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Jaffe Ditches Games With Stories 154

Posted by Zonk
from the those-are-the-ones-i-like dept.
1up reports on David Jaffe's latest post to his blog, where he rails against games with stories, claiming that moving forward he'll be all about play for the sake of play. From the article: "Jaffe goes onto explain his thesis, believing many modern cinematic games don't properly play upon the raw 'real' emotions videogames can elicit: tension and release, fear and anxiety, triumph and defeat, and confusion and joy over challenges. We're wondering how Jaffe intends to make us cry without playing up the story elements, but we're interested in seeing him try. Maybe Project HL will simply feature an extended Path of Hades sequence ripped from God of War. I simply loved climbing those spiked poles for over an hour."
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Jaffe Ditches Games With Stories

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  • no story? Baloney (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AcidLacedPenguiN (835552) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @10:00AM (#15736564)
    Good luck. I normally lose interest and never finish games if they have no story.
    • by why-is-it (318134) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @10:05AM (#15736602) Homepage Journal
      Good luck. I normally lose interest and never finish games if they have no story.

      I know what you mean. I mean, I simply couldn't get into Pac-Man. Why was he eating those dots? What was the backstory with the ghosts? Who could play a game like that which had no plot whatsoever...

      • Well, I never bothered to finish Pac-Man. Did you?
      • EXACTLY! Soooo many sports are this way too! Think about Golf: is there are reason the ball wants to go to the hole? Or maybe it doesn't want to and that's the whole twist. Maybe I was the bad guy all along! Maan, that sucks! It makes it hard to concentrate. Like when I'm sacking the quarterback I sometimes stop and think -- is there a reason that he wants that lump of pig skin to make it to the end zone? Is that like ball heaven or something? As though my end zone wasn't just as good? That is why
      • You laugh, but I'm almost like that, and it was a lot worse when I was younger. I really like to have some motivation for doing what I'm doing, but it doesn't take much. For instance, knowing simply that Ninjas have kidnapped the president and that only I may be a bad enough dude to save him is enogh for me.
      • One of the motivations to play Ms PacMan was that it had cut scenes (i.e. a story)...which made the No 1 selling game [wikipedia.org] for coin-ops.
    • I normally lose interest and never finish games if they have no story.

      Really? So you must not have been a fan of Street Fighter II, Wolf3D, Galaga, Quake, S.T.U.N. Runner, Killer Instinct, San Francisco Rush, After Burner, Super Mario Bros., Sonic the Hedgehog, Starfox, Contra, Lemmings, etc., etc., etc.

      How sad. :(

      More likely, you've just forgotten that games can be fun without being a cinematic, first-person shooter.
      • Think of it like movies. If a movie has a crappy story, it's not likely worth watching. Unless it has some alternative perk...

        If a game has mediocre game play (the vast majority of them do) then the story is what saves the game and makes it worth while. If a game has excellent game play, then the story is not as big of a deal.

        It's like this movie I saw a while back, it was a collection of short skits. The acting was horrid, there was virtually no story, but each of the skits (Chimney Inspector, Pizza Delive
        • That sounds like a porno I watched the other day...

          "eww, what's up my flue?" I think that one is self explanitory...
          "Toe cramp!" she change how she was kneeling
        • by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman@gma i l . c om> on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @10:32AM (#15736837) Homepage Journal
          If a game has mediocre game play (the vast majority of them do) then the story is what saves the game and makes it worth while.

          I hate to be cliche, but go read a book. Life is too short to play lousy games just to "experiece" a thoroughly rehashed story.
          • Actually, I'm an avid reader, Book 8 of the "Sword of Truth" series is coming out in a few days and I'm totally looking forward to enjoying it.

            But at the same time, a person can still enjoy a story in other mediums. I enjoy stories, whether those stories come from books, movies, TV, video games, or RPGs, I enjoy it. There have been a few games with good stories that made up for so-so game play. Both of the Vampire: the Masquerade games had interesting and exciting story lines to help out the average TPS gam
            • Re:no story? Baloney (Score:2, Interesting)

              by Gulthek (12570)
              How about some Faulkner, or Gabriel Garcia Marquez, or Dickens, or Fitzgerald, or Melville, or Mo Yan?

              Or even some poetry? e.e. cummings, Robert Frost, William Carlos Williams, T.S. Elliot?

