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“Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss”

January 15, 2012

http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2011-12-13-naughty-dog-wants-to-change-the-f-ing-industry-with-the-last-of-us

It’s interesting what a developer will do to market their games.

Now, the last Naughty Dog game I remember even playing was Jak 2 (Uncharted doesn’t appeal to me, honestly), but really? Change the industry?

The way they describe it sounds eerily similar to Heavy Rain, the best quick-time event in any game ever. Wait, that was a game?

Here’s the thing: making  a good story does not make a great game, and vice versa. That will never be the case at any time, ever. If we have both, great! If we have just a story, well…pick a different medium, because if you’re talking about “actors” and “performances”, you’re missing the point.

To put it straight: WHERE IS THE PLAYER IN ALL OF THIS?

Naughty Dog wants me to have “an experience”, but one purely in the spectatorial mode. Obviously, the characters in the story are predefined and set in stone, so this is going to be something linear and straight-foward. This is not moving the medium forward in any way. It is doing what has already been done. It is creating a movie in a video game, so unless Naughty Dog’s narrative is being written by a professional screenwriter, I can’t see where this will end but bad things.

I may be too scared to play Silent Hill 2, but I know enough to tell you that SH2 is where games which want to tell stories should head immediately. It makes the player’s decisions matter, and integrates them into the story. Even if it’s obviously linear, the game is constructed in a way that makes it feel like you are in control of James Sunderland, wherever his fate may lead. Interactivity is taken full advantage.

The Last of Us, on the other hand, feels like how movie theaters threw 3D onto everything in a grand blitz for money, saying “this is different, really!”, when it wasn’t much but empty promises and things flying at your eyes. Let’s stop trying to live up to expectations from people who don’t even PLAY or UNDERSTAND video games;  let them evolve on their own.

A linear zombie game is not going to “change the f**cking industry”, that’s for sure. Of course, let’s wait and see.

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