People occasionally wonder what kind of stuff I’m working on. This about sums it up:
“The aim is to create a cathartic immersive interactive world with a meta, or arch, narrative facilitated through designed dramatic play.”
What the hell does that mean? It comes from an article titled “Dramatic Play” by Stephen Dinehart, in which the author was kind enough to refer to several companies interested in expanding the definition of narrative gameplay, including the studio where I work. While it’s no secret that I’m not a fan of the academic study of game design, I found this a very interesting article. Because at the risk of sounding self-serving, I think the industry is on the brink of finally finding ways for games to truly become a medium for delivering a rich story experience.
Certain entrenched paradigms and assumptions need to be broken or discarded, because early generations of MMOGs proved that they don’t translate well to a fun gaming experience (example: HUGE BLOCKS OF TEXT DON’T WORK). But if we make this leap, games can grow as a legitimate art form and more consistently deliver the same emotional journey as movies, books, or plays–but in their own unique way.
There… I said it. I want to make Art. With a capital A. Yes, I am that pretentious.
However, I will take the quote above and rephrase it a little more plainly:
The goal is to immerse players in a great story which they don’t just read, watch, or see acted out, but that they actually play through and impact in a meaningful way.
That’s really all there is to it.