Ben's Week In Review: August 28
Yes, I'm in the path of Hurricane Irene - should be here around 8 a.m., I guess - but more on that in a minute.
We need SOME scripted events
As you already know, I really like Deus Ex: Human Revolution. The game has a few flaws (it looks too dated, for one), but for the most part, it's a fantastic and tremendously fulfilling production. And what do I see? People complaining about the scripted boss fights, which don't really let you approach the confrontations in any way you wish. You know, there is a story here; a fairly complex, in-depth story, too. In order to have that, you absolutely cannot give the player ultimate freedom, because then the writer isn't allowed to write; there can be no scripted events. Hence, no pre-written plot.
But as Eidos pointed out, that story is a major focal point in Human Revolution and they refused to put that aside for the sake of more freedom. And why should they? Don't we have enough freedom already? No, the world isn't huge like a Fallout or Elder Scrolls, but we usually have all the freedom in the world in terms of gameplay. And since when did we have a game without at least a few scripted events?
Games to offer definitive 21st-century literature?
As much as I love to see storytelling progress in this industry, I'm not entirely sure I agree with Professor Swain's prediction. As I stated above, the more freedom we have to alter a story, the less of a story there really is. A writer is an artist, and an artist communicates a message; he lets others see that message when it's complete, but he doesn't let others mess with his vision. That's what makes a piece of literature masterful: the mastery of a skilled artisan. It doesn't have anything to do with interaction or participation. When we see a play, view a painting, or read a book, we are experiencing the completed artistic vision.
And we can attempt to identify with the message therein, but we can't change it. It isn't our place to try. However, gaming is very different. I still believe it's an art form even if it's a specialized art; it really requires two parties to fulfill its destiny, so-to-speak. We need the developer and the player to bring it to life. But so long as we have any way of changing things, I believe it will never really compare to those other forms of artistic expression. And I'm not saying one is better than the other; I just think games are very different from everything else.
Personal gaming update
Well, it's all about Deus Ex right now, but two other great games sort of sidetracked me: Hamilton's Great Adventure and Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten. I really don't have time for the latter, though, as much as it hooked me. I'll definitely finish Human Revolution and then go back to complete Catherine, provided I have time. Resistance 3 and Dead Island are right around the corner.
Also remember that we'll be talking to Techland about their zombie-slaying game. It's a Q&A roundtable this week so stay tuned for that.
As for the hurricane, I'm not even sure we'll get hurricane-force winds. It seems like they're making a much bigger deal out of this than it actually is, but you never know. The good news is that if I do lose power, I don't really update on Sundays, anyway, so it doesn't make much difference. I just hope power is back by Sunday night or early Monday morning at the latest. If not, my parents have a generator and I can go there to get work done. :)
8/27/2011 Ben Dutka