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Square-Enix: Game Stories Can Be More Effective Than Movies

The role of storylines in games has changed over the years. There was a time when it was only a central theme in role-playing games, but as things have progressed, the plots have become more and more important in many different genres.

However, some people believe that gaming still isn't - and in fact, can't be - a storytelling medium. It really depends in how you look at the situation; the interactive aspect of a video game can indeed hinder the deep and cohesive storyline. But recent accomplishments, like what we saw in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, proves that storytelling in games has only just begun. And according to Square-Enix's Yoshinori Yamagishi (producer of Star Ocean: The Last Hope), he actually believes that games can become "the most effective storytelling medium over film and theater, if it can overcome the challenges of interactive entertainment." Said Yamagishi in a recent CVG interview:

"As opposed to films, books and TV, as a medium it is more of a challenge to produce a game in order to tell a story. In TV, film and theatre, the creator has control over how he gives the story to the viewer - it's easier to control the emotions and feelings expected from the viewer. But in [a game developer's] case we always have to think about how players might react to each depiction of a character or storyline, and that's the part we can't predict.

Nevertheless we have to make these predictions to a certain degree, and incorporate this into our work. So it's more of a challenge. But if we manage to get over this hurdle, then I regard videogames as a greater medium to provide people with deep emotional and exciting experiences."

It's an ongoing debate amongst the hardcore fans, but either way, we always appreciate ambition of almost any kind in the industry. If Yamagishi says it's possible, teams may begin to accept it as a possibility, and as an end result, the gamer should benefit. We always remember the fantastic stories in the past; memorable plots and characters leave an indelible mark on our minds. So as far as we're concerned, even if storytelling in games can't surpass other venues, there's no harm in trying.

3/7/2009 Ben Dutka

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Comments (23 posts)

PANICinc
Saturday, March 07, 2009 @ 11:24:10 AM
Reply

Not only do Games make a great way to see a story unfold, they make a great way to be a part of a story as it unfolds! I have more of a connection with "Sev" and "Garza" (KZ2) than I do with any movie character. So I say keep up the great work at implementing story telling into video games!

Speaking of story telling and games, any news on Stargate Worlds?

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LimitedVertigo
Saturday, March 07, 2009 @ 11:30:29 AM
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As graphics and game actors become better the feeling of connection becomes greater. FFX truly moved me, far more than a lot of movies that came out in 2001/2002.

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PS3_Wizard
Monday, March 09, 2009 @ 12:04:47 PM

hell yeah...me to

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SplendidBlended
Saturday, March 07, 2009 @ 11:32:23 AM
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I think with video games there is this great opportunity to give gamers a really unique experience with the story that they play out.
It's like taking a book, or a movie, and giving you the power to control it, and feel like you're the character.
I might be weird, but sometimes I wish games would have MORE character development then they do, and more of an interesting story to go along with it.
Of course, only without compromising the actual gameplay. [:

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LimitedVertigo
Saturday, March 07, 2009 @ 11:39:03 AM

MGS does this too much sometimes IMO

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Phoelix
Saturday, March 07, 2009 @ 12:18:26 PM

Yes! I agree. Good stories and movies are supposed to make every single viewer feel as if he or she is the main character. Video games more than books or movies cut directly to it because you CONTROL the main character most of the time.

Our brains are geared so that if we see people doing something, the same neurons in our brains fire as if we were doing the same thing. That's why we watch professional sports and superhero movies. They make us feel as if we're actually doing it ourselves.

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SplendidBlended
Saturday, March 07, 2009 @ 11:40:49 AM
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I'm probably the only person in the game world who hasn't played any MGS game yet.
I really need to fix this.

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Random_Steve
Saturday, March 07, 2009 @ 12:04:26 PM

you do, but you've played lbp so thats ok

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robinhood2010
Saturday, March 07, 2009 @ 12:07:15 PM

I havn't either. Not a single one.