              You know, real reading? Goodkind and others have their place, but hardly qualifies one as an 'avid' reader. Otherwise why not say, "Yeah I'm an avid reader, I read TV Guide every week!"

              Why yes! I am a book snob, why do you ask?
              • Dickens and Fitzgerald bored the crap out of me.

                Frost and Elliot had some interesting stuff, but I'm not a huge poetry buff.

                "You know, real reading? Goodkind and others have their place, but hardly qualifies one as an 'avid' reader. Otherwise why not say, "Yeah I'm an avid reader, I read TV Guide every week!"

                That's got to be one of the most retarded things I've ever heard said by someone of intelligence. That's the equivalent of an auto mechanic telling a air frame mechanic that he is not a "real" mechanic.
                • by Gulthek (12570)
                  Avid: Ardently desirous, extremely eager, greedy.

                  An avid reader reads *everything*. I am an avid reader, I will read anything by anyone as long as I can understand it (and sometimes even if I can't, e.g. foreign language books).

                  "Or a Linux network admin telling a Windows network admin that he's not a "real" admin."

                  I actually agree with that one.

                  Have you tried George R. R. Martin?

                  How about the others on my "classics" list? 'One Hundred Years of Solitude' is an amazing work.

                  It depresses me when someone says
                  • by RingDev (879105)
                    Avid: Marked by keen interest and enthusiasm

                    And Avid reader doesn't NEED to read everything, they just have to be enthusiastic about reading.

                    ""Or a Linux network admin telling a Windows network admin that he's not a "real" admin."
                    I actually agree with that one."

                    The funny thing is, for how rock stable most *nux systems I deal with are, it takes a far more skilled and intelligent person to maintain our Windows solutions. So put your fanboi zealotry away.

                    "It depresses me when someone says that they are passion
                    • "Each to their own, I suppose."

                      Now there is a point of view that I can respect! I disagree with your opinion of Goodkind's novels, but you are fully entitled to your own opinion.

                      -Rick
                    • Yeah, that was Pillars of creation. If all you want to know about is the core story, you can read the last 20 pages of that book and not miss out on anything. For anyone not familiar with the series who happens to read this, the entire story of that book is from the point of view of people who either oppose the primary character, or by people who have been duped by those that oppose the primary character.

                      I bumped into a guy at work one day and he was reading that book. I asked him how he liked the rest of t
          • I hate to be cliche, but how about minding your own business? I'm sick and tired by now of people telling me what kind of games I should play, how should I spend my free time, and what medium I should prefer for this and that. If I like games with a story, what exactly is the problem? How exactly is it anyone else's business?

            Plus, just to be nasty, I can't help noticing that the "go read a book if you want a good story" snottiness is the most thrown around by people who, in fact, _don't_ read books either.
      • by AcidLacedPenguiN (835552) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @10:56AM (#15737076)
        You can't sit there and tell me there's no story in Street Fighter (maybe initially, but by the alpha series there was a shitload of backstory) and to be honest I did enjoy most of those games (don't try and tell me that STUN Runner or SFRUSH are good games though)

        I though impulsively that they'll make FPS games with no story, and no that we've seen close to a bajillion FPS games, the only thing now that can really make one better than another is story. Story and Gameplay. and if someone like Jaffe could make a game chock full of gameplay w/o the story, don't you think it would have been done already?
        Also fun never had anything to do with what I said earlier. I had a shitload of fun playing GTA2, but did I ever finish that? hell no.
        GTA3 and Vice City though, had me hooked enough on the story to actually want to finish them. same with HL 1 and 2. Not the same with Doom3. . .

        And one more thing I wanted to bring up is that, all those games are old school. Try and find a good storyless game like those in the past 5 years? Did you? I didn't think so.
        Old school games are fun because that's all they are, old school games. They were often hard or challenging, which kept you saying "Just one more level" or "I just need to hold on to the spreader until the boss."
        Now however, videogames are just as much digital expression of either technological advancement or creative expression as they are games now.
        • by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman@gma i l . c om> on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @11:11AM (#15737223) Homepage Journal
          You can't sit there and tell me there's no story in Street Fighter

          I can and I will sit here and state that Street Fighter II was without a story.

          don't try and tell me that STUN Runner or SFRUSH are good games though

          Don't try to push your personal preferences on everyone. STUN Runner and SFRush are awesome games. Just because you don't like them doesn't change the fact that millions of fans would agree with me.

          if someone like Jaffe could make a game chock full of gameplay w/o the story, don't you think it would have been done already?
          [...]
          Try and find a good storyless game like those in the past 5 years? Did you?

