attempted game called Picassio or Picassi, something along those lines, where you play an art thief that travels around the globe stealing famous paintings while avoiding detection of any kind since you are unarmed. Now imagine that game but with the added twist as any forensic evidence you leave behind makes he next heist harder as the police get closer to discovering who you are. Now sadly Dreamcast went up in smoke and thus many of the games became vaporware since.
Aren't you describing Hitman: Blood Money? (It actually covered all forms of traceable evidence, including prints, bullet casings, your clothes, eye witnesses who saw you acting weird, sruveiulance footage, and blood lost)
Your still shooting people and that is what you do in almost every game. I want to try some other crime that is not so gratuitously violent. How about a Ponzi scheme simulator that shows you how someone like Madoff could ruin the lives of thousands of intelligent people and supposedly the best and brightest managers of charities.
 

Arrers

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I agree with her, but from what I've heard, the games she's written for (with the possible exeption of Overlord) didn't do much to break the mould, story wise.
 

SomeBritishDude

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Lexodus said:
SomeBritishDude said:
Lexodus said:
We do need more writers involved in games. Not 'game writers' but actual writers. They know how to craft a story and make things special, and [b/]nowadays[/b] that's all being forgone for the latest graphics and 'gritty realism' (total bullshit).
Now that is bullshit. Game storys are getting better. Not amazingly so, but a lot of them can match up to hollywood action fliks. The games of the generation before last couldn't even do that.
Exactly. Matching up to Hollywood action flicks, which, by definition, blow. The story in a Hollywood action flick is 'Rargh, kill bad people and show gratuitous boobage when you rescue the girl'.
But it is [b/]better[/b] than it used to be. Game storys are improving. They're more common for one thing.
 

bodyklok

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While I mostly agree with what she is saying, I'd like to point out that Mirror's Edge, Heavenly Sword and Overlord all had quite bad story's. I know it's all subjective, but...

Mirror's Edge's story consisted of twins who's parents die when there young (Really, this is a paragon of originality) and then one becomes a cop, while the other feels betrayed and goes down a totally different path in life which makes her her sisters enemy, then the cop gets betrayed by her boss and her sister has to save her. Each and every aspect of this story has been done before.

Heavenly Sword [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heavenly_Sword](read the story section), well... Frankly I'm just unimpressed and really it reminds me more of a Hollywood fantasy than most games I've played that are based on Hollywood fantasy films. Even Beowulf the game.

Overlord, actually, I thought Overlords story was really good. Especially the twist at the end where
it turns out that you were one of the heroes than attacked the old Overlord and he, not able to defeat all of the heroes, masqueraded as one of them and then subtly turned the all to evil.
 

randommaster

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As it stands now, there are very few games that revolve around their story, with the exception of adventure games that are almost entirely plot-driven. I agree with her that the writers, and creative roles in general, need to be involved in the development from the start. Doing so allows gameplay and story to mesh better and will make the story seem more important to the game, even if it's just another rehash of an anti-hero.

I got excited about the title, too. Bait-and-switch is fair when it come to Terry Pratchett.
 

PedroSteckecilo

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Despite being Terry Pratchett's daughter and gaining instant cred. she hasn't really "contributed" to Videogame story in a meaningful way. Essentially, She's no Drew Karpashyn or Chris Avellone in terms of plotting or interactivity, but she has done a decent job at examining different types of lead characters in games, going way from "the gruff army dude" with characters like Nariko, Faith or The Overlord.
 

BloodSquirrel

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nilcypher said:
She also expressed some concern with the writers themselves, feeling that they were too enamored with gritty anti-heroes. "A little more variation in concept and content would be nice, as well ... I could do with a little less 'Gruff guy with super powers/large weapon kicks assss!' tales. The medium has huge potential, so I'm not sure why there's this constant desire to keep rooting around in Hollywood's action-movie scrapheap."
The article title is wrong; she's not saying that games should move past their movie roots, she's saying they should move past one particular type of movie root. To be honest, I don't really think she "gets" it.

