Friday, 13 July 2012

Bridging the gap between Video Games and Movies Part 2

This article aims to revisit how the gap is narrowing between video games and movies. A lot has happened since the last article on this subject. Recent releases and announcements further confirms the fact that video games can create the same emotional attachment and storytelling that movies have.


Storytelling in video games has a long way to go. As I said in the previous article, Video Games often don’t have a story that compels as say a Scorcese film does. There still is a focus on graphics and gameplay over storytelling. However, in recent months you can start to see how smaller games are starting to take the baton and run with it. To the moon is more an interactive story than a video game. In fact, I believe that the best stories in video games have occurred when gameplay is stripped down to the bare minimum. To the moon depicts two scientists who re-visit  an old mans memories in order to fulfil his dream, going to the moon. It has been critically praised for its emotional storytelling and how it  engages the user in the story. For a personal point of view, it was by far the most immersive story in a video game I have ever witnessed.

Think video games couldn't make your cry? To the moon might just change that.

The Walking Dead

Telltale have recently released the first two episodes of the walking dead video game. The game is a point and click adventure but with quick time events. Again, most traditional gamers would not classify this a typical video game and more of an interactive story. Telltale's execution of this series has so far been superb. As a fan of the TV series and also the games, the game tells a superior story simply because the gameplay supplements the story. For example, you may be in dialogue with a fellow survivor and a zombie might quickly disturb your dialogue and start attacking your friend. By acting quickly and using quicktime events, you can kill the zombie and save your friend. This is where I feel that video game storytelling can find its niche. I don’t think you will ever see a first person shooter that can have a fully immersive story in the same way a more slow paced adventure can. Don’t get me wrong, the traditional puzzle game and shooter might have a good story, but the adventure genre really takes storytelling to another level.

The walking dead combines storytelling and quicktime events to great effect.

Further celebrity involvement.

As a said in the previous article, expect to see more celebrities star in video games, especially as graphics and motion recording improves. At this years E3, Ellen Page was announced as the lead character in the video game ‘Beyond: Two Souls’. Having high calibre celebrities will again, help story telling and immersion as their likeness is put in the game. Furthermore, it will help bring video games in to a more mass market. Expect to see more A-list actors take part in video games when the next generation of consoles are released.

A-list actor Ellen Page will star in the new video game 'Beyond: two souls' 

So there you have it. Since my last article we have seen storytelling in video games improving to a significant extent. There still needs to be one breakthrough game to appeal for the general public to see that video games has the potential to tell stories to the same extent that movies do. That future in my opinion is not that far off. 

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