Bioshock Creator Addresses Game Storytelling Issues
Video game storytelling has come a long way, but there's still a ways to go.
Bioshock creator Ken Levine has been writing for a while; he started his career as a screenwriter. And he says one of the biggest mistakes developers make involving scene creation is as follows- they just hand out way too much information.
This is what Levine told Digital Spy:
"People tend to overdo it with their story and not strip it down to the bare minimum. There is a rule that you start the scene as late as possible.
When two people are going to discuss their divorce, you don't start with them waiting outside, going inside, picking up their menus - you come in at the last possible moment while also giving all the information required in the scene, and then you end it as soon as you can."
Levine added that too many cut-scenes simply involve too much talking. Now, bear in mind that he's not saying we require more action and less dialogue; he's talking about conveying necessary information to the viewer. For those who are aspiring writers, you should know that you should always "show" and not "tell." Here's a quick example:
"Catherine sat and stewed. She was upset and angry; she felt like getting revenge on the world."
"Catherine sat, staring at a magazine without reading. The magazine was on the verge of ripping; she clutched it with whitened knuckles."
You can see the difference. And I have noticed that we have too much obvious information in cut-scenes that are basically "telling;" that information can be shown to us in an artful way, as all good writers do. We have made great strides but for the most part, most non-interactive cut-scenes in gaming are amateurish by book and film standards.
11/21/2011 8:59:37 PM Ben Dutka