Video game writers have three options-

Option 1: They can subordinate storytelling to gameplay, and wind up with a subpar story.

Option 2: They can subordinate gameplay to storytelling, and wind up with a mediocre game.

Option 3: Stop thinking about video game storytelling in terms of movie storytelling.

There's an ingrained bias where video game stories aren't judged by what impact they have on the player, but what impact they would have on the player if they were made into a movie. Instead of developing on top the medium's storytelling strengths, people want to try to develop around it's weaknesses.

Action is something that video games do well. Better than movies, in fact. Extended action sequences get boring in movies. Two hours of people shooting at each other with no time taken out for plot character development doesn't work. Movies can't do it. Games can.

Instead of asking "How can we move out of the action genere?" we should be asking "How can we make the action genre deeper? Where can we take it that other mediums can't?". Some games (Bioshock) are already doing that, and they're producing far better results that you'll see from somebody trying to make a video game into a romantic comedy.
 

Abedeus

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bodyklok said:
While I mostly agree with what she is saying, I'd like to point out that Mirror's Edge, Heavenly Sword and Overlord all had quite bad story's. I know it's all subjective, but...

Mirror's Edge's story consisted of twins who's parents die when there young (Really, this is a paragon of originality) and then one becomes a cop, while the other feels betrayed and goes down a totally different path in life which makes her her sisters enemy, then the cop gets betrayed by her boss and her sister has to save her. Each and every aspect of this story has been done before.

Heavenly Sword [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heavenly_Sword](read the story section), well... Frankly I'm just unimpressed and really it reminds me more of a Hollywood fantasy more than most games I've played that are based on Hollywood fantasy films. Even Beowulf the game.

Overlord, actually, I thought Overlords story was really good. Especially the twist at the end where
it turns out that you were one of the heroes than attacked the old Overlord and he, not able to defeat all of the heroes, masqueraded as one of them and then subtly turned the all to evil.
Yup. That's what I thought too. She's good with funny stories.

Maybe that's genetic, but she must've received that from her father. Or he just read to her all of her books and she liked them. I don't see a reason why she wouldn't.
 

Pezzer

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Trivun said:
Wait, she's the daughter of Terry Pratchett? Awesome, I wonder if she'd ever consider making games based on her dad's stuff? That'd be great, especially after seeing the earlier Discworld based games, such as the first one on the PS1 a while back.
I've played those too and more games would be Awesome.

Hey, what about a Discworld MMORPG? I think it would be kickass.
 

irrelevantnugget

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GothmogII said:
Eh...while I appreciate the sentiment, I can't say I was overly impressed with the plot in any of those three games. (Although Mirror's Edge was an interesting concept nonetheless).
This.

She has a point with the anti-hero stuff, but she needs to actually play games herselves than just look at the simple outlines. I have my doubts that she's played Final Fantasy Tactics, Brothers in Arms, Bioshock, Knights of the Old Republic, etc. etc.

She's generalizing pretty badly by saying that games have a bad way of storytelling. There are loads of exceptions. And then some games don't even NEED a story (e.g. Katamari Damacy, Audiosurf, or motherfucking Painkiller, fuck yeah. Ahem.)
 

AceDiamond

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Asehujiko said:
nilcypher said:
She also expressed some concern with the writers themselves, feeling that they were too enamored with gritty anti-heroes.
Says the person who came up with the Jackknife plot arc of mirror's edge.
antihero: a protagonist whose character or goals are antithetical to traditional heroism

(translation: Jacknife is not an antihero)

Now I don't agree 100% with what Ms. Prachett is saying here, but she does bring in a lot of good points. And I don't think she was saying "every game needs a story" either. What she is saying is that the ones that do need it to be better fleshed out in a lot of cases especially given the epic feeling they attempt to convey to someone in advertisements (Gears of War being a big recent example), or not feel like something horribly slapped together (Condemned 2's 'ancient mystical cult' plot twist being a good example).