          Allow me to introduce you to my good friends Sid Meier [wikipedia.org] and Will Wright [wikipedia.org]. Say hello guys! Hey, can you tell us about your great new games like Civilization IV and The Sims? How many millions of dollars did these games net you? You know, I hear that you guys managed to pull off these games with no storyline what-so-ever! That's just incredible! I've heard about games like Roller Coaster Tycoon [wikipedia.org], but your offering take the cake!

          Isn't technology incredible? Now back to AcidLacedPenguiN for a gloomy weather forecast.
        • I though impulsively that they'll make FPS games with no story, and no that we've seen close to a bajillion FPS games, the only thing now that can really make one better than another is story.

          Not exactly true. Battlefield 2 has very little in the way of story. What story is there I just ignore. It has distinguished itself quite handily from the competition. Counter Strike similarly distinguished itself with no story (who are those hostages? Why are you rescuing them? No one knows or cares). I know th
      • Wolf3D, Quake, Super Mario Bros., Sonic, and Starfox all did have stories! (I bet some of the others did too; I just haven't played them to know.) Granted, they might not have been very complex or detailed, but they were there.

        Examples of games without stories would include stuff like chess or Tetris, and that's about it.

        • Re:no story? Baloney (Score:4, Informative)

          by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman@gma i l . c om> on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @11:25AM (#15737383) Homepage Journal
          Plot != Storyline

          The plot is the fairly static concept of what you're doing, while the Story is the narrative that slowly exposes the plot. The old games had a plot, but they lacked any sort of narrative short of an end-game sequence. This has been hashed, rehased, and hashed again every time this subject comes up on Slashdot; always to the same conclusion.

          Sorry.

          Please deposit 25 cents for another lesson.
      • by geekoid (135745)
        Galaga was the story of how evil alien insects where tryinh to get to earth.

        Of maybe it was the story of why I was always went broke 25 cents at a time.
    • Re:no story? Baloney (Score:2, Interesting)

      by happy_place (632005)

      You make a good point, but I think in terms of game development, it's so much easier to ditch story. It is costly and you've gotta find some poor bloke to do the story. (I've written stories for games, and well... even when I tried to leave a certain franchise, I got pulled back in at the last minute, because the guy that thought he could do it just stopped returning emails, etc...) Story is a pain, because you have to have all these extra features through which to communicate it, and because stories are se

      • ...few gamers actually finish games to the end, even with story...

        Do you have anything to back that up? I'd beg to differ and with the handy dandy Achievement system on the Xbox 360 I can actually see how many people have completed their games [mygamercard.net]. I myself have completed about 15 games for the console already.

        It's true that there are many more people who buy games and DON'T finish them then there are gamers who buy them and DO. But I would hardly call the number of gamers who finish games "few". Then you a

  • by Pvt_Waldo (459439) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @10:03AM (#15736575)
    http://www.davidjaffe.typepad.com/ [typepad.com]

    Why someone would put up a news post with a link to a news post about a blog post is beyond me - unless they just wanted to drive traffic to 1up ;^)

  • EA will rejoice (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Opportunist (166417) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @10:06AM (#15736613)
    After all, without a story you can do "sequels" (read: Count up the release year and sell it as a new game) more easily.

    Games with a harebrained story are a thing of the 80s. Where you could come up with some lame excuse for a story that's not even thin enough for a B-movie and have the player pretend that his block is some kind of soldier shooting some other blocks that represent enemies with smaller blocks pretending to be bullets to free a block that's supposedly the prince... whoops, sorry Mario.

    But seriously. What do you want to sell a game with if not story? Graphics? We're already past super realistic 100% accurate graphics. If anything, story is a seller. A good story that keeps you on your toes, making you demand to see what's next, even hard enough that you overcome the most annoying obstacle just to see how it will continue, who that stranger was, who fired that shot in the dark, who is Luke's father...

    You can't even sell a beat-em-up anymore without a decent story. Simply because all the rest is, essentially, the same as every other game. What's the huge difference between Half Life and Doom if not the story?
    • One word (Score:4, Funny)

      by BlackCobra43 (596714) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @10:23AM (#15736772)
      Luminosity.
      • Lumines for PSP doesn't have a story to speak of either. Neither does a free software clone of Lumines [pineight.com].

