Deus Ex creator wants games to be less like movies
Spector highlights Uncharted, wants more collaborative storytelling.
The creator of Deus Ex and Epic Mickey, Warren Spector, has called for video games to feature more collaborative storytelling, citing examples like the Uncharted series,Telltale's The Walking Dead, and Quantic Dream's Heavy Rain as games that offer lots of story, but that don't play to the strengths of the medium.
During a keynote at PAX Australia, Spector explored the idea of co-authored storytelling, and bemoaned the work of some studios who instead prefer to have a stricter narrative.
"If all you want to do is show off how clever you are, get out of my medium! Go make a movie or something, because that's what you should be doing," he said (via PowerUpGaming), also describing games that offer little freedom as "low expression."
"You have very limited ability to express yourself," Spector said of Uncharted, "it's about how do you accomplish a predetermined path to get to the next plot point. It's a great story - a better story than I'll ever tell in a game - but it's not a player story; it's not your story."
Spector also mentioned a Telltale game during his talk, explaining that while he liked the formula (he placed them in the "medium expression" category), they're still a prescribed experience:
"I love The Walking Dead, but the choices you have to make; they're compelling choices... but they're designer driven, not player driven. Every choice in a game like this has been pre-scripted and handwritten by a designer somewhere, and the effects of that choice have been predetermined by the developers."
On the subject of Heavy Rain, he added that "they tell better stories because no player will ever do anything surprising or unaccounted for. They're basically like five movie scripts all mashed together, and you're just picking which script you're telling at any given point in time."
During his talk Spector suggested that gaming was "in a rut," and that even with games that allow for plenty of player expression, there was still more that could be done to increase player agency and encourage emergent storytelling.