Monday, November 4, 2013

The Dead Island Trailer and the Future of Games

By now most of you have possibly seen the teaser trailer for Dead Island. If not, you can check it out here:

This trailer has been acquiring tons of consideration over the Web and numerous appear to think that it is one particular of the ideal game trailers ever. I uncover that this is fairly fascinating, considering that just about every little thing that makes the trailer very good are issues that modern day video games lack. I would even go as far as to say that a video game made using modern gameplay-centric design could in no way create anything that gives the same expertise.

This is why I feel so:

Non-coherent narrative
The video does not have follow the normal rules of generating a narrative (exactly where time flows coherently by way of plot events), but alternatively give a disjointed one. Previous and present are not explicitly stated, but is some thing that the viewers have to figure out themselves. Game with a concentrate on story just do not perform like this and alternatively go via plot points in a predetermined (though sometimes branched) fashion.

In order to get the same sort of feeling you get from the trailer in a game, stories wants to be looked upon in a various way. A story must not be noticed as a string of plot points, but as a particular essence that is meant to be communicated. (See this post for further discussion on the subject).

Violence is not the concentrate nor the exciting portion.
This is one thing that I have talked about lots prior to, most recently in a discussion on Dead Space two. When you begin to concentrate on creating confident that all gameplay is exciting, then that trumps any other feelings that could have been evoking. The violence in the Dead Island trailer is not enjoyable. It is desperate, repulsive and tragic. How can you possibly hope to evoke the feelings of a man forced to "kill" his own daughter if your aim is for it to be enjoyable?

Hard-to-repeat moments
An crucial portion of video games right now is that they quit you from making progress unless you meet specific specifications. This is mainly in the form of some talent-based challenge (succeed or restart), but can also be in the type of navigational or puzzle-like obstacles. Even though of course imperative in some games, this sort of style can tremendously lower the emotional impact of events. Mostly because forcing a player to relive an occasion dilutes its effect and sets concentrate on mechanical elements. Secondly due to the fact blocking the player from progress can make specific conditions unbearable.

The trailer has both versions of this difficulty. For instance, the chase sequence exactly where the child runs to the door is not something that functions when repeated. Also, the event when the kid falls through the window is an instance of one thing that you do not want to replay or get stuck at. (A much more in-depth discussion can be found here.)

Just so I am clear right here: I do not mean that a game should attempt and replicate the events exactly like in the trailer. Video games are a distinct medium from film and demands factors to be accomplished differently. Instead what I do mean is the recreation of the essences of these events and conditions to provoke the same kind of feelings and thoughts. Not to make a direct copy.

A holistic experience
What I mean by this is that you need to see the entire point to get the complete experience. Unless you see the trailer until its end, you will not the get full which means of the function. Mainstream games virtually in no way operate in this way, but rather concentrate on maximizing the entertainment worth moment-to-moment. This is partly simply because of the purpose to make games "enjoyable" above all else. Other causes are the focus put on length of the expertise as a big part of the worth, and a general attitude of games as goods rather than works of art (explained nicely here and here).

With the above in thoughts, it should come as small as a surprise that I find it highly unlikely that Dead Island will be something near what the trailer is like (even though I hope the reactions to this trailer inspire them to give it a shot and maybe succeed!). I believe there genuinely is a wish for games that supply a various and far more emotional encounter, the interest this trailer got becoming a clear sign of that. But if we stick to the tried formula of creating video games, these type of experiences will stay beyond our reach.

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