      • LOL, that was my first thought when comparing Doom 2 and Marathon 2 back in the day, as well! But similarly, I believe Marathon to be a MUCH better series. Eventually, when the ideas behind it were allowed to reach a larger audience in it's extension, as the Halo series, it seems that it finally won out. But the main difference between Doom and Marathon, besides luminosity, is that it has a story, and a fairly ingenious way of developing it (a device later used by the Metroid Prime series).

        Even if you're

    • I disagree.

      X-Men Legends II is a great action RPG. The mixture of fast paced group gameplay with character leveling/customization is truly unique.

      The story blows. Having read the comic books and seen the movies, I can say that they would have sold more copies of X-Men Legends II if they had just cut the story. It's just the same old story rehashed.

      I think there are other games that fit into this category as well. For instance, adding a story to Mariokart would be pretentious and just distract from

    • I guess you just weren't a bad enough dude to rescue the president. [wikipedia.org]
    • Re:EA will rejoice (Score:3, Insightful)

      by winmine (934311)
      What do you want to sell a game with if not story?

      What about gameplay? As in, the expansive decision making process that defines games as a distinct art form?

      What's the huge difference between Half Life and Doom if not the story?

      You're being aggresively ignorant; I don't see how it's possible not to see the difference between Doom's constant survival action and Half-Life's paced and thoughtful puzzle mechanics intermixed with unique and hectic battles. They're practically polar opposites from map arc

    • Couldn't tell if you were all tounge in cheek, all serious, or a combination. I'll take it at face value just for fun.

      After all, without a story you can do "sequels" (read: Count up the release year and sell it as a new game) more easily.

      One thing I've learned from my movie watching experience is how awesome sequels can be. The beauty of Star Trek 3, 4, and 5 after the mediocre Star Trek 2 totaly sold me on this concept. Terminator 3 and Blair Witch 2 were triumphs along with Friday the 13th 2 - 13. I w

  • by voice_of_all_reason (926702) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @10:07AM (#15736616)
    My favorite types of games lately are dungeon crawlers (Grandia Xtreme, Diablo 2, Dynasty Warriors sorta). I've tried Oblivion but the payoffs are simply too few and far between -- I can only finish maybe one quest a sitting for a grand total of like 43 gold and some rat meat.

    For me, FF7 was a good blend of story and action (I've read several references to it being the first "boss rush" game). If only they'd let you skip cutscenes entirely (not just fast-read through 5 or 10 minutes worth) I'd be a happy camper.
  • If it is done properly, this could work out well, imo. I love a game with a good story, for sure, but you know, I don't actually go back and play those games more than once. I know what's going to happen in the story after I've played through once, so a story centered game has little point for me to play again. The games that I play over and over have little to no story, from the old NES and Atari games, to newer stuff such as Guitar Hero, Gran Turismo, or Katamari Damacy (which you could argue has a sto
    • If it is done properly, this could work out well, imo. I love a movie with a good story, for sure, but you know, I don't actually go back and watch those movies more than once. I know what's going to happen in the story after I've watched it through once, so a story centered movie has little point for me to watch again. The movies that I watch over and over have little to no story, from the old Jean Claude Van Damme and Jan-Michael Vincent movies, to newer stuff such as Jet Li, The Rock, or Jackie Chan (whi

    • I love a game with a good story, for sure, but you know, I don't actually go back and play those games more than once.

      You know, that's a good point I hadn't thought of yet. You do tend to play the "story" games once then never again. There are some exceptions (like KoTOR 1/2) where there are enough branching plotlines or the option to play from a completely different side, but in general it's only action or twitch games where you can get involved quickly that get the repeat play.

      On the other hand, it's th

  • Umm... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by CSZeus (593470)
    Wouldn't a better response to the situation be "People aren't doing a good job with cinematic style games, so I'm going to write good ones?" It seems kind of non-intuitive to say "You guys suck at this type of game, so I'm going to focus on making the kind of game that you get right."
    • People aren't doing a good job with cinematic style games, so I'm going to write good ones?"

      That would involve actually making the attempt. This holds the inherent risk of his attempts being panned as "The worst story since Waterworld! For all his trash talk, he sure failed to deliver!"

      This way, he can have his little ranty fit but not worry about being called on it.
  • Hades (Score:3, Informative)

    by BenjyD (316700) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @10:14AM (#15736687)
    I'm glad I'm not the only one that got fed up on the Path to Hades. It just seemed to take the least fun part of the game and stretch it out for ages, just when my interest in the game was already waning. Especially annoying combined with God of War's crappy camera.
  • Counterstrike, Katmari, The Sims, Gran Turismo, Championship Manager... Nah, there's no good (or at least popular) games without a story...
    • Katamari has a story - you're collecting things up to make new stars, after the King Of All Cosmos wrecked them. And then you've got the weird story about the kids going to see their Dad become an astronaut in the cutscenes.

      You're right about the others, just as it's right to broaden this to virtually every sports or racing title.
  • by Aladrin (926209)
    I'm just exactly the opposite of him. I ONLY play games for the 'story'. (I call it an adventure, cuz generally the plot is a little lame.)

    When I get a new game, I want it to be new. New characters, lands, weapons, magic, story, and yes, new challenges. A 'perfect' game for me has all of these. A game with only 1 or 2 is nearly useless to me and I'll quit in minutes. (Tao's Adventure for DS.)

    This guy is exactly the opposite. He just wants challenge for its own sake, apparently even if its been done a
    • "Challenge for its own sake" may have been done before- that's chess. But just like how chess isn't Street Fighter 2, there's no reason to believe that challenge-based games will be boring, "even if it's been done a million times".

      And they don't have to be multiplayer to be interesting. I can still pick up Robotron or Pac-Man and enjoy it. However, I can't replay the old great Lucasarts/Sierra adventure games, even though I played the hell out of them when they came out.

      If Jaffe can come up with something i
      • Yeah, but no company in their right mind will releases exactly the same game under a new name and sells it again. They add things to it, and one of those things is plot.

        Soul Calibur is a great example. It's Street Fighter with a plot. The plot is very basic, but instead of taking away from the experience as Jaffe suggests, it adds to it. Enough that I played it for quite a bit longer than all the other 'street fighter'-type games in the last 5 years combined. You can't honestly tell me that game would
        • but no company in their right mind will releases exactly the same game under a new name and sells it again.

          Some people's ignorance of how the video game industry works maddens me.

      • can still pick up Robotron or Pac-Man and enjoy it. However, I can't replay the old great Lucasarts/Sierra adventure games, even though I played the hell out of them when they came out.

        And that's exactly why game makers ought to be focusing on games with stories: there's no reason for people to re-buy Pac-Man, but they'll keep buying new stories.

        • And that's exactly why game makers ought to be focusing on games with stories: there's no reason for people to re-buy Pac-Man, but they'll keep buying new stories.

          Huh, I own Mario Kart 64, Mario Kart Double Dash, and Mario Kart DS. By your logic there's no reason for me to buy anymore than just one of those three games. There's no story. GOOD GOD THERE'S NO STORY?! What ever could possibly drive me to buy those sequals??? Might be because there's new tracks, new karts/characters, new weapons. Ie.

    • I'm just exactly the opposite of him. I ONLY play games for the 'story'.

      And I'm opposite from you.

      If I want a story, I'll read a book. And I liked FF-II (US) but not FF-VII, because the latter had too much plot. Diablo II was good; Metroid was good. Whereas Metal Gear Solid III was brilliant but not my style. Even a game like Half-Life has, what, maybe fifty pages' worth of story? But yet it takes me fifty hours to play, which is just an unsatisfying story::time ratio, IMO.

      In this big world we

    • I think everyone is missing the point here. Jaffe is not talking specifically about just playing games with stories, but more so working on them. There is a difference between working on a long story driven game like God of War which could take years (3 years) to develop and lots of energy spent on fit the game play around a plot line. It could be fun to dream up a complex storyline for a game, but grafting numerous scripted sequences and event driven mechanics can be a real chore. Working on something
  • Anyone who has GMed a RL RPG should know about the 36 plots [rpglibrary.org], and anyone familiar with drama should know about Aristotle's Poetics [wikipedia.org], which outlines the science of drama: plot, tension, characterization, all the way down to things like color, shape, harmony, and rhythm. We understand all that is necessary to dynamically generate interesting story lines which raise and release dramatic tension. Done by a computer, this could be customized to create stories the individual player finds interesting. Brenda Laurel [wikipedia.org] did some intersting work in this field with her game company, Purple Moon. Although it was a commercial flop, the time may now be right for her approach. She also wrote a great book on computer-human interaction, analyzing it throught the lens of Aristotalian Poetics.
    • Chris Crawford has been trying to do something like this for years and years and hasn't gotten very far with it.
      • I think the key is to have some kind of a sim running in the background. Have the sim provide detail and structure to the story elements, have the story elements effect the outcome of the sim. You aren't going to get the requisite level of richness and detail from a simplistic fill-in-the-blanks, mad libs style story generator.

        Not to belittle a man who's done far more with his life than me, but I don't think Chris is that brilliant of a game designer, and Storytron is (from what I understand) more a tool fo
    • And if what you describe is done in a game that works like GTA San Andreas, then we might have the perfect 'virtual life' game...
    • Where is the Blow up Zombies plot? huh? huh?

  • I think that Jaffe is probably hinting more at incorporating story INTO the gameplay, as opposed to using gameplay only as a segway between cutscenes. Including dialogue without taking away the player's control of the character will create a game that's fun to play, not watch. However, have no fear, you will always have the Final Fantasy and Metal Gear Solid games to tell you good stories.
    • Heh heh, I love the Final Fantasy series and the Metal Gear Solid games, but "good stories"? I dunno if I would go that far. I think they're TRYING, especially Kojima, which I give a lot of credit for, but they're far from being great narrative works. Kojima has made a series that has about the litterary quality of a decent James Bond movie, which is pretty good, considering that we're talking about a genre that's only about 15 years old (in terms of story telling), but it's no "Good Night & Good Luck".

  • Personally, I don't think I would miss narrative being removed from games, as much of the time the stories in games just aren't very good. Maybe it's simply that I'm getting older (dangerously close to 30), but I have much greater expectations from the sorts of stories that games present now. However, much of what is released comes across as something intended for a gamer in their late teens or early 20s. That's all well and good, and if gamers in that age bracket are enjoying these narratives, kudos to

  • It really depends. There's no way you can have a good RPG without a good story. In fact, the whole point is playing out the story. I've replayed Chrono Trigger more times than I can count because of the story.
    With FPS games, the story sets up the universe and helps me get my head in the game. There's a difference between Unreal and Wolfenstein in feel, but the two draw on the same set of skills.
    The same goes for RTS. Starcraft and C&C are essentially the same game, and the story sets them apart.
  • by grumbel (592662) <grumbel@gmx.de> on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @10:37AM (#15736893) Homepage
    If you read the actual blog instead of that summary of a summary, you will find out that he is not tired of games with story:

    As a game player, I find myself enjoying single player action adventure games more than I have since I was a kid. I get immersed in them more, get more wrapped up in the stories (even the ones told thru cut scenes), and actually feel like I am living the adventure.
    So he isn't tired of playing them, quite the opposite, he loves them, what he is however tired of is developing those games, since the experience developing them is a lot less entertaining then the experience playing them.
  • by MrSquirrel (976630) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @10:38AM (#15736897)
    I'm not sure I'm understanding him clearly... it sounds to me like he's not just making one game without a story, but sticking to an ideal that he's going to be different by making no games with stories. The way I see it, stories CAN be an integral part to a game -- it depends on the type of game though. Let's say you're playing DDR... it's not the type of game that would go well with a story ("Okay... uhm... street-toughs took your girl and you have to dance to free her!"). Now, take that same "story = bad" mentality and apply it to a game like Half-Life ("I have a gun... uh... I guess I'll go shoot some people. ...'nah, I'll just sit here at my desk and sip coffee -- a resonance cascade is only theoretical anyways"). Story can make or break a game, but it whole-heartedly falls on the game type.

    I personally enjoy story games, particularly open-ended or multi-pathed ones where there is a good base story but your character doesn't stick to a script.

    Stories in games are like stories in movies -- if the cinematography is a certain type, it's fine to not have a story... but it is not possible to apply a blanket policy of story/no story to every piece of film.
  • We're wondering how Jaffe intends to make us cry without playing up the story elements

    Two-word answer: gank camping.

  • by Spazmania (174582)
    We're wondering how Jaffe intends to make us cry without playing up the story elements

    If I want to cry, I'll read a sad book ($6.00) or buy a sad movie ($20.00). In a video game ($50.00) I expect any story to follow me, not the other way around. Since I'm very good at wandering off in directions the designer didn't expect and computers aren't very good at creating stories on the fly, things generally work better if there is little or no story to begin with.
  • People always seem to assume game design is a zero-sum game, as if Miyamoto will be forced to draw polygons for 'even better than ever graphics' or write the story of the next Metroid game if he wasn't a game designer. The skillset for gameplay, graphics, and story are pretty much mutually exclusive so just because you do away with one, it doesn't mean you gain or lose any other component of the game.

    As for whether it's viable to have a game without a story. Sure it is quite possible. You take a game l

  • No way (Score:1, Interesting)

    by elzurawka (671029)
    Story is what carries you through the game? How many FPS's is there out there now adays? How many more can u create...there is only so much you can with the game play? I dont buy a new FPS because it has an awsome new Particle Cannon or something like that, i buy it for the Story.
    The way that you play the game isnt the most important aspect, its weather it draws you in, and keeps you interested.
    I dont know who here has played the game Farenheit for the Xbox, but its probobly one of the BEST games ive played
  • OK, every time this word comes up, I want to know what people mean by it (in fact it is the current post on my blog. plug... plug...).

    The 1up story has the phrase, "cinematic games," but Jaffe's post doesn't mention the word cinematic at all (commenters have, but not Jaffe).

    So, what is so "cinematic" about games? I can understand when people are talking about cut scenes, but other than that, what is so specifically like cinema about some videogames? (Unfortunatly, I don't have a PS2 so I haven't played God
    • Re:Cinematic??? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by MojoBox (985651)
      There isn't. Games that claim (or are claimed by others) to be cinematic consist of two parts, the cinematic and the game, and ne'er shall the twain meet. Yet anyways. I suppose the game that has gotten closest to this is Half-Life 2 (or just HL if your going to get pissy about HL2), but while they admirably did away with cut scenes, they still had to find artificial ways to lock the player into cinematics, effectively cutting the game into the two previously stated parts. They also had to make your charact
  • by StocDred (691816) * on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @11:11AM (#15737222) Homepage Journal
    Jaffe is just dropping quasi-incendiary weblog bombs to keep his name out there. He has one of the shortest resumes in the business, but everybody bends over backwards to hear his latest "insight."

    The division between gameplay and story is a false one. You can have great games with great story, and great games with no story. Why do people feel the need to argue about this? It's not like Jaffe is suddenly going to banish all bad games forever just based on his next non-story project. More than likely he's just out researching something public domain that he can decorate in spikes and blood anyway.

    "Story games suck! My guy has tribal tattoos and bitchin' attack chains!" Yeah. I'll pay attention to Jaffe when he stops being mediocre.

    • Well, it's on 1up. I mean, if the forerunners of video game journalism think it's news... oh wait. Yeah, you're right.
    • Mediocre? Sorry, but that is n otapplicable here; his game sold millions of copies. By definition, he is good at what he does (ie make video games which sell/people like).
      Sure, it might not be high Art (thank god for that...Art is usually boring and only for the elite top 2 % of snobs...look at James Joyce's Ulyses)...just remember that Shakespeare was a soap opera writer too.

      His credentials established, you might want to read what the guy has written: all he said was "I have made a story heavy game, and wh
      • His own blog lists his credentials as five games. Five games. Over 13 years. And three of them are Twisted Metal games. Since when is five games enough for the gaming populace to turn him into a new game celebrity god? But we have - based entirely on the phoned-in God of War, mind you - so he now feels empowered to become the new Lorne Lanning... releasing orchestrated press releases full of incendiary sound bites. I guess he'd be the opposite of Lanning, since Lanning was desperate to tell some kind of cau
        • Or were you talking about writing the entire story?

          Take your average Final Fantasy game -- the story alone could've taken years to write. Next to that, God of War is nothing. But you're comparing it to Ratchet and Clank? That would take a good writer maybe a week or two.

          If you want to talk about story without cutscenes, I'd bring it back to Half-Life. Even Half-Life 2 definitely has some cutscenes, some characters and areas that are obviously intended to be scripted and cinematic. Half-Life leaves the
  • I feel like I'm beating a dead horse using these two as examples, but they really do show how a beautiful story can be told with video games. Especially if you are concerned with emotions being elicited by the game.