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keaton
Tuesday, March 10, 2009 @ 1:06:23 AM

Yeap I'm with you, I believe I played some of MGS2 back in the day but not enough and I can not recall anything except for crawling through some water and shooting someone with a pistol once I think (maybe lol)

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Cpt_Geez
Saturday, March 07, 2009 @ 11:42:00 AM
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Yeah with a video game it gives us the ability to dictate how the story ends. Heavy rain is a good example of that, where in a movie you really have no control over what's going to happen. There is no way to alter the events in a movie or book, but with a video game we are giving the choice.

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Zemus101
Saturday, March 07, 2009 @ 12:03:21 PM
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That's probably my arguement everytime for people that don't understand games and gamers. Imagine reading a book or watching a movie, take those and make them extremely interactive. KZ2 is a great example of this (because i've been playing it a lot) it may be light on story, but actually, every battle you go through, and every "seemingly random" wow moment where you shotgun a guy over a railing for example, would be in a book, or a movie ....and you're playing it out in your own way. Most likely different than everyone else that has played the game.

I hope HeavyRain has a very good story and very good characters. I'm still not sure how this game will play and if it will be interesting enough for a purchase. It reminds me of those old Myst or ..what was it, 11th Hour type games? something like that. Not sure why it reminds me of those, but it's nice seeing something 'different' for a change, and it's exclusive to ps3!

Last edited by Zemus101 on 3/7/2009 12:06:18 PM

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Random_Steve
Saturday, March 07, 2009 @ 12:06:05 PM
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Not in FPS's lol.

Anyway, even if they can do better stories that films, tv etc, it would be a shame if they made it so complicated that what you do feels pointless cos you have no idea of what's going on.

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Vivi_Gamer
Saturday, March 07, 2009 @ 12:10:28 PM
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They can be, but dont... I saw 2001: A Space Odyssey on the big screen last night, beyond epic!

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LimitedVertigo
Monday, March 09, 2009 @ 4:03:19 AM

I guess you never beat SOTC

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shaydey77
Saturday, March 07, 2009 @ 2:01:34 PM
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Customization is everything!! people prefer putting their own mark onto things..so yeah id totally agree with this article.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, March 07, 2009 @ 3:16:30 PM
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I'd like to reference an oldie but a goodie: Shenmue. This RPG had a rather typical movie plot (Find who killed dear old dad) but it involved you in the investigation in a way that a movie can't do.

The "Gotcha you little bit of evidence that's been hiding for a week" moments are a good example. The flip side is you get bogged down in things movies can flip past, like working a forklift for a long time to save up some money.

In the end each has their strong points, but it all comes down to whether you are in the mood to kick back and turn off your brain or grab the sticks and experience that experience for yourself.

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FFVII King
Saturday, March 07, 2009 @ 4:56:17 PM
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well PS3 is getting the King of RPG's FFXIII and FF Versus XIII

there is no RPG that is better than the FF Series.

Im getting both. Im pretty sure Every PS3 owner will get both Final Fantasy's

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WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, March 07, 2009 @ 10:12:03 PM

Aaahz yeah.

Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 3/7/2009 10:12:10 PM

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Neurotoxiny
Saturday, March 07, 2009 @ 7:21:08 PM
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Reminds me of when I was playing Legend Of Dragoon with my cousins and we took turns controlling our people (I always played Lavitz, and since there were three of us it went well).

When Lavitz died I got so sad and I almost started crying when Dart was like hang in there and they were holding hands and everything and King Albert just looked away and started to cry. I started playing King Albert though, so yeah.

Dunno if anybody ever remembers that game. It was awesome.

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Geobaldi
Monday, March 09, 2009 @ 6:40:58 PM

Yes it was. Consider that up in the top 10 for that system all time.

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ps92117
Saturday, March 07, 2009 @ 10:34:00 PM
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I agree, but usually the guys behind the movies are more experience than those in videogames so usually the movies are better. I don't think kz2 story surpasses brothers in arm, or ff8 surpasses Great Expectations or Golden Eye with any bond films. But with videogames you can expand like a book/movie/tour so you have much greater freedom, just untapped potential.

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Godslim
Sunday, March 08, 2009 @ 5:48:12 AM
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well good ones are mgs,ff and uncharted even god of war!

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