    Granted, it also dawns on me that these two games may fall inline with what he means. Sure, they have a lead in story cinematic, but for the most part the entire contents of the game are removed from story elements.
  • Most of the people commenting on this are missing his point. He's not against the story, he's against large scale stories that are all told in cutscenes, I must agree with him. Half-life 2 does what few others have done, have interactive "cutscenes". It works well though it's not for everything, Doom 3 and Quake 4 both had well done systems where story is told through out the mission and cutscenes only happen once in a while when you MUST.

    I wouldn't say his God of War game was too cutscene heavy though t
  • "We're wondering how Jaffe intends to make us cry without playing up the story elements"

    Spawncamping, pure and simple. The only hard part is finding ways to stop people from quitting.
  • Direct link (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @11:44PM (#15741351) Journal
    Instead of Slashdot "word vomiting" about what some other blog said about what David Jaffe said, why not just read what David Jaffe said [typepad.com]? He does have some good things to say -- particularly that he doesn't think that single-player adventure games are dead, a bad medium, a bad idea, or anything like that -- he just doesn't want to work on them anymore.

    Think about it -- you finish tweaking Tetris, Pong, Street Fighter, etc, you can still enjoy playing them, but by the time you finish Zelda, God of War, or Final Fantasy, not so much, because you already know every surprise, plot twist, minigame, everything the game throws at you is something you've already seen so many times. I imagine it's a bit like writing a book -- after you're finished writing it, you probably can't read it through once, that's what you need editors for -- after all, how many books do you read through more than once or twice? After you finish writing one, you've read through and written and rewritten most of it so many times that you can't stand it.

    This isn't always true, and certainly not for everyone. I write differently, for instance -- when I finish writing a story, I certainly can read it again, because I only write once, straight through, only ever editing a sentence or two back from where I am. I almost never do second drafts.

    But I can understand why he would be getting sick of doing that, and why it would lead him to say those things. After all, at least part of it is what we've all been thinking. On some level, most of the games we're playing are really still subject to the same complaints people have about Street Fighter -- sure, it has plot, but the plot and gameplay are completely separate. If you're lucky, you get a cinematic after defeating a particular opponent. But this is true of so many games it's not funny -- Halo (and Halo 2), GTA, Doom 3, Quake 4, Final Fantasy, Beyond Good & Evil... Very few games tell any story with the game world and the gameplay. Most just cut to cinematics -- or worse, text or voice (Doom 3's PDAs).

    Every now and then, we get games that tell a significant part of the story in the gameplay and environment -- and even then, much of it is the environment. Examples would be Zelda, Half-Life (and Half-Life 2), Quake 4. Yeah, Quake 4 is both, because it does cut to cinematic in a lot of places I wish it wouldn't, but the cinematics, voiceovers (radio), text, and gameplay are woven together so well that it mostly feels like a story is being told, but you don't have to pull too far out of the gameplay and game world to tell it. And I don't mean the gimmicks like still being barely in control on the Strogg operating table. I guess being a long game helps...

    And of course, there are also the games with little or no story, or where the stories you live are so much more interesting. Natural Selection, Counter-Strike, UT2004, and the few MMOs that have completely unobtrusive stories, but play well enough to justify it. Nexus TK is an example -- the only reason it's got such a great story is that it's built up over seven or eight years. MMOs are also interesting in that if they do actually advance the story (most seem too afraid to), it's like real life in that it impacts everyone differently; everyone has their own story to tell.

    But then, MMOs often get accused of having little or no story, or of simply providing the forum and letting their players do everything themselves. You don't play World of Warcraft because it's a good game, you play it because that's where your friends are, that's where your guild is...

    Kind of like MySpace, actually...
    • ### Most just cut to cinematics -- or worse, text or voice (Doom 3's PDAs).

      While Doom3 overused the PDA quite a bit, I find nothing wrong with it in principal. The PDA is an in-game object and so it should be used for whatever the character in a game uses it normally, if that allows to carry some story across then thats a good thing. One nice thing of Doom3 was that it turned the cross-hair into a 'talk-to' symbol when aiming at friendly characters, great way to solve the 'must not kill good guys'-problem,
      • great way to solve the 'must not kill good guys'-problem,

        Except you could always step back and kill them anyway, when your talk to turns back into a crosshairs at enough distance. Then you get their PDA, and possibly some ammo (the security guard early on).

        No, this was to solve the problem of never using any button except the left mouse button. Which was clever, really, but I wonder what id really has against the Use key...

        Good points about roleplaying, though. A lot of the useless stuff suddenly